Wednesday, 29 August 2012

There's a lot happening over the next couple of weeks!

There is a lot happening in Christchurch over the next few weeks directly relating to the Employers’ Chamber activity.  August 30th is a big day in our lives, with an ExportNZ Conference attracting in excess of 150 attendees and a top line of speakers from right across New Zealand. We all know the Governments’ intentions to increase the ratio of exports to GDP from the current 30% to 40% by 2025. Christchurch is pretty good at international trade but we are going to have to get a lot better to ensure that we contribute more than our share towards this target. The conference will be a good stepping stone to give people a better understanding of the relevance and opportunities relating to international trade. 

On the same day we host the BusinessNZ Council Meeting in Christchurch. This involves 25 leading business representatives from across the country plus the BusinessNZ team, meeting to discuss the continuing role of BusinessNZ in contributing to the growth of our economy. CECC is  one of the founding shareholders in the BusinessNZ family and we are delighted to host them in our city. While the council members are here we will be giving them a run down on progress with respect to earthquake recovery and a clear steer on how they can assist Christchurch and Canterbury in the rebuild.

Just around the corner, on September 27th, we are hosting the Champion Canterbury Awards. As previously indicated, these awards are a sell out with 1150 people attending the formal dinner to celebrate business success in our region. We had a record number entries (180 businesses) all telling wonderful stories about the contribution business makes to our community and emphasising the inter-dependency between a healthy business sector and a healthy community. We see the awards as being another step along the way in terms of the economic growth of our city and our region. 

To top it all off it’s spring, the blossoms are out, lambs are being born, new life and new hope are all around us, which will no doubt contribute to the re-energising of our community in this post-earthquake environment. So get out there and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

End of the road!

I visited Hanmer over the weekend. It was a very busy place. Hundreds of visitors enjoying beautiful weather, in a tastefully laid out town, and almost all seemingly ending up in the equally well designed hot springs thermal pools.

The retail offerings in the township are excellent and very tempting. The range of eating/drinking facitilies and  accomodation options is impressive. Sitting outside a modern bar sipping a cold Cider in the sunshine and watching the world go by, was a nice change after a busy week in the city.

On Saturday we explored the back country getting very close to Lake Tennyson only to be frustrated by a washout just 5.6km from the lake. The country in behind Hanmer is well signposted and easily accessed. The starkness and natural beauty of the landscape is just stunning.

Hanmer is a short trip from Christchurch and well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A weekend in Samoa

I have just come back from a weekend in Samoa in my role as Chairman of the New Zealand Territorial Force Employers’ Support Council. I was up there having a look at an exercise involving New Zealand Defence Forces in a post cyclone disaster scenario. The exercise was very heavily medically orientated and encompassed the setting up of a full field hospital and working in outlying areas giving direct assistance to Samoans. Although it was an exercise designed to test facilities it doubled as an opportunity to provide health support to the Samoan community.

Our defence forces do a fantastic job in the Pacific Islands in the context of peacekeeping and nation building. The Kiwis are regarded as friends of the Pacific, we provide real support and assistance in our relaxed and involved kiwi style. The contingent in Samoa consisted of regular force, territorials (reserves) and community volunteers. They work well together as dedicated small teams providing support and assistance to the community. It was extremely rewarding to be able to see the real difference they were making in the brief time they were there.

New Zealand has a critical role to play in the South Pacific. Many of the South Pacific economies are unstable, economically poor and very much dependent on remittance flows from New Zealand and other countries. As these developing countries grow their economies they do need the support of a stable and relatively large economy like New Zealand and the sort of capability that defence can offer. While we have all been pre-occupied by the events in London around the Olympics and the sterling performances by New Zealand in that context, I was extremely proud to see the real and unique contribution we are making in the Pacific.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

CCDU announcement positively received

The CCDU announcement last week has been very positively received by the business community in Christchurch and beyond.

CECC hosted close to 600 people at two events the day after the announcement and the feedback was very reinforcing. 

Last Thursday we presented the blueprint (along with CERA/CCDU and the Christchurch mayor) to 60 members of the Major Companies Group in Auckland. They too were impressed with the Blueprint and  many of the attendees reinforced their commitment to Christchurch and specifically to the Central City.  

Fran O’Sullivan wrote an excellent piece the Herald, headed up “Inspiring quake-city blueprint a real gem” and she backed up that headline with a well structured article identifying the real opportunities we have ahead of us.  

Of course we also have to put up with the expected divisive negative media that has emanated from expected quarters. My response to those who want to run down the vision is to “drown them in positivity”. We have the greatest opportunity ever put before a community in New Zealand’s history and if we go together (Central Government, Local Government and the Community) we can create an extraordinarily positive future for all of us. 

We owe to our grandchildren  to settle for nothing less.