Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dispelling the Three Urban Legends of Christchurch

As we begin to get seriously engaged into the recovery phase of a post-earthquake environment it is important to dispel pre-urban legends.

  1. Population Flight - There has been a lot of speculation about how many people have left Christchurch in the context of the impact of the earthquakes. The reality is that our population for greater Christchurch is now higher than it was prior to 4 September 2010 and increasing internal and external migration is having a marked impact on our population. We can expect population pressures to rise, not to fall, and pressures to come on accommodation in Christchurch as we recruit more people into the city to engage in the rebuild. 
  2. Capital Flight - We have been saying for some time now that capital is designed to fly, capital was made to fly but it’s not where it flies that is important, its where it lands. The reality is that we have not lost a lot of capital from Christchurch, but we do need to assiduously work towards creating an environment that encourages capital to land. There is a lot of money looking for a home and it is important to all of us that we find good investment propositions in a framework of certainty for that capital. However, to speculate that capital is being drained out of Christchurch is a fallacy. 
  3. Negative Economic Impacts - Immediately post-earthquake there was speculation we would suffer a major loss in business activity in our region. Clearly this has not been the case. Economic activity has held up remarkably well and in fact our regional economy is grower faster than the rest of New Zealand, and will continue to do so. Do not under-estimate the economic impact of the rebuild, $40 billion plus is a big spend for any region let alone a region with a greater Christchurch area population of about 400,000. 

It really is time to put these three urban legends to bed and to move forward constructively and positively in New Zealand’s biggest ever economic development programme.

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