Monday, 31 October 2016

Canterbury air gets fresher from November 2016

This November, Cancer Society Canterbury-West Coast Division will be launching Christchurch’s first Smokefree outdoor dining pilot. We have been on the lookout for local cafes and restaurants who were keen to make their outdoor areas smokefree, whilst enjoying some fantastic promotion and support along the way.

Working in partnership with the Canterbury District Health Board, this Pilot is the next step following our research on Smokefree outdoor dining undertaken with 137 Christchurch hospitality venues last year. Findings from the research indicated that 60% of respondents thought that a voluntary pilot was the best way to introduce smokefree outdoor dining. 

We asked, they answered and we listened. From here the Fresh Air Project – A taste of Smokefree outdoor dining pilot was born. 
The following 20 venues will go Smokefree outdoors from November 1st:
Laneway Espresso, Café Metro:St Albans, Ferrymead and Merivale, Joes Garage Sumner, Emperor’s New Clothes, Boatshed Cafe, Raspberry Café, Local at Riccarton House, Lonestar Papanui, The Tea House, Café 186,Addington Coffee co-operative, Ilex Cafe– Botanical Gardens, Coffee Culture: Merivale and Sumner, Savoire Café and Wine Bar, Under the Red Verandah, Oddfellows,  and Robert Harris, Rolleston.

Each week a new venue will feature as the Fresh Air Venue of the week,helping to profile that business for being part of the Smokefree pilot.

Under The Red Verandah’s Jennifer Kippenberger said “when we go Smokefree, the main benefits will be for families. They can sit together outside and not worry about someone lighting up next to their toddler”.  Jennifer added, “I’m hoping that the next generation are smarter than my generation as far as smoking goes and we can play a part in that”.

For further information contact Amanda Dodd at Cancer Society Canterbury West Coast Division DDI: 03 353 9871 and visit

Friday, 21 October 2016

International Visitors – Can We Cope?

It is very clear that New Zealand, and the South Island in particular, is on the verge of an exponential increase in international visitors. Tourism is now the country’s biggest industry with $14.5 billion generated in the current year. We are expecting 4.5 million visitor arrivals by 2022. This year we will host 380,000 visitors from China and that will grow to 500,000 in 2017. These are big numbers and this is a critical industry for our country.

New Zealand is sold to the world largely on the majesty and beauty of the South Island, even though a disproportionate number of tourists land in Auckland and concentrate their visitor experience in the North Island. However, the secret is out. Tourism numbers to the South Island, especially free independent travellers, who spend significant sums of money, are on the increase and we are seeing increasing pressures on our general infrastructure as numbers grow. This is a very positive problem for New Zealand and for the South Island in that tourism provides a diverse range of job opportunities, a significant amount of foreign exchange earnings and also assists to connect our country better with other countries to realise other opportunities.

However, we have some challenges. The capability of many of our tourism operators needs to be enhanced and they need to manage the growth accordingly. Growing companies face issues with regards to capital constraints, internal business processes and human capability.

We also have infrastructural challenges. Our international air carriage capacity is increasing in a carefully coordinated way, particularly into markets with high visitor potential. Our roads are in relatively good shape, but we are under increasing pressure with regard to visitor accommodation. This is not only as a result of the earthquakes but in the other areas throughout the South Island accommodation is becoming choked.

Then of course we see the issue of how small communities can provide facilities for visiting tourists, such as toilets and hospitality offerings. This is a particularly fraught issue when it comes to rate payers in small areas being expected to provide significant tourism facilities.

While we welcome all of the opportunities that increasing international tourism brings to the South Island we must be careful we do not destroy the very offerings they have come to see. Guardianship of our prime tourist offerings is vital as is the spread of visitors right across the South Island to take pressure off the hot spots. We also need to explore how we can continue to host our visitors across the year, not just in the peak season. A South Island wide coordinated visitors strategy will be critical. In Christchurch we now have a strategy in its early stages of development and it is important that that be developed alongside the overall aspiration for our city. Tourism will continue to be a leading contributor of our economy, with Christchurch operating both as a gateway to the South Island and also a tourism destination in its own right.

New tourism offerings such as the Christchurch Adventure Park need to continue to be developed to ensure we get a good spread of activities to entertain and enthral our international visitors. We also need to ensure that across our population we welcome and relate to visitors from other countries. Next to our scenery, the prime reason tourists visit the South Island of New Zealand is our people and that of course includes our cultural heritage and diversity. We are on the doorstep of the biggest economic opportunity of our generation. We need to do it well and we need to get it right.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Post-earthquake workplace dynamics

Workplace dynamics are changing quickly everywhere with the increased use of technology and changing expectations of employers and employees. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Christchurch in a post-earthquake environment.

The earthquakes forced an acceleration of changes in workforce and workplace dynamics through necessity which will be locked into the city and the region’s future. For example, there was an increase in flexibility in the workplace. The change in the working environment for many of us necessitated flexibility as did the importance of our families’ welfare in a tumultuous post-earthquake environment. Although this has its challenges in some employment situations, generally it provides a better working environment, increased productivity and a better employer/employee relationship.

We have also seen a rapid increase in employees operating in empowering environments. The emphasis on outcomes rather than on prescriptive work agendas has been accelerated post-earthquake. In my opinion it is the responsibility of every good employer to create a partial vacuum of opportunity around all of the employees to reduce boundaries and to create news spaces in which employees can migrate and realise their real potential.

Another area of rapid change has been the reinforcement of the trend towards open plan. Work spaces post-earthquake many companies were forced to work in temporary and sub-optimal worksites which more often than not involved crowded working conditions and employees working, whether they liked it or not, in an open plan environment. A consequence of that is that most of the employers and employees who were forced to work in an open plan environment now find that a preferable and more efficient way to work.

It was very clear in Christchurch that after the tumultuous events of September 2010 and February 2011 people learned how to work better together. We have seen across a wide range of Canterbury companies much better collaborative endeavours with employees stepping outside their specified areas of activity to work on whatever it takes to achieve better outcomes for themselves and for their companies.

In addition to collaborating internally we have seen a much greater emphasis on employees and employers working together across sectors especially where companies were thrown together by necessity in a post-earthquake environment. Working with each other delivers extremely positive outcomes compared to the entrenched silo mentalities of the past. For five years many of us have led a day to day nomadic existence. Now that we are moving back into rebuilt, permanent office space it is very interesting to note how employees right across the corporate spectrum are thinking more strategically. New Zealanders are not good strategic thinkers and this is a very healthy trend that we are seeing unfolding in the context of the regeneration of our city.

Finally, from an employment perspective it is most encouraging to see how more and more employees in Christchurch are recognising and appreciating the independencies not only across the city but between the city and the wider region. In the day’s post-earthquake all of us in the city realised just how dependent we were on the wealth creators right across our region and how that activity helped to support us through the dark days of 2010/2011. That understanding is now engrained in our workforce and our corporate sector very much to the betterment of our city and our region. We are working better together and we need to.

As we continue to regenerate greater Christchurch these workplace dynamics will continue to evolve and in my opinion will put this region ahead of the rest of New Zealand in terms of complementary highly productive workplace outcomes. This is the sort of post-earthquake legacy that should never be taken for granted.