Regional Round-Up: Canterbury
A recent economic report from Christchurch NZ, a tourism and economic development agency, states the region’s economy continues to slow, raising concerns for central Christchurch as it continues to transition from rebuild to regenerate. The city’s GDP grew by just 1.2 percent in the year to June, compared with a national growth rate of 2.5 percent. The report mentioned a need to attract more business, activity and people to the region and grow productivity, essential to replace construction activity. Read the full report here: https://www.christchurchnz.org.nz/media/9294/2019-q2-economic-update.pdf
In more positive news, American Airlines recently announced it is to start running direct flights from Los Angeles to Christchurch. The 13-hour flight will run three times per week from October 2020 to March 2021 and the airline says, as the only carrier to operate this route, American will introduce its customers to one of the world’s most unique destinations. Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson says the direct link without need for connecting flights would be of huge benefit to the region and the wider South Island. “Our products having direct access to America is very important – we're always looking for more direct flights,” she says. Of the almost $1 billion worth of goods exported to the United States through Christchurch yearly, most go by air.
In rural Canterbury, farmers are voicing their concerns the governments Essential Freshwater proposal will have on their livelihood. A meeting, led by Federated Farmers, saw around 500 people gather to discuss the policy statement and its implications. The proposed National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management nutrient levels will require parts of New Zealand to reduce their nitrogen by up to 80 percent. “It becomes very hard to continue economically farming animals or growing vegetables under a regime like this,” Federated Farmers environment and water spokesperson Chris Allen says. “All we ask is for regulation that is based on science and evidence.”