Regional roundup – Canterbury

Canterbury enjoyed an economic boom in the time following the earthquakes, with a significant lift in all parts of the construction industry. However, now that much of the repair work has been completed, the corresponding economic growth is slowing, with the pinch being felt particularly in parts of the construction sector.

That being said, as journalist Peter Townsend recently wrote, the Canterbury economy is really a microcosm of the total New Zealand economy. “We are not dependent on one particular sector but we have economic inputs right across the spectrum.”

He says the region has some gems in its economic mix, citing the Canterbury Aero Club, which operates a fleet of 28 aircraft, providing flight training seven days a week.

On the subject of flying, one of the many destinations from Christchurch is Antarctica – one of only five places in the world you can reach the frozen continent from.

Joanna Norris writes: “Thousands of people – scientists and support and logistics staff – depart Christchurch for the ice each year, generating more than $235 million per year in economic benefit for Christchurch.”

The city itself has a growing buzz about the place. A recent editorial in The Press says, inner-city retail and hospitality venues that have opened over the past year or so have made the CBD a destination worth visiting again.


“More developments – The Terrace, the Central Library, the Hoyts cinema complex – are due to be finished during 2018. The Town Hall may be completed before the year’s end.” 

Another bright spot is Canterbury’s tertiary institutions. The region has five in total and, as ChristchurchNZ strategy and performance manager Anna Elphick says, international research shows that for every $1 invested in the university sector, there is a corresponding $16 increase in GDP.

“Our five tertiary institutes are large local employers but they are also key conduits to attract people, drive new ideas and support innovation, which aids the growth of our economy.”

In South Canterbury, the region could potentially benefit from a possibly lucrative oil and gas field, after NZ Oil & Gas was given an extra year to try and exploit the resource. And while benefits could be a long way off, the Timaru Herald says, if successfully exploited, the prospect has the potential to add $15 billion in GDP and $32 billion in royalties and taxes over its lifetime.

“The possible seven-year construction phase to create the required extraction infrastructure would also add an estimated 5700 jobs every year.”

For those of you in business in Canterbury, Finance New Zealand has four regional business partners to assist with finance solutions. Contact Terry Ellis, Stu Whitehead, Anthony Corcoran or Jonathan Liong.