There has been media comment lately about how the rebuild in Christchurch has peaked, and a perception that because it has peaked that we are now on the downward slope in terms of economic activity and spending money in our economy.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is very clear that we are somewhere between 30 and 40% into the rebuild right now. This means we still have 60-70% of the build to go, including a lot of work still to be done in the expensive end of the housing market, commercial rebuilds, civic amenity provision, key projects, precinct development and finishing off horizontal infrastructure.
The perception of the rebuild peaking has come from various informed sources stating that the rebuild has plateaued and that it will not continue to grow exponentially.
That is true because we have reached some significant capacity constraints in the region in the context of human capital, construction capability, material supplies and just the sheer magnitude of managing the enormous undertaking that is occurring in the context of regenerating Christchurch.
What is clear, however, is that we are spending $100 million a week on the rebuild and will continue to do so for a long time yet. It is also clear that when looking at information published by MBIE and CERA that with around a third of the rebuild completed there is still an enormous lump of activity and opportunity ahead of us.
Expenditure at these sorts of levels is reflected in unemployment rates which are half those of the rest of New Zealand and significant company growth in our region. We can expect such activity to continue at this high level for some years to come.
So let’s dispel the urban myth of our rebuild having peaked and that we can now expect to go down the other side of the rebuild.
It may have peaked, but we have a long and high plateau to track along before spend in this economy starts to wind down. That is about opportunity!
Chief Executive, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce