metropol » Archives for Guest Columnist

Author: Guest Columnist

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

Having the right skills to supply the future job market is crucial in repositioning Ōtautahi Christchurch for social and economic prosperity.
Unemployment in the city was 4.2 percent, similar to the national average of 4.4 percent (as at the end of March 2020). Since the lockdown, the number of Jobseeker Support Recipients, an early indicator of unemployment levels, in Canterbury has increased by 35 percent compared to 31 percent growth nationally. We expect this rate to rise when the support of the central government wage subsidy is removed.
The impact of Covid-19 will be much clearer at the end of the June quarter. But in real terms, this means between 12,500 and 20,000 people will be unemployed in Christchurch over the next 12 months. That is why we are acting now to support people into new jobs and build a talent pipeline for the sectors that have job opportunities.
One of the first initiatives is a city-wide career and study expo on 6 August, at Vodafone Innova8, Tuam Street. Industry and tertiary partners will be delivering workshops and highlighting the types of employment and training opportunities that will be in-demand and advising on how people unemployed or looking to re-train to a future-focused sector can get involved.
This is an important first step in a programme of work that will address our current and future employment needs, with the ultimate goal of positioning Ōtautahi Christchurch with the right skills and employment opportunities to future-proof our economy and meet changing global demands.

The Influencers: John Bridgman


John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

So much of central Christchurch has a shiny new face, meaning opportunities to rejuvenate buildings with historic charm are now relatively rare. But on 13 August we’ll be taking to auction the illustrious Odeon Theatre and neighbouring Lawrie and Wilson building in a heritage offering like no other.
The Odeon’s white stone street frontage, entry and stairs carry a Category 1 listing. It was designed in 1883 by Thomas Stoddart Lambert as a public theatre and hall, and later transformed to a vaudeville venue, cinema and church. It has hosted the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier and the Old Vic company as well as a public meeting with Kate Sheppard for the women’s suffrage movement. The Lawrie and Wilson building dates back to 1911 and was built as auction premises.
It’s no secret that heritage projects are hard work, so this is a proposition for those who want to give something back to Christchurch by reinvigorating the hidden treasure that is the Odeon. Also included in the offering is the large parcel of vacant land adjoining the two heritage buildings, fronting onto the high-profile intersection of Tuam and Manchester Streets.
Some fantastic restoration work has already been carried out around the city but we know a lot of the local developers who like heritage projects have their hands full at the moment, so this is a great opportunity for other parties to potentially take centre stage.

 


 

The Influencers: Lianne Dalziel


Christchurch Mayor

It has been great to see people coming back into the building to work. I won’t pretend that I haven’t enjoyed some of the features of working from home. I seemed to get a lot more done. But the truth is I’m pretty much Zoomed out. What I missed the most were those people to people interactions – not just the contact that social distancing denied us, but the sharing of ideas, joining in conversations, putting two and two together as connections were made – that’s where innovation starts.
I think innovative enterprises – and yes our public services should be those too – should be encouraging people back to their offices and encouraging people to support those businesses who are doing it hard. Let’s all who can do so, help them get back on their feet.
Now here’s a reason for everyone to come to town in July. CHCH IS LIT, a month long festival of light, runs until 29 July from 6pm until 11pm daily to help fill the gap until Botanic D’Lights Tirama returns.
More than 20 installations, from lighting up trees to full-on projections on buildings, have been created and built by Christchurch companies and artists, with locations including Victoria Square, Friendship Corner (the grass area opposite Riverside Market), Park of Remembrance (on the Avon River opposite The Terraces), Cathedral Square, City Mall and New Brighton Pier. These will all be filmed as well, so people can see them online.
It will be great to see the city come alive with light and people.


 

The Influencers: Marian Johnson


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

Throughout June, the MoA team has been focusing on the launch of Christchurch’s first national healthtech initiative – the HealthTech Supernode Challenge, which went live on 29 June. This is our signal to New Zealand that Ōtautahi Christchurch aims to become the home of NZ healthtech innovation.
With a total prize pool across multiple categories valued at over $340,000, there are plenty of reasons to enter the challenge. There’s entry into a virtual pre-accelerator programme where we will help grow the ventures, the potential for investment, a CDHB validation contract, an exclusive opportunity to develop the venture alongside Ryman Healthcare’s team, and an invitation to a further startup incubator programme.
Most readers will not know that Christchurch is home to one of the most prolific healthtech innovation communities in New Zealand. I’ve written here before about the Christchurch ‘supernode’ strategy. HealthTech is one of those supernodes given our existing strength in this area and the opportunity it represents for creating high value jobs in our city’s future.
The aim of the Challenge is to identify and generate viable solutions to healthcare problems. We’re focused on Aged and Rural Care sectors but there’s also an Open category to ensure no innovation is left uncovered.
The nationwide challenge, sponsored by ChristchurchNZ, is open to anyone with a healthtech innovation or idea – from students and startups to researchers, and healthcare professionals. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please spread the word. Applications close on 16 August.

 


 

The Influencers: Paul Lonsdale


Mainstreet Management Ltd Managing Director

While I enjoyed the break over the lockdown period, I have to admit, it was great getting back into the real-life working routine again. Like many, I grew tired of the Zoom this and Skype that. I went back to work the moment the restrictions allowed me to do so and over the last six weeks I visited many of the city businesses to gauge the city’s financial temperature.
There seems to be a warm glow coming from many businesses and I think this is, in part, our people yearning for a real life experience rather than the overused virtual experience.
However, we are now in the midst of our winter and generally people go into hibernation the moment that cold snap bites in. At some point over the last 30 years many of us have forgotten how to put a coat on; we go from air-conditioned homes, to air-conditioned cars, to air-conditioned work places. But we need you to find that coat and continue supporting your local businesses over the next couple of months to keep that warm glow momentum going.
It is looking likely that Australian bubble will not happen this year. However, I am grateful we have wonderful local neighbours; the Greater Canterbury region, Southland, Otago, Marlborough and the West Coast.
‘Supporting your local’ is one of the elements to our economy’s recovery and I know your local business would love to see you in person, because nothing beats the real thing.

 

 


 

The Influencers: Leeann Watson


 

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

In the last few weeks, we saw the nation collectively holding its breath as it became apparent that our border control and testing regime was not as rigorous as we thought.
It was incredibly disappointing to hear about some people entering the country then disappearing off the radar. New Zealanders have lost lives, jobs and businesses due to COVID-19 – and taxpayers will be re-paying the Government’s borrowed money for at least a generation. If those coming back are not meeting their obligations in respect of self-isolation or quarantine, then there does need to be consequences.
New Zealanders need to have confidence that our border controls, quarantining, testing and contact tracing processes are robust and reliable. We cannot afford to be in a position where we have to return to lockdown.
With today’s access to technology where information can be easily and systematically collected to help manage these risks and reduce human error, then that should be happening.
Businesses will need to continue to access highly skilled people from offshore to help with – for example – maintenance of specialised equipment to ensure that critical network infrastructure is not degraded. Similarly, there will be economic opportunities in areas such as tertiary education. We also want to continue to push for a trans-Tasman bubble to help boost our tourism sector.
In order to do this, we all need to have confidence in the process, because the crippling economic and social costs of another lockdown is incomprehensible given what our team of five million has been through and given up.

 


 

Exploring Queenstown


With winter’s opening shots recasting our adventure capital’s offerings, the razored ridgeline of the Remarkables is sporting a decent coast of snow, accentuating the resort town’s cinematic good looks.

 

 

It’s worth the ride alone on the Skyline Gondola, to drink it all in. The gracious old lady of the lake, TSS Earnslaw, will resume faithfully plying Wakatipu’s waters in early July, but if you’re after a fresher scoop of floating pleasure, board Southern Discoveries’ gleaming catamaran.

They operate daily excursions to Mt. Nicholas Station, one of New Zealand’s most historic, family run merino sheep stations.

Spanning 100,000 acres of golden high country terrain, the 45-minute scenic cruise down Lake Wakatipu affords glorious vistas of Mt. Earnslaw, Cecil Peak, and the tucked away valley beneath Mt. Creighton, where the Hollywood set have previously purchased homes, including Arnie Schwarzenegger and John Travolta.

Arriving at Mt. Nicholas Station, you have a variety of add-on sightseeing options including a 4WD Safari, a two-hour high country walk or the Woolshed Experience.

I opted for the latter, which was a wonderfully hands-on exposition of merino wool’s journey from fresh fleece to top-end clothing. All Mt. Nicholas Station merino wool is sold to Icebreaker.

As a premium wine-growing region, swooned over for its pinot noir, a swirl of wine trail tours can whisk you across the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley and beyond.

I cheated and headed straight to The Winery, a one-stop-tasting shop in the heart of Queenstown and also Arrowtown (the Queenstown site is yet to reopen).

It’s indulgently effortless, where you can taste over 80 wines, including several dozen delicious pinot noirs, at the press of a button.

All of the industry’s rockstars are showcased, including Valli Bannockburn, Mt. Difficulty, Black Ridge and Amisfield.

Complement your wine sampling, by grazing from a flavourful platter of local cheese, salami and olives.

Speaking of food, if the billowing tangle of humanity, pre-Covid, spilling along the footpath of Shotover Street, outside Fergburger, turned you off from sampling the gourmet delights in buns – now’s your chance without the crowds.

One of my favourite noshing spots is Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan, just up the road by Lake Hayes.

On Steamer Wharf, graze heartily from the share plates at Public Kitchen & Bar, a convivial celebration of local produce overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the gazillion dollar views.

Another recommended fuss-free experience is the Ballarat Trading Company, stunningly outfitted in the style of an 1850’s trading post, with lip-smacking gourmet food.

Walking options abound and heading east from the town centre, the Frankton Arm Walkway is a heart-stealer, with its unobstructed lake and mountain views.

A coffee stop beckoned at Boat Shed Café & Bistro. Its back-story is fascinating, set in the restored New Zealand Railways Shipping Office after beginning life as a store in the 1870s.

In 1936 it was bought by Frank Duncan, a Dunedin lawyer, who moved the building from the town centre to its current waterfront location.

From The Boat Shed, the gravel walkway wends its way along the shoreline to Frankton, passing a quaint parade of rustic Kiwi cribs – a laid-back world away from the pretence of some of Queenstown’s more recent glamour pad developments. They’re anything but flashy. It is such a great antidote to savour this unmolested vestige of old Queenstown.

Ten kilometres west of Queenstown, on the road to Glenorchy, I enjoyed a brisk hike in the Mt. Creighton Scenic Reserve. After a steady climb, the peaceful trail through native bush steeped in goldmining history leads to Lake Dispute.

There’s a variety of options, but this 90-minute loop circuit hits the sweet spot.

Not only does it give you the chance to gawp at some of the under-the-radar celebrity hideaway trophy houses, strung across the valley, but the elevated vistas across the lake to Cecil Peak and Walter Peak are supreme, delivering a fresh scoop of Queenstown’s unstoppable beauty.


 

Architecture in adapting in certain times: South Architects Ltd


Through these past few challenging months, ‘home’ has been at the centre of our ‘bubble’ lifestyles. Ways of living and working have altered, with the experience also influencing thinking on home design. Craig South, of South Architects, suggests good architecture will continue to add value in today’s fast changing world.

 

 

As New Zealanders, we have all played our part in responding to an unprecedented event and borne the impacts of it.

We have all had to find our own solutions. As business owners, we are seeing an opportunity to look at being more streamlined in the way we think and operate our company.

While working from home options are being explored, we remain committed to our collaborative approach to team engagement and client meetings.

We will continue to travel when possible in order to meet project partners out of Christchurch.

Although online video calling was a good substitute when we could not meet in person, we still feel that it is best to have those important face to face meetings and the collegiality that comes with them.

Traditionally, austere times such as economic depressions have paved the way to new and interesting architecture.

We can see stirrings of this already in our own practice, with an upsurge of recent enquiry from people seeking alterations to existing dwellings now that they are more aware of shortcomings through having spent much more time at home this year.

In the new home market, we are starting to see changes in priorities too.

Client briefs are shifting towards favouring homes that cater well to inter-generational needs of extended family, both young and old.

The established trend towards smaller, more energy-efficient homes will continue to grow, and I think we can also expect further interest in shared cost co-housing or development arrangements.

At such a time as this and now more than ever, it is prudent to seek the guidance of a registered professional architect with the training and experience to add value, so that your project potential can be maximised.

Of course, working with an architect does involve a cost, but it pays to remember that the architect’s fee is only a small part of the total cost.

With a professional architect comes peace of mind that the design process is in the best possible hands.

They will take the time needed to understand your priorities, what’s important to you and how you want to live, with the site and environment also feeding into the design process.

In times of austerity, this is still the best way to protect your investment.

If you have a new home project in mind, we do strongly recommend starting a conversation with an expert who can advise you on how best to achieve a tailored design to meet your budget and brief.

We know from experience that good architecture combines functionality with fun, delivering a lifestyle that is both relaxing and inspiring.

We wish everyone a safe journey ahead and extend our thanks to all those working to support their families and communities at this time.


 

Financial advice: adapting to change – Alistair Bean


Firstly, we at Alistair Bean & Associates – Financial Advisers want to send our best wishes to all, hoping that you and your families are fit and well.

Personal disclosure documents are available free on demand

By Alistair Bean & Associates Managing Director Alistair Bean

Among other things, financial change has hit most of us like we have never known before and this causes concern for past, present and future planning.

But this is exactly what we must do. We must continue to plan; however it doesn’t need to be difficult.

Sticking to your own rules is extremely important but adapting those rules to situations as they occur is vital to success.

Re-visiting the reasons for your short, medium and longer-term goals are imperative however, it doesn’t need to be cumbersome.

Your short-term goals should include immediate plans for spending like upgrading cars, home maintenance and perhaps family weddings.

Overseas trips may now be deferred for some time and maybe you have received a hotel refund and an airfare credit, so include these figures in calculations.

We say that you should have a three-month backstop of emergency savings for expenses; my recommendation is that you now make this at least a 12-month back-stop.

For medium and longer-term, look at the reasons why you originally selected your investments.

For example, was it because you were going to get a good rate of interest and this has now reduced, or you bought some shares only because you were to receive a dividend, but that dividend is no longer there or reduced significantly.

Perhaps you purchased another investment in an industry that may now not see recovery for a number of years, whether it be property, tourism or entertainment.

For these decisions maybe it’s time to consider investments in sectors that now look more in need.

Discuss these short, medium and longer-term plans with us.

We can individualise what is best suited to your own situation; it may be that you continue as you are, or we can recommend adapted changes as appropriate to your own needs.

Interestingly what gives me some comfort lately is an article I read recently, in the current Covid environment; 96-year-old Charlie Munger, (investment guru, Warren Buffett’s offsider) said, “there is no need to rush when making investment decisions to buy, hold or sell”.

I thought, when a 96-year-old says there’s no need to rush, then you should probably listen.

He went on to say that moving investments at the right price is the right thing to do.

This isn’t about market timing; it’s more about what makes sense as opposed to ‘common’ sense.

We at Alistair Bean & Associates – Financial Advisers understand the market highs and lows, and we can help guide you through these unprecedented times.

Our specialty is “to make decisions for you, so you don’t have to”.

My team and I look forward to assisting you to help review your past, present and future ongoing needs. Please feel free to contact us today to assist you in adapting to change.


 

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


 

ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

We’ve got a one billion dollar opportunity waiting for us.

One billion is the amount spent on overseas tourism that Canterbury has the opportunity to retain, according to a report from Deloitte.

The figure is calculated by estimating how much outbound tourists spend overseas and apportioning this to each region, based on population.

This produces an estimate of how much spend could be redirected into the domestic market.

If Kiwis who would usually holiday overseas redirect some of their spending locally we have the opportunity to soften the economic blow to the visitor sector, keep businesses open and people in jobs – to the tune of one billion dollars.

Pre COVID-19, the 8,800 businesses in Canterbury’s tourism sector employed close to 70,000 people and contributed $4.9 billion to Gross Domestic Product – tourism represented one of the largest potential areas for growth.

It’s not hard to see why – Ōtautahi Christchurch has a growing reputation as a basecamp for exploration where visitors can explore nature’s playground from surf to summit, but also enjoy the flavour of NZ’s newest city and the gastro, cultural and scenic smorgasboard in between.

Over the coming months ChristchurchNZ will be working closely with local and national partners to leverage these unique selling points, to showcase our city and region to locals and invite Kiwis to explore all we have to offer.

We know our corner of New Zealand is one of the best and we’re ready to welcome visitors here and show them the spirit and beauty of Ōtautahi.