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The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

The second wave of Covid-19 has dealt the country a psychological blow alongside the economic and social impacts we are still experiencing from the first outbreak.
Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Socio-Economic Recovery Plan anticipated community transmission was likely and remains the basis for how we respond to these impacts. Our sights are firmly set on the immediate aim of supporting businesses and saving and growing jobs and, over the longer term we are building a foundation to reposition the city for a smart, sustainable future to ensure intergenerational wellbeing.
Already we’ve seen the delivery of several initiatives from the plan; including the recent partnership with the University of Canterbury (UC) Business School and Ara Institute of Canterbury and Ministry of Awesome through the Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation, to deliver an all-of-city approach to innovation.
Start-ups and businesses with high growth potential now have even more support, advice, networks, mentoring and access to investor and commercial networks here and overseas.
The Ministry of Awesome will be the home for early-stage start-ups – their Incubation Programme and wealth of other start-up support will grow our best ideas into business opportunities.
ThincLab at UC will focus on high growth ventures, providing further incubator support and connecting businesses with the best local, national and international expertise to fast-track their growth.
Without a doubt, you can expect to see great things come out of the city’s innovation ecosystem over the next year.

 


 

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

The latest retail data shows Christchurch tentatively returned to pre-COVID-19 spending levels.

This is welcome news for our recovering economy, but it is sustained growth which we continue to work towards, as we know the sugar rush of post-lockdown spending may not last.

Retail spending in Christchurch increased by 4 percent during June 2020, compared to the same period last year – led by growth in sectors including home, hardware and electrical (up 26 percent) and apparel and personal (up 16 per cent).

But, perhaps the most encouraging news was the 13 percent increase in spending by residents in the central city – one of the city’s areas hardest hit by the loss of the international visitor market.

Here at ChristchurchNZ we continue to build on this bedrock of support by extending the invite to people from around New Zealand to visit Ōtautahi Christchurch and explore our city, region and the wider South Island.

From the wild West Coast to the bays of Banks Peninsula, from whale watching in Kaikōura to heavenly hot pools and skiable slopes – we sit in the centre of a treasure trove of destinations and attractions.

But it doesn’t stop there, over the winter months we’ve been working with partners across the city to prepare a spring season of social, cultural and sporting events events.

Our BLOOM programme will return in 2020 to entertain residents and domestic visitors alike and add further stimulus to our economic growth and recovery.


 

John Bridgman

The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

It seems the recent extended stay within the confines of our own homes has led many people to consider whether the grass might be greener over by Rauora Park, where Fletcher Living is experiencing a surge in interest in its One Central homes, post-lockdown.

Of the 172 homes currently on offer, ranging from one-bedroom apartments through to four-bedroom townhouses, 100 have now been sold.

As the number of residents has grown, so has the sense of community. Many people are notably excited by the fact they will be living on the doorstep of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena, with its All Blacks and big acts.

With more than half of the existing homes now sold, Ōtākaro and Fletcher Living are in the thick of working out what comes next, but rest assured the future development sites will not be sitting idle.

In August, Fletcher Living’s placemaking partner, Gap Filler, will be holding the Good Vibes Winter Festival in the area, which will be followed by the A&P City Farm in November and, naturally, a Christmas Carnival in December.

Add to the mix record low home loan rates and the next few months offer a great opportunity to scope out what living in central Christchurch looks like. And let’s face it, any excuse to get
out of the house these days is a welcome one.


 

The Influencers: Leeann Watson


Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

As we head into the home straight of the general election, and given the challenges of the current COVID-19 environment, it has never been more important to be fully informed and engaged in the election process, to play a real part in shaping the future of our country for the better.

General elections traditionally attract positive voter turnout.

In 2017, the total number of votes cast nationally was 2,630,173 with a turnout of 79.8 percent of enrolled voters – the highest since 2005.

The enrolment rate was 92.4 percent which is also very positive. This shows that there is a strong interest in national politics.

However, this engagement in the process is wasted if that decision-making is not well-informed.

Just as there is a lot of information out there; so too is there a lot of mis-information, so finding a trusted conduit of information is vital.

Providing the opportunity for two-way engagement between key political parties and local employers is one of the ways that we, as an Employers’ Chamber, can help to cut through that noise.

We also advocate on issues that impact local businesses and the livelihoods of our community, such as the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy.

We are so fortunate to have a strong democratic process that we owe it to ourselves to make the most of it.

I would encourage you to get informed on the issues that will impact you, your family, and your livelihood.

Our central Government should represent the whole country, but that won’t happen if we don’t involve ourselves in the process.


 

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.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

 

Construction is back up and running at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre after a shutdown during the COVID-19 restriction period.

Work kicked off again at Level 3 with a smaller team and strict social distancing requirements, and as we return to the city it is brilliant to see how quickly the building façade is progressing along Oxford Terrace.

The pandemic is affecting the business events industry worldwide and we are not immune to that.

The centre’s Business Development team has been working closely with affected clients to reschedule their events to a later date, which has kept most of these events in Christchurch.

General Manager Ross Steele has advised they now have 67 events confirmed for Te Pae Christchurch, which is a 30% increase on the number of bookings at the end of 2019.

These are projected to bring over $40 million of economic benefit to the city.

Understandably, given the current climate, eight upcoming events have been cancelled due to uncertainty around travel and the delayed completion of the building.

When the venue opens, personal safety is likely to still be at the front of people’s minds.

The hygiene and safety standards being used will be consistent with other venues around the world managed by our venue operator, ASM Global.

In business as usual, an exceptional local winery, Sherwood Estate Wines, has secured the first major supply contract.

Supporting the city’s economic and social recovery is one of Te Pae Christchurch’s key objectives and they tell me they expect to sign up more local suppliers shortly.


 

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

As this issue goes to print, we are due to release the latest Quarterly Economic Report, a key metric used to track our economy and focus our own programme of work.

We aim to build and maintain a future-focused economy that raises the standard of living for residents.

A key way we drive economic growth is attracting business events to the city. We recently launched a new brand to do this – Business Events Christchurch – a partnership between Tourism New Zealand, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau.

Our city is primed to host large-scale business events with world-class venues, a humming business community, and a deep pool of expertise in our universities and public sector.

Another driver of economic growth are the city’s existing strengths helping to future-proof our economy.

We have worked with local industry and education experts to create our Supernodes initiative – areas of sustainable growth and high-value employment.

We’re working to attract talent in these areas, build career pathways and foster collaboration, and we’re looking forward to sharing more on this soon.

And there is little doubt IKEA’s recent announcement about opening a store in Ōtautahi Christchurch spurred excitement among our residents, and should create numerous jobs in the city.

We continue to drive economic growth during these exciting times for the city. We are well and truly regaining our status as a major New Zealand urban centre.


 

The Influencers: Joanna Norris


This year marks a watershed moment for our city, our place, Ōtautahi Christchurch. There are few years I’ve been more excited for than 2020.

 

ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

We are emerging as the country’s premier urban destination, a basecamp for exploration and a hub of South Island adventure. Our rebuilt infrastructure is the envy of cities with worn out facilities, while our city is new, exciting and stronger than ever.

In 2020, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre will open, set to be an absolute game-changer for the city centre and our ability to host major business events.

We’re also excited about He Puna Taimoana, the hot pools development in New Brighton opening this year, which will bring a new energy to this beautiful white-sand beach just 15 minutes from the city centre.

In May, we welcome the world’s tourism industry to the city at TRENZ, an incredible chance to showcase our new city to the world and we plan to leverage this in a big way.

We also welcome the inaugural South Island Moon Festival in October, a new celebration of our links to China and the rest of Asia.
ChristchurchNZ has come of age and in 2020 we’re hitting the ground running.

We stand confidently as your gutsy economic development and city profile agency, with a deep commitment to serving the public interest, igniting bold ambition among our businesses, our people, and those visiting our beautiful home.


 

The Influencers: John Bridgman


It’s not just the number of seats in the auditorium that the organisers of international conventions look at when selecting their next venue in a globally competitive sector.

John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

Transport, hospitality and quality of accommodation are also crucial in the decision-making process. So, it’s great for Christchurch that Ōtākaro recently secured a development agreement with the Carter Group for up to four hotels on the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre site, including one five-star hotel.

A five-star hotel near the venue is a requirement for what are considered marquee international events. These sorts of events will help Te Pae Christchurch stimulate the nearly $100m worth of economic activity each year it’s estimated the city is currently missing out on.

A five-star offering will certainly add a string to the marketing bow of our operator ASM Global, which now has 40 confirmed events and around another 120 interested in coming to Christchurch once Te Pae is open in October.

Our agreement with the Carter Group also enables new developments by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch to the north of Armagh St, along the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. This will allow this award-winning Anchor Project to reach its full potential as a place for people.

These new developments will use a third of the vacant private land in Christchurch’s CBD east of the Avon River and serve as a fantastic example of how Ōtākaro can meet its dual objectives of delivering both commercial and regenerative outcomes for the city.