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.
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 economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented.
If we are to save jobs and businesses, get the economy going again and ensure Christchurch is well positioned for the future, we need to do so together.
We have a chance to usher in a sustainable future by working together to save jobs, to support local businesses and to reposition Christchurch to deliver inter-generational wellbeing through a smart, sustainable and future focused economy.
It will take a collective commitment across the community and public and private enterprise to make this happen.
We need to balance necessary and urgent activity with longer-term recovery planning to usher in a sustainable future.
Our early economic recovery planning encourages people to think about working within three horizons: response, recovery and ultimately, repositioning the city for a stronger future.
In this early stage, one of the most powerful tools we have to hand is consumer spending.
Consumption accounts for 60 percent of economic activity, this means how you choose to spend your income makes a difference.
The money you spend on everyday items doesn’t just go to the business owner. It trickles through the community, it goes to workers, it goes to suppliers.
It keeps people in jobs.
I realise not everyone can spend and times will be tough for many.
But, if you are one of the lucky ones to come through COVID-19 with a job and your health, now is the time to spend locally to support businesses and keep people in their jobs.
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.
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.
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.