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.
Earth has flipped the proverbial reboot switch, something none of us were expecting, well not this year anyway.
As I sit here in my isolation, I reflect on a song by one of my favourite artists, the late great John Lennon and his song Imagine.
The words of this song could fill the many holes created by our global economy rather than the buckets of tears we seem to fill them with.
COVID-19 has illuminated the holes in globalisation as we are forced back into our own corners of this world… and herein lies an opportunity, the importance of supporting ‘your local’ and creating our own circular economy.
Our small to medium businesses make up 97 percent of all businesses in New Zealand and are the backbone of our economy, contributing to more than a quarter of our GDP.
As a country we are currently facing a complete loss of an entire industry ‘tourism’, which is our biggest export industry so without it, our local businesses will need your support, now more than ever.
Our small to medium business owners are people just like you and me, they have families, mortgages, but they employ our people.
So, I ask all of you to consider supporting your local business in the coming months and in particular over the winter period.
I personally believe, if we pull together and support each other over the next couple of years we will help reduce the amount of pain in our community.
I believe a better future is when we can look at Christchurch and see a place that we are proud to call home as New Zealand’s second largest city. We can see that it offers the next generation the opportunity to live, work and raise a family here.
However, often we do not act like a city and more like a large town that questions the relevance of a stadium. For us to grow and fulfill our aspirations, we need to change our mindset and act like a city that is progressive, offering opportunity and platforms for our young people to aspire to perform.
We have the best opportunity of all New Zealand cities to grow, and grow at scale, but we need to ensure growth is at a sustainable rate and accessible for future generations to enjoy. We have the available land, and we could absorb significant increases to our current population. But to achieve growth, we ourselves have to be positive advocators of our city. We need to lift our aspirations and restore pride back to this great city of ours and if you look around, we have a lot to be proud of.
We have been blessed with local investors who have reinvested into the future of our city. They could have moved and invested outside of Christchurch but they chose to stay and invest here. So as residents and investors in Christchurch, let’s become positive advocators and build a better future.