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 cannot believe we are already in February with the Christmas rush and holiday now a distant memory.
We are now fully launched into this new decade and I believe we, as a city and region, are ready to own it.
The last 10 years were tough on our city and our people, but in true southern style, we rose from that challenge and showed the world what we are made of.
“It’s a new city built for a new era and we should be proud that we are ready for all the opportunities it will bring.”
We started the new decade on a positive note with Christchurch landing a spot on the New York Times prestigious travel list, which is a fabulous accolade to our rebuild efforts thus far.
There is a positive vibe amount the business community for the new decade, with some large-scale projects being completed this year, including the Convention Centre and new-dedicated Cruise Berth in Lyttelton… and hopefully a decision on the long-awaited multi-use Arena.
It always surprises me to hear that some of our people have only just ventured back into the city centre for the first time in years but heartened they enjoyed the experience.
It’s a new city built for a new era and we should be proud that we are ready for all the opportunities it will bring.
There is a lot happening in our city and one of the key things that differentiates us from the suburban shopping centres, aside from our unique retail and hospitality offer, is our ability to activate the streets with events, festivals, buskers and street performances.
We are seeing new businesses opening every day filling in the gaps and progress has now reached tipping point.
From 23 January to 16 February our central city streets will be full of colour and spectacle. Building upon 25 years of history, the Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival will garner our streets providing a platform for a diverse range of local, national and international performers.
This is an opportunity to experience some of the best street performances the world has to offer and to explore your new city. We are seeing new businesses opening every day filling in the gaps and progress has now reached tipping point.
There are a lot of myths about how much parking we have in the city but to help break that myth, I can tell you we have way more parking than pre-earthquake with over 15,000 parking spaces available… and access is easy. See you there.
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.