The Christchurch rebuild – From recovery to regeneration
2016 New Zealand Budget
Taxpayers' financial commitment to Christchurch regeneration now stands at more than $17 billion - around $700 million more than signalled in the last Budget. Nearly six years after the first earthquake, progress includes:
- $3.9 billion of public sector projects completed or under construction, with almost $800 million more forecast to begin in the next six months.
- Three anchor projects have been completed in Christchurch - Hagley Park cricket oval, the bus interchange and the Margaret Mahy family playground.
- Work is progressing on the Metro Sports Facility and the Convention Centre.
Overall progress is positive. Christchurch is entering an exciting new era as the government builds on its significant investment in the city to date and shifts gears to regenerate and revitalise not only the central city but also the greater region.
The rebuild has reached a ceiling of economic activity at approximately $1.2 billion per quarter, and is likely to continue at this level until around the middle of 2017. Residential insurance settlement has progressed with 95.5% of the 167,670 dwelling claims settled to date: 98.8% of claims under the EQC cap, and 77.7% of claims over the cap. More anchor projects will be well advanced this year including the Justice Precinct and Avon River Precinct, and other major construction works including Burwood Hospital are being completed.
All this rebuild activity has contributed to Canterbury overtaking Wellington as New Zealand’s second biggest regional economy, contributing 13.6% to national gross domestic product (GDP) in the year to March 2015. And it is vital for this next phase of the rebuild to continue to support this growth through the current peak of activity and beyond.
Since last year’s Budget the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has finished its work and been disestablished. In its place two new entities – Ōtākaro Ltd and Regenerate Christchurch – have been formed to oversee the delivery of the remaining anchor projects and lead regeneration activities across greater Christchurch.
Ōtākaro Ltd, formed under the Public Finance Act, takes over from CERA to deliver the remaining anchor projects. Led by an experienced chair and chief executive, the new entity brings a strong commercial focus that will help ensure the private sector remains at the forefront of the rebuild.
Regenerate Christchurch, a jointly owned Christchurch City Council and Crown entity, on the other hand is tasked with planning regeneration activity during this next phase of the rebuild. In other words, rather than rebuilding what Christchurch once was, it is tasked with developing the region’s potential – what Christchurch could be in the future.
It will be important for both new entities to drive an unwavering focus on community-led outcomes while working collaboratively with the private sector. Confidence is high that a new era of Crown-Council collaboration will underpin the opportunity in front of us to make Christchurch a better place than ever to live, work and play.
Turning this confidence and opportunity into measurable success will only stand to benefit the entire country. After all, New Zealand’s long-term economic health is dependent on our regions outside of Auckland also achieving greater success.
 MBIE. Quarterly Canterbury Job-matching Report Dec 2015. http://www.mbie.govt.nz/about/whats-happening/news/2016/quarterly-canterbury-job-matching-report-dec-2015.
 MBIE. Insurance settlements – by the numbers (as at 31 March 2016).