Wellington has tools to help the rebuild - mayor

16:00, Mar 03 2013
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown

When Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown takes a collaborative view of how her region can contribute to the Canterbury rebuild she includes her own family in the equation.

Wade-Brown says Wellington region will be able to contribute on several levels to the rebuild, including expertise in the information technology, design and architectural fields. Much of this work could be done from afar in Wellington.

But she also has her son working in Christchurch, in a role with a manufacturing firm that has remained a mainstay in the hard-hit east city region of Bromley which sustained severe damage to several large businesses.

"My son is down there as an apprentice, so our family is supporting Christchurch directly. My sister-in-law is a doctor in Christchurch. As a family we are relatively connected to what is going on in people's hearts and minds.

"I think people really see the opportunities for Christchurch's success to affect New Zealand. We can't afford for the biggest city in the South Island to remain damaged both physically and economically for longer than need be."

The mayor was speaking ahead of the WellCan Forum, to be hosted in the Renouf Foyer of the Michael Fowler Centre this afternoon.


The event, co-hosted by the Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce, will examine the collaborative process needed as Canterbury undergoes a rebuild process that has been costed at more than $30 billion. More than 115 are registered for the free event.

The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce estimates the rebuild will need an additional 10,000 to 15,000 workers. The rebuild timeframe is uncertain but could last more than 10 years.

Wade-Brown said despite tougher economic times in recent years, Wellington had enjoyed great growth in the information technology or IT and financial services sectors.

"We've got Xero, which is one of the fastest growing businesses in the country. We've got Catalyst IT, who is actually one of the businesses already doing work in Christchurch.

‘They're doing really, really well, but the public sector cuts really dent confidence [in Wellington]. People don't know where the axe will come next so they have their reservations about spending money going out to dinner, buying new clothes."

Given that tough climate, the Canterbury rebuild was an opportunity for Wellington businesses to build on geographic collaborations. They were already successfully doing work with businesses on the other side of the Tasman and in Asia.

Potentially there would be some shortages in the building trades sectors, in terms of Wellingtonians moving to the Christchurch rebuild. Wellington would work within its tertiary education sector to tackle those shortages.