20-point checklist to fuel recovery

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012
Steve Wakefield is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) General Manager for Economic Recovery.
Steve Wakefield is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) general manager for economic recovery.

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Next year could be boom time in Canterbury.

As the Government unveiled a $20 to $30 billion recovery programme containing 20 key projects to boost the region's recovery, Cera economic recovery general manager Steve Wakefield said 2013 could usher in a surge in economic growth for the region.

The programme, released yesterday, outlined the 20 priorities to get Canterbury business humming again.

"I believe we're well poised for an economic boom for the next five to 10 years . . . 2013 and beyond are about continuing the recovery and the momentum we've got [and] moving to growth," said Wakefield, the architect of the programme.

It was about "long-term prosperity, not just short-term recovery", he said.

The recovery projects include improving the labour market, the social environment, the availability of insurance and ultrafast broadband, as well as implementing the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, bringing tourists back and increasing the productivity of the construction industy.

"It's quite a broad set of goals and therefore is a broad programme.

"It aims to retain and develop existing business, attract new investment, generate wealth, increase exports and enable the return of greater levels of prosperity and growth to Canterbury".

The programme is not a statutory document with any legal standing, but some plans that come under it, such as the central city blueprint , are.

The predicted $20b-30b recovery price-tag will involve private and public money.

The costs will be split between five sectors, including commercial and infrastructure, but residential housing swallows the most at an estimated 60 per cent ($12b-18b) of the total cost.

Seventy per cent of funding will come from the Earthquake Commission and private insurers; the Government will pick up 20 per cent and local government and others 10 per cent.

"We need to make sure we spend this $30b as wisely and effectively as possible," Wakefield said.

"If we do that, we'll get a big economic lift . . . and I believe we'll have the most modern, attractive, vibrant mid-sized city in the world."

Using the labour market project as an example, he outlined how the programme would be implemented.

"[It] includes . . . a work-force model that helps us to understand how many construction workers and other occupations will be needed for the rebuild, policy options to reduce constraints [and] looking at accelerating skills development and training."

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Each project had "success" measures, which for labour markets would include monthly reports showing more people with certain skills getting jobs where they used them and a governance structure for the sector.

For example, the new city centre must be "vibrant, attractive" and provide a hub for business, entertainment and new residential areas.

Quarterly reports, with 50 economic indicators, would update progress and a monthly "dashboard" of the top 16 would be published.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the programme would be an important touchstone for Government and business leaders.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Canterbury to create a new, better and enduring business environment."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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