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Economic Recovery Actions

Update Against our Economic Recovery Progress

Across the city socio-economic recovery is being managed across three horizons: 

Respond, Recover, Reposition Diagram

Under these horizons are key activity streams, which will be added to once the comprehensive Ōtautahi Christchurch Socio-Economic Recovery Plan is complete.

Below is an insight into projects already being delivered to aid economic recovery. 


Business response

Support businesses to respond and restart.

  • Delivered $5.5m of central government funding and supported over 4,000 businesses across Canterbury via the Regional Business Partner Network (since mid-March), enabling businesses to access professional advice and support, webinars, business mentors and information on Government support. We do this work in partnership with the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise North Canterbury and South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, NZTE and Callaghan Innovation.
  • Matched over 300 businesses with experienced, local business mentors since 1 March.
  • Launched our Pivot to Domestic programme to support tourism operators to adapt their business model to a domestic proposition, 120 businesses have signed up to the six month programme.
  • Christchurch ratepayers facing financial hardship can apply to defer their rate payments for up to six months.
  • Three-month rent holiday for Council’s commercial tenants if businesses that have suffered a 30% drop in income year on year as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Buy local

Retain and grow spending and manufacturing to support local jobs

  • Launched a targeted campaign ‘Explore Your Place’ which encouraged residents to support local businesses, with advertising across print, billboards and radio. Social media content has achieved over seven million impressions and almost 200,000 engagements, resulting in 35,000 visits to and local business websites (from April 22 to June 8).
  • Retail spending for the week ending 24 May 2020 indicated an overall increase of 3 per cent in Canterbury, compared to the same week last year.
  • However, retailers remain under significant pressure. Business confidence as sourced from ANZ (May 2020) shows that uncertainty remains high which leads to lower business confidence.


Productive infrastructure

Provide pipeline certainty and identify transformational projects across public and private sector

  • Christchurch submitted over $1bn worth of projects to the taskforce set up by the Government to seek out ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects that can quickly stimulate the economy and create jobs.  
  • The Government has announced in principle ten “shovel ready” projects in Christchurch (16 in Canterbury) to be funded.

City vibrancy and visitor economy

Reactivation of sustainable visitor economy and visitor spending

  • A Visitor Economy Recovery Leadership Group has been established and are providing strategic advice as the Covid-19 Destination Response Plan is developed.
  • The recent announcement by central government of up to $1m for ChristchurchNZ for regional tourism services is a welcome boost. We are currently working through the application for the funding, which is only available to eligible regional tourism organisations who can show a commitment to the New Zealand Tourism Strategy, receive direct local government funding for tourism, and is focused on domestic marketing and product development. ChristchurchNZ is working with the Visitor Economy Recovery Leadership Group to shape how we will use this funding to support the recovery of our region as a tourism destination.
  • ExploreCHC campaign – we have partnered with Christchurch International Airport, and Canterbury and West Coast regional tourism operators to promote a unified city and region to domestic and in due course, international audiences. Phase one is heavily focus on media famils and content seeding across a variety of digital channels, followed by a large-scale campaign in July to attract visitors to the region across spring and summer.
  • Actively rescheduling international conferences and contacting domestic groups intending to conference overseas to relocate their event to Christchurch.
  • Supporting major events recovery in the city with preparations underway to host the iconic Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival and Women’s Cricket World Cup matches at Hagley Oval. We also continue to bid for major events for 2024 and beyond.

Labour market transition

From unemployment to training and jobs

  • Working with local industry and tertiary partners to ensure Canterbury is strongly positioned to secure the appropriate share of the $326m in the appropriations for additional tertiary enrolments in the COVID-19 recovery, plus the $19b unspent for the recovery related to innovation, infrastructure and other projects.
  • Working with central government to inform investment and policy setting in the region based on current and future industry need.
  • Working with local business owners to better understand the employment opportunities and skills required in Canterbury’s key growth sectors. These businesses told us they are positive about employment growth, with 90 per cent indicating new jobs being created in the next one to three years. These results will be used to guide the work we do with industry and tertiary to help reskill and plan for the future.
  • Collaborating with the local public tertiaries and industry to run a Careers Event for workers impacted by COVID-19 in early August.


Our thinking in this horizon is early days, but there is work we have underway right now to support this horizon.

Confident city

Embed strong city identity

  • We are significantly enhancing our city identity strategy to encourage resident advocacy and aligned city promotion across diverse stakeholder audiences.
  • Launched a content led, geo-targeted business attraction campaign focused on attracting both domestic and international businesses to Christchurch.
  • Working closely with Tourism New Zealand’s domestic activity to ensure our regional tourism proposition is well understood and sufficiently highlighted and promoted.
  • We have designed a business support programme working closely with SME and large corporates on leveraging the city story. City-wide promotional messaging is built on our strong city narrative and identity of being an innovative, resilient community of change-makers.
  • Modelling global best practice examples of city branding, we will be capitalising on the findings of a 2015 study of 200 cities that found that cities with stronger destination brands - as measured by the city brand index - had more success in sustained economic prosperity.

Smart and sustainable

  • In October we completed the delivery of the HealthTech Supernode Challenge to identify health tech innovations with commercialisation potential and to target support to accelerate their growth.
  • Working with industry to create strategic growth plans for the sector clusters with the most potential to shore-up the region’s economy against future risks such as an aging population, global warming and the exponential growth of technology. 
  • We are telling stories about business and investment opportunities to audiences domestically and internationally, encouraging them to explore the opportunity of Ōtautahi Christchurch.
  • We are partnering with low decile Christchurch secondary schools to increase awareness, lift career aspirations, and improve retention and outcomes for students. Support a more diverse and inclusive student population to engage in and successfully gain tertiary qualifications.  Content is being developed and pilot to start in two schools.
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