Chief Executive update – 25 October 2012

Release Date: 25 October 2012

Roger Sutton, CERA Chief Executive. Lonely Planet has just announced that Christchurch is number six on its list of ‘Top 10 Cities for 2013’, describing us as ‘rising from the rubble…with a breathtaking mix of spirit, determination and flair’. What great publicity for the city!

It’s great to see that all the positive work we are doing here is so prominent on the international stage.

As well as being noticed by one of the world’s leading travel guides, we’re also about to host His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. They want to meet survivors and hear how people are doing.  Obviously wherever the Royals go, an entourage of media follow. This is a chance to tell the world that we’re on the road to recovery, we’re open for business and we would love people to come and visit to find out for themselves. 

CERA is doing a resilience check with our online Wellbeing Survey. This is an opportunity to help us get a picture of what is going on in Greater Christchurch by having your say about how you think the recovery is progressing and how it is affecting you. We’ve spoken to more than 4,600 people at 21 public meetings held in some of the areas that suffered most damage around Greater Christchurch. The meetings gave residents the chance to have some really difficult questions about rebuilding and insurance answered by us here at CERA and our colleagues at EQC, the insurance companies, The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s Building & Housing department, and local councils. People have been really patient in very difficult situations. Overall, I think most people appreciated the chance to talk directly to the different agencies and were overwhelmingly positive about the meetings. We are still keen to hear your feedback, which you can send to info@cera.govt.nz

The infrastructure rebuild is nearly up to full speed. The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) aims to be doing $40 million worth of infrastructure work every month; it’s now at $38 million.

The residential rebuild appears to be gearing up too. The Canterbury rebuild is credited with contributing to a South Island economy growing at 3.3%, the greatest pace of growth seen in eight years. In August, Canterbury had 394 new dwellings consented with a value of $123 million. This is the highest number nationally and the first month in which Canterbury's value exceeded Auckland's ($118 million) since the series began in April 1990.

I know that many of you have been worried about insurance cover. We’ve been working closely with insurance companies because it’s so important that we can ensure our people can get insurance. I was really pleased to see the recent announcements by many of the major banks and insurance companies that as well as maintaining existing insurance cover for most areas of Greater Christchurch, new insurance cover packages are now being offered for both residential properties and the construction of new commercial facilities. 

We’ve just had a long Labour Weekend which was mostly kind in terms of weather, with lots on in the city and surrounding districts. Thousands turned out for the opening of the Festa Transitional Architecture Festival, the Spring River Festival’s events and for a bite at the Great West Coast Whitebait Festival. 

We’re all in the mood for something fun. The next few weeks will bring us the Student Volunteer Army’s ‘The Concert’, Guy Fawkes celebrations around the region, Hororata Highland Games, New Zealand Cup & Show Week (the Royal couple are planning to attend the 150th Canterbury A & P Show), and later in November the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.

These are great opportunities to lift our spirits and I’d urge you to get out there and enjoy the moments!

Roger Sutton
Chief Executive
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority