A strong economy is generally regarded as necessary for improving quality of life. It is expected that cities will need adaptive, resilient, and more diverse economies in the future to thrive in a rapidly changing global environment.

 What this means for our district

  • Christchurch has globally competitive businesses driving exports and generating wealth.
  • Christchurch is recognised as the global gateway to the South Island and Antarctica.
  • There is adequate and appropriate land for commercial, industrial and agricultural use.

How we are contributing

Our primary contribution to Christchurch's economic base is ensuring the city has the right infrastructure in place to support a broad based twenty first century economy. The Lyttelton Port Company(external link) and Christchurch International Airport(external link) are crucial links for trade and tourism. Ensuring good transport links and adequate zoning for different land uses also provides a solid base for the economy.

How you can help

Support businesses in Christchurch.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
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Canterbury gross domestic product (GDP)

Since 2010, GDP in Canterbury has increased by 46%, compared with the national increase of 30%. Further information.

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Value of export goods from Lyttelton Port and Christchurch Airport

Value of exports through Lyttelton Port are 30% higher than before the earthquakes. 

Exports through Christchurch Airport have increased by 30% since the earthquakes. Further information.

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Regional tourism spend

Tourism spend in the ChristchurchNZ regional tourism organisation area has increased annually since 2012, reaching $3.03 billion for the year to June 2018. Further information.

Canterbury gross domestic product (GDP)

Canterbury's GDP was $34 billion in the year to March 2017. This was an increase of 260% since 2000. Canterbury's GDP makes up 12.9% of the national GDP, which is slightly higher than the proportion of 11.6% in 2000.

In 2016, the key industries contributing to Canterbury's GDP were manufacturing (13%) and construction (11%). The industrial group with the greatest growth since 2000 was construction, followed by professional, scientific and technical services.

Exports from Lyttelton Port and Christchurch Airport

For the year to June 2018, exports leaving via Lyttelton Port were valued at $4.8 billion, while exports leaving via Christchurch Airport were valued at $2.2 billion.

Compared with pre-earthquake values, exports through Lyttelton have increased by 30%, up from $3.7 billion in 2010. Lyttelton exports peaked in 2014 at $6.9 billion, before declining to its current value.

Airport exports experienced a significant peak in the year to June 2012, probably as a result of the earthquakes. Excluding this peak, airport exports have grown by 42% from pre-earthquake values of $1.3 billion in 2010.

Regional tourism spend

The earthquakes had a significant effect on tourism spending in the region. Spending in ChristchurchNZ RTO (includes Christchurch, Selwyn, Waimak, Ashburton and Hurunui) fell from $2.35 billion in 2010 to $1.93 million in 2012, a decrease of 18%.

Overall tourist spending has increased annually since 2012, and reached $3.03 billion for the year to June 2018, the highest on record.

In the year ended June 2018, domestic tourists spent $1.9 billion in the ChristchurchNZ RTO, which was 63% of total tourist spending. Domestic tourism expenditure was less impacted by the earthquakes than international, falling by $54 million between 2010 and 2012 (a decrease of 3.9%). By 2013, domestic spending had recovered and exceeded pre-quake spending levels, and has increased each year since.

International tourism expenditure was more impacted by the earthquakes, falling by $374 million between 2010 and 2012 (a 38% decrease). This reflected the downward trend in international arrivals during this period.

It was only in 2016 that spending levels exceeded pre-quake levels, and in 2018 total international expenditure was $1.13 billion.

Further information about regional monthly expenditure on tourism, including maps and charts, can be found on MBIE's website(external link)(external link).