In order to be a great place for people, cities need to attract and retain business and investment to provide a strong economy.

The attractiveness of a city derives from the social and economic activities and services on offer, a highly skilled workforce, and the quality of the physical and built environment. These contribute to the look and feel of the cityscape, people’s sense of and attachment to the place, and economic growth within the city.

What this means for our district

  • Christchurch residents enjoy a high quality of life.
  • Christchurch is recognised for its ease of doing business.
  • We have a highly skilled and educated workforce.
  • Christchurch has a reputation for innovation and creativity, and is an attractive place for entrepreneurs.

How we are contributing

The Council has established ChristchurchNZ(external link) and Development Christchurch Limited (DCL)(external link) as Council Controlled Organisations to help ensure opportunities for innovation and economic development are seized for the city. They work to promote the city as a great place to invest in, and to facilitate investment opportunities.

How you can help

Support local businesses whenever you can. Look to source supplies locally where possible. Let your friends and family outside the city know that Christchurch is a great place to live and work.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Negative result

Overall quality of life

The proportion of residents who felt their overall quality of life was good or extremely good fell from 95 to 78 per cent between 2010 and 2016. Further information.

Negative result

Commercial property investor confidence

Christchurch investor confidence has declined from around 60 per cent (net) in 2013 to negative 7 per cent (net) in March 2018. Further information.

Positive result

Highest qualification

Since 1986, the number of people without formal qualifications has declined by 40 per cent to 49,000.

Between 1986 and 2013, residents with a university qualification increased by 390 per cent, from 13,700 to 53,300. Further information.

Positive result
Skilled migrant applications

Between 2013 and 2017, skilled migrant visa applications for Canterbury increased from 775 to 1,865. Further information.

Positive result

Innovation cities index Christchurch's innovative city score has increased from 37 to 40 (out of 60) since the 2012/13 year.  Further information.
Mixed result
Indeterminate Result
Business 'births' as a per cent of turnover Since 2012, business 'births' have made up more than 50 per cent of business turnover; however it has declined since a peak in 2014. Further information.

Overall quality of life

Prior to the earthquakes, the Quality of Life Survey found that overall quality of life increased throughout the 2000s, with 95 per cent of residents rating their overall quality of life in Christchurch as good or extremely good in 2010.

Following the earthquakes, the proportion of people who rated their overall quality of life in Christchurch as good or extremely good declined from 95 to 77 per cent in 2012. It increased to 80 per cent by 2014 before dropping to 78 per cent in 2016.

Fewer than 5 per cent have described their quality of life as poor or very poor since the earthquakes.

Commercial property investor confidence

Commercial property investor confidence in Christchurch before the earthquakes was negative, although it had been increasing, possibly reflecting the recovery from the global financial crisis (GFC). 

Immediately after the earthquakes, investor confidence became positive, reflecting the potential opportunities as a result of the rebuild. This optimism peaked in 2013 at around 60 per cent (net). It has since declined to become negative in March 2017 and was -7 per cent (net) in March 2018 (7 per cent more people with a negative outlook than a positive one).

Other centres and the New Zealand average are all still positive, with between 25 and 43 per cent more optimistic people than pessimistic.

Highest qualification

Christchurch's working age population (over 15 year of age) is getting more highly skilled. Since 1986, the number of people with no qualification has declined by 40 per cent, to 49,700 in 2013.

Those with a university qualification have increased from 13,700 to 53,300, an increase of 390 per cent between 1986 and 2013. University qualified residents now make up 21 per cent of the working age population, compared with 7 per cent in 1986.

Skilled migrant visa applications

Between 2007 and 2010, the number of foreign residents applying for skilled migrant visas in Canterbury decreased from 1274 to 866. There was also a decline in the proportion of all applicants applying to come to Canterbury, falling from 11 per cent of national applicants to 7.7 per cent.

Between 2013 and 2014, there was a large increase in skilled visa applications for Canterbury, from 775 to 1631, and this growth has continued. Since 2014, Canterbury has had around 14 per cent of New Zealand's skilled migrant applicants.  It will be interesting to see if we can maintain this level of desirability as the rebuild is completed.

Innovation cities index

The innovative cities score(external link) for Christchurch has been increasing each year since the earthquakes, from a score of 37 (out of a maximum of 60) in 2012/13 to 40 in 2016/17.

Compared with the other New Zealand cities in the index, Christchurch is still a couple of points behind Wellington (42) and Auckland (43). However, both of these cities have declined from a peak of 46 in recent years.

Out of the 500 cities that are included in the index, Christchurch is ranked 215, while Wellington is 108th and Auckland 89th.

Business births as a per cent of turnover

Newly created businesses (births) as a percentage of business turnover (births and deaths) is a measure of business entrepreneurship. Except for the period immediately during and after the earthquakes (2010 and 2011), business births have exceeded deaths, with over 50 per cent of turnover being from births.

Since the earthquakes, births as a percentage of turnover peaked at 62 per cent in 2014, since then is has declined to 52 per cent in the year to February 2017.