In 2019, New Zealand placed top in the world for ease of doing business, and has the third freest economy in the world. The South Pacific powerhouse punches well above the belt for business potential, productivity and success relative to its size.
A special opportunity for business and investment lies in the south of this impressive nation. Christchurch, a city with a population of over 381,000 (making it New Zealand’s second largest), is undergoing total reconstruction with government backing. The city is on the hunt for investment to support this project. As a result, entrepreneurs and businesses have the chance to shape the future of Christchurch and influence New Zealand’s economy.
In 2010 and 2011, earthquakes damaged a significant proportion of the Southern city. To build Christchurch back to its former glory, the government is investing NZ$40 billion (around US$26.6 million) into a major reconstruction project.
New Zealand’s rebuild project focuses heavily on attracting business and investment into Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region. ChristchurchNZ is spearheading the country’s Christchurch Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which includes providing free support to Christchurch business.
Business and employment opportunities
Generally, New Zealand is highly responsive to new business. The country is considered low-risk for investors, who are often able to achieve returns on investment very quickly. The government is pro-investment and foreign ownership, and as such maintains relaxed market-entry requirements. The country’s liberal approach to investment therefore nurtures an empowering and supportive environment for foreign business.
Specifically, there are several substantive reasons why investment in Christchurch offers a high probability for long-term success.
A brand-new city
Most obviously, the opportunity of setting up in a brand-new city means businesses aren’t competing as hard for prime commercial estate. As the newest city in New Zealand, the new Christchurch will be laden with state-of-the-art infrastructure, smart city technology and modern facilities. At the same time, the government is putting a concerted effort into preserving Christchurch’s heritage buildings. This mix of old-and-new will make for a diverse, attractive cityscape.
Educated and skilled workforce
New Zealand houses a highly educated and skilled workforce. As a multicultural nation, its diversity lends itself to building high-performing teams with creative and innovative approaches to problems.
Christchurch houses three world-renowned tertiary institutions, meaning qualified experts in a wide range of fields are close at hand. Additionally, average Canterbury weekly earnings sit below the national median, lowering employment costs for employers.
Business mentors on hand to help
A number of business-friendly organizations with government support have popped up in the region. They’re designed to support businesses setting up locally, and connect them with the regional business community. A strong mentoring focus among these organizations ensures new and foreign businesses have what they need to succeed in Christchurch. Some examples of these are the Canterbury Tech Cluster and Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.
Technology, manufacturing, agribusiness, tourism, and health make up Christchurch’s key business sectors.
Recovery from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes necessitated fast and innovative thinking from citizens and businesses. As a result, Christchurch is now home to a thriving technology sector. The number of tech start-ups has skyrocketed, doubling within six months in 2016.
Christchurch’s position as the ‘gateway to the South’ also brings in over NZ$2 billion (US$1.3 billion) annually in tourism expenditure. The South Island holds only 23% of New Zealand’s population, making it an idyllic getaway for locals and holidaymakers alike. Against the backdrop of the Banks Peninsula and Port Hills, Christchurch tourism is only expected to increase.
Public health investment is higher in Christchurch than anywhere else in New Zealand. The government is injecting over NZ$1.3 billion into various health-related infrastructure and technology in the Southern hub. This includes establishing a world-class precinct for health research, education, and innovation. Already, the region attracts health leaders from abroad to learn about its health innovations.
ChristchurchNZ offers comprehensive resources for businesses getting started in the agribusiness, technology, manufacturing, and international education sectors. These sectors are considered key to Christchurch’s growth.
New Zealand’s high food productivity has already put a spotlight on the nation for offering innovative agritech and agribusiness solutions.
Not only is Christchurch the most prominent distribution hub of the South Island, but it is surrounded by expanses of farmland. The Canterbury region has a temperate climate and experiences high rainfall, making for fertile land. The region is also expanding a complex irrigation network which will support further land productivity. Currently, seed production and food and beverage manufacturing are Canterbury specialties.
It’s perhaps due to this agricultural significance that Canterbury houses four globally recognized agribusiness research institutes: Lincoln University, Lincoln Hub, Powerboost breakfasts, and FoodSouth. These institutes constitute a truly formidable force in agricultural innovation in the region.
Innovate and influence
New Zealanders possess characteristic resourcefulness and a ‘get on with it’ attitude. Christchurch Innovation is a government initiative led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This organization works with entrepreneurs and research and commercial entities to support innovative projects. The initiative also focusses on building collaboration between the public and private sectors, both locally and nationwide.
With comprehensive support and a tight-knit business community, local and foreign businesses have the opportunity to achieve world-recognised innovation. Investing now means getting a chance to influence the future of Christchurch and New Zealand’s southern economy.
We can help
Although New Zealand is one of the world’s freest economies, it’s important to get help expanding into new territory. We can help make sure your commercial expansion runs as smoothly as possible.
Biz Latin Hub provides personalized business solutions in due diligence, commercial representation, and recruitment, among other services. Our New Zealand team offers expert support to ensure a smooth transition into the country.
Contact us here and we’ll help you design a strategy to capitalize on New Zealand’s investor-friendly landscape.