Christchurch outlook dims as politicians dither

In the city meant to be leading New Zealand out of recession, builders’ expectations are falling.

Building construction workload optimism for the Christchurch rebuild has dropped from an average of 85% during 2011 to 63%.

Expectations still remain well ahead of Auckland and Wellington, and several new commercial developments are under way or at planning stages.

But major residential repair work beyond plastering and painting has yet to begin. Many insurance claims are still to be settled by EQC as the second anniversary of the first September 2010 earthquake approaches.

A survey by Davis Langdon, an AECOM company, attributes the decline to “frustration with the protracted Christchurch Central City Blueprint process is adding to the uncertainty for investors”.

The dithering continues this week, with Earthquake Recovery Minister’s Gerry Brownlee’s Friday deadline for the 100-day rebuild blueprint delayed until next week.

Davis Langdon’s New Zealand regional director, Chris Sutherland, says the outlook in Christchurch remains consistent with the trend observed over the last year.

“One respondent described the impasse between commercial developers and prospective tenants as a stalemate caused by the inability to commit to new projects while the Christchurch CBD remained little more than a construction site.”

The survey is based on the views of 600 building construction industry decision-makers, including consultants, contractors, financiers, agents, developers and others from across the public and private sectors.

Mr Sutherland says while current conditions are still fairly poor, there is evidence of a positive upswing in the industry’s outlook for the coming year.

“Eighty-five percent of New Zealand construction industry decision-makers anticipate stable or increasing workloads over the next 12 months, up from 80% in December.

“Optimism is also strong in Auckland, where 36% now expect more work over the coming year, up from 28% in the previous quarter.”

He says existing building refurbishments were selected by 76% of decision-makers as a key source of new work.

Many respondents indicated that continually low margins were putting some companies in financial difficulty or causing them to fail.

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The rebuild of Christchurch has always been a mathematical equation - the Government and Governmnet agencies, insureres etc do their individual PR spins about the amount of money it will cost them but mathematically the longer the payments stretch out and the longer EQC and insurers collect increased premiums, the less the overall cost will be.

We are now nearly 2 years since the first big quake and 18 months since the big February quake so by the middle of next year the Government and insureres will be quids in. In the Governments case they have provisioned for the full rebuild cost but because they have waited so long will be in a position to write back hundreds of millions of dollars, which will help ballance the books - particularly if they get less for the SOE assets.

So forget about the emotional issues - its all about the numbers


This is all about expectation. Those in Chch with "immediate" expectations were over-optimistic. Those with patience are doing ok. there is already plenty of building and work out there, just not enough yet to satisfy. Especially when so many people here have been caught trying to gild the lily with insurance companies and EQC (the policy holders, insurance agents and tradesmen all), I am not surprised things have taken a little longer than expected.


The development model for the CBD has changed post GFC
Find tenant(s) first, design building next, then apply for consent(s)
This model cant start until the main blueprint is completed, and of course if you still own CBD property.
Best result of blueprint will be if Gov't amalgamates whole blocks for sensible development.


It is all a lot of bull.The MP's involved in the re-construction have hood winked their fellow MP's into thinking all is under control in Chch and that everything possible is being done to move ahead. As we all know in Chch this is simply not the truth.We have Brownlee bullying us all, saying there is no "rental crisis" with prices rising sharply and there is "no shortage" of flats/houses to rent, and all in the North Island believe him(this is fact as I know from being there with them). My opinion is that if matters continue like this the National Party will have a massive swing against them from the South Island in the next general election and that could be enough to tip the balance.Let alone the blood letting when the next Council elections come along.North Islanders know squat about what is happening in Chch therefore it is easy for them to told all is fine, and really they could not care less about us. Further there is a total disaster emerging in the Insurance world, they simply cannot cope with DRA's, Geo TECH Reports, Skope reports, let alone paying out the money out. I am wondering in all this who is the Insurance client who has been such a mug for years paying out all this House Hold premium money full of promises and now we are treated like ORPHANS who will do as they are told. National deserves to go down in a heap.The Government is simply not doing enough for Chch after the world's largest insured disaster, there will never be another one like it again. Insurance companies are walking all over the insured and the Government and little sympathy is being shown from Wellington.IT IS ALL A NATIONAL DISGRACE and we in Canterbury should be doing more about it NOW before it is all too late.Two Years is up soon, what hell it is for so many people. In conclusion the ROT started with the destructive demolition of Christchurch, it was all totally out of control the Government did not know what to do so the Canterbury Demolition Mafia took over, stuffed and robbed Chch blind and now the Government is suffering for this lack of control/direction and over expenditure. Chch has a min of 20 years misery to ride all this out.The youth have gone and will not return.Shame on all the Authorities. Finally the latest figure of 5 divorces daily average is terrible but when you know that it takes 2 years before you can file for divorce, so what will happen after September 2012, will it be 20 divorce applications a day. ??? Enough Said.


Christchurch, I live there, is a total disaster. EQC refuses to even give me a copy of my insurance policy with them! I am paying them, at the moment, $180.00 per year. I have no idea what I am covered for nor the terms. I should be able to 'opt out' of EQC, who are the second worst event to happen to Christchurch, earthquakes were the worst.
I have written to EQC. No reply in two months, so now I have written to the PM to ask him to get EQC to reply to my letter! You could not make up the incompetence happening today in Christchurch.


Brownlee - there is no rental crisis - yeah right - $800 per week for a caravan. Yeah right jerry


Chch recovery is a big rort. 2 eqc bosses each buy a house then rent toeach other, and eqc is paying the rents.


The extent of the bureaucratic incompetence displayed in Canterbury could easily engender conspiracy theories of corruption and white-collar looting. Having read and heard some of the protagonists and without any detailed evidence to the contrary, I have concluded that the only other explanation is sheer stupidity.


It's coming up to the two year anniversary of the 1st quake and the lack of activity in Christchurch is disgusting. The residents are caught between the EQC and their insurers. The incompetence by all the agencies involved in the rebuild (and CERA itself as they were meant to be in charge of things) is utterly 'mind blowing'. I purchased full replacement insurance on a million dollar home and had $200K on my contents. Over 50% of my contents was destroyed and I'm yet to receive a payout from IAG/STATE for my contents even though they have verified everything I have claimed for. As for my house - I was advised that the initial assessment of my home (March 2011) was that it was a rebuild, but it has taken over a YEAR to get the official word. That was after waiting 9 months for a land decision (which had nothing to do with the rebuild decision on my house), then I was told by STATE that I had to wait for the DBH guidelines to be released before they could progress my claim. Today I phoned my adjustor asking why I don't even have a scope for my rebuild and they advise that the "Port Hills global land remediation report" is now holding things up. Residents are going from one road block to another, while CERA is organising bus tours and the like! Go onto the EQC Facebook page and see the questions people are asking and the fact that no-one is answering them. I also see that people are actually advertising a protest march on the EQC's own Facebook page - against insurers, EQC, CERA, CCC, Fletchers etc - on 1st September. I know for sure that I will be there as the rebuild is going absolutely nowhere.


The 'tone' in Christchurch has changed of late. There is a comical satire on the lack of action by the EQC - displayed on the EQC facebook page, which makes a joke out of the rebuild. People are now talking about the huge protest march to commemorate the struggles of the residents of ChCh after all this time. They are being bullied by insurers (but CERA or the Govt have done nothing). I was told that my home was a rebuild almost two months ago, but still don't have the report so I can make a determination as to whether to rebuild in ChCh, elsewhere, or simply buy an existing house. The insurers are deliberately delaying things for the residents (and collecting insurance premiums at the same time). The Govt have not stepped in and are not in control. I heard an interview with Mr Sutton on the radio last week and he gave the lady caller totally wrong advice - her problem was with the EQC, but he sent this lady to the Insurance Ombudsman (pass the buck to someone else). The rebuild is turning into a 'boy's club' and the 'big boys' are making money while the residents are suffering. The 'tone' of ChCh is changing and people are talking protest. As most people know, ChCh residents have to put up with a lot before they utter the word 'protest' ... it is now that bad.


The 'rebuild' in ChCh has become a joke. Residents with homes that require 'cosmetic damage' are being repaired in order that EQC's subcontractor, Fletchers can 'get their stats up'. Meanwhile, there are residents with plywood over their windows and roofs, trying to keep warm while heat is escaping their homes. My house has a red sticker - meaning a $10,000 fine if I enter it, yet I'm still paying 60% rates, a mortgage and insurance on this - while at the same time paying rent. I've gone through most of my savings now - while CERA announces today on their Facebook page that they have some 'things to see and do in Christchurch'. Something is terribly wrong and it starts at the top. Mr Brownlee is waaaay out of his depth and Mr Sutton may be a nice guy, but is not up to the task. The people of Christchurch are angry - we have been let down by our own Govt.


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