Holes in CERA's Christchurch investor survey

CERA claims widespread support for rebuild plan but few know much about it.

Christchurch residents are at odds with Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority 's claim of strong support for the government’s central city rebuild plan, based on a recent survey.

And two-thirds of surveyed businesses preferred to locate away from the central city.

The survey and accompanying media statement were published by Invest Christchurch, a unit within CERA which wants to attract investors to the city.

But the results also show residents have reservations and a bare majority think they actually know much about the plan.

The survey contained nine broad questions aimed at businesspeople, residents and people living in other centres. It made no queries about specific projects or the costs.

Nearly all respondents said they had heard about the plan.

The survey asked respondents if they supported the rebuild plan, based on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 most positive and 5 most negative).

Seventy four percent of businesspeople ticked the first two positive boxes, while 56% of residents ticked the first two positives boxes. Nationally, the figure was 52%.  

When asked if things were going in the right direction generally, business people were most bullish at 78%, while only 8% said things were going in the wrong direction and 14% were unsure.

Among residents, 61% thought the right direction was being taken, but 21% thought it was going in the wrong direction and 18% were unsure. Nationally, 51% thought the city was moving in the right direction, 38% the wrong direction, and 11% were unsure.

Fifty six percent of Christchurch business people said they knew a “fair amount” about the plan, 41% of residents said they knew a “fair amount”, while the figure for national respondents was 48%.

Twenty four percent of Christchurch businesspeople said they knew “not that much” about the plan, 37% of Christchurch residents agreed and 48% nationally.

Seventy three percent of Christchurch businesspeople think it is a good time to invest in the city, 61% of residents and 50% of respondents nationwide.

Most residents and most businesses surveyed agreed they were likely to remain in Christchurch.

But when it came to preferences to locate businesses, just 21% of business respondents said they would want to be located in the central city, with 66% preferring elsewhere and 13% unsure.

When the question was aimed at business people who knew “a lot” about the plan plus those who knew “a fair bit” about the rebuild, the number favouring the central city rose slightly to 26%.

The full UMR survey is available on the CERA web site on the section entitled Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

Another survey was conducted by The Press newspaper recently which showed most people generally favoured the government plan.

The biggest division was for the proposal to build a covered rugby stadium (rumoured to cost up to $500 million), with respondents almost split evenly.

Reservations about the plan are well canvased on a website called Cantabrians Unite.