Cantabrians can expect to see more money in their pay packets
this year as confidence in the region's economy surges, says
The latest Westpac McDermott Miller Regional Economic
Confidence survey shows the number of households expecting
positive economic times for Canterbury rose from 36 per cent
in September to 41 per cent in December.
Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive
Peter Townsend said: "Confidence is building along with the
rebuild of Christchurch and the enormous economic impact
While that impact is being lead by the construction sector,
Mr Townsend said it will flow through the rest of the
"Fletchers have paid out over $900 million in wages to
contractors ... that's close to $1 billion cash going into
our community and that goes around. That goes to houses, that
goes to supermarkets, to shops," he said.
Mr Townsend said Cantabrians could expect to see wage
increases and more economic stability. "They'll have more
certainty when planning for their economic futures," he said.
"For those in business they will see a higher demand for
Mr Townsend said members of Christchurch's "casual workforce"
should also benefit from improving economic times.
He said employees who had dropped out of the rebuild-centered
workforce due to post-earthquake delays in work would soon
see more job opportunities.
"It's good news all round for households, but the bad news is
we will see pressures on labour resources and human resources
and that will risk cost increases," said Mr Townsend.
At the end of the day, the consumer will bear the brunt of
such increases, he said.
"Not only will there be wage increases but there will be
increases in the prices of materials as we go through
resource constraints, so that will lead to price increases.
We have to make sure we grow the economy and avoid this."
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway
agreed there will be a "spillover effect" from construction
to other areas of Canterbury's economy.
"If there's a lot of demand for labour you should expect to
see wages rise," he said.
However, Mr Conway said much of the talk among Canterbury
employers about wages had so far focused on changes "in the
Westpac senior economist Felix Delbrck said: "The earthquake
repair and rebuild effort is now clearly underway, and while
parts of the region are still struggling, on most indicators
the Canterbury economy has been steadily marching upwards in
the last six months."
Mr Townsend agreed, saying "the march will continue".
"The simple answer is we've suffered an incredible enormous
loss but our community is going to be receiving an enormous
Mr Townsend predicted a "patchy" year for the retail sector
but said this area held up well over Christmas.
He said Canterbury's economic confidence will continue to
increase, almost regardless of what happens in the rest of
"That's because we've got our funding for the rebuild
basically locked down," he said.
Economic confidence in Canterbury is the highest it has been
since December 2009.
The national average of households expecting prosperity for
their region is a comparatively lowly 13 per cent.
The survey was conducted from December 1 - 10, 2012.
- By Alex Mason of The Star