What were the economic impacts of the Christchurch earthquake

The massive earthquake in Christchurch in February 2011 destroyed or damaged a large proportion of the city centre, including many historic buildings. The death toll was 185, and thousands were evacuated from their homes. Given that it was one of the most damaging earthquakes to hit New Zealand, economic impacts were significant and widespread. Many commercial and residential buildings sustained damage; commercial businesses were closed due to building damage or closure orders; a huge number of businesses were forced to move to new premises; there was a temporary shortage of accommodation; some firms were not able to operate.

The economic impact of the Christchurch earthquakes is estimated to have reduced GDP by $15 billion, which is 10% of New Zealand’s GDP at the time

The Christchurch earthquakes were two major earthquakes that struck the South Island of New Zealand within a short space of time, happening less than five years apart. The first earthquake was a 6.3 magnitude quake that hit Canterbury on September 4th 2010, and the second was a 6.3 magnitude quake that hit Canterbury on February 22nd 2011.

The impacts of the earthquakes are still being felt today as people try to rebuild their lives in many different ways. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has been set up to help people rebuild their homes after they have been destroyed by these natural disasters. CERA has been providing financial assistance to people who are struggling financially due to the destruction caused by these earthquakes.

They also provide employment opportunities for those who need work because their house has been destroyed or damaged beyond repair and cannot be lived in until it has been rebuilt or repaired properly.

The earthquakes caused a drop in New Zealand exports

  • The main impacts of the earthquakes were felt in the Canterbury region, which makes up about 1% of New Zealand’s GDP. The earthquake caused significant damage across the city and surrounding areas, including liquefaction, building collapse and infrastructure damage.
  • In the year immediately following the earthquake, retail sales fell by 14% and tourism declined by 24%. Insurance claims amounted to $15 billion NZD (around $US11 billion). This meant that many businesses couldn’t afford to rebuild their premises or replace stock, resulting in further economic losses for those businesses.

The overall impact on employment was very small, largely due to Canterbury’s high earthquake-related unemployment being offset by job gains in other regions of New Zealand

The Canterbury earthquake had a significant impact on the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) and on its contribution to New Zealand’s total GDP. The earthquake caused damage to many buildings, disrupted economic activity such as retailing and tourism, damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and forced thousands of people from their homes.

It also prompted a large response from government agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs), which carried out emergency repairs and rebuilding work. In the year following the September 2010 earthquake, Canterbury’s GDP decreased by 2.7% compared with the previous year.

However, when calculated as an average annual rate over the past three years (to take into account seasonal variations), Canterbury’s GDP has grown by 3%. This means that despite the impact of the earthquakes on GDP, there has been no significant long-term negative effect on Canterbury’s economy in terms of output or employment growth.

The cost of rebuilding Christchurch will be between $40 and $50 billion, depending on how much land is repaired and rebuilt on

The Christchurch Quake was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred at 4:35pm on 22 February 2011, near the city centre of Christchurch, New Zealand. The quake killed 185 people and caused widespread damage across Christchurch, including the destruction of many buildings in the central business district (CBD) and suburban areas.

The earthquakes were shallowly rooted in the upper North Island Fault System and ruptured a large portion of this system over a length of approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi), with an average slip of 3–6 metres (10–20 ft). The epicentre was located near Darfield at a depth of 5 kilometres (3 miles).

An estimated 200,000 people left Christchurch after the first earthquake in February 2011, reducing the city’s population from 400,000 to around 200,000

The Christchurch earthquake has had a huge impact on the city and its economy. The property market has almost completely collapsed with over 40% of homes being sold at auction. The average price of an apartment in the central city has dropped from $500,000 to $350,000 since late 2010.

The economic cost of the earthquakes is estimated at around $40 billion by Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ). This includes insured losses of around $27 billion for residential properties, commercial properties and infrastructure damage. It’s estimated that nearly 75% of jobs in Christchurch have been lost since before the earthquakes hit.

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce said it expects unemployment to rise above 10% in 2012 as businesses struggle to attract workers who are unwilling to move or relocate to Christchurch after the earthquakes.


Looking ahead to the uncertain future, people may be looking back to the Christchurch earthquake as an example of how New Zealanders can work and live together effectively, build resilience and bounce back quickly. It could be a reason why we’re going to look at earthquake design as part of our business planning in the future ; after all, we don’t know when and where it’s going to happen next but there is something we do know,. it will happen again.