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CCC Draft Long Term Plan (LTP)
Leeann Watson24 April 20243 min read

The Latest Word by Leeann Watson | 24 APRIL

The Christchurch City Council has a huge role to play in what should be a golden decade for Christchurch and Canterbury. To provide some observations on how they do that, last week we sent in the Business Canterbury submission on behalf of our members and the business community on the Council’s Draft Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024-34. The plan sets out the Council’s operating, spending and investment intentions for the next 10 years.

 Apologies in advance for the length of this issue of Latest Word, however given the record number of submissions received by the Council on their LTP, I wanted to provide you with an overview of our positioning and key messages that make up our submission, reflecting what we have heard from our members -

 Cutting costs not services:
  • The Council must be focused on ensuring we remain an affordable city, supported by high-quality and efficient services. While the draft LTP discusses costs being high and out of the Council’s control, it is not alone. 
  • Every business in Christchurch has been impacted by the same inflationary pressures and rising costs that the Council has, yet few would be comfortable, nor get away with raising prices by 14% right now. They would find that customers, who are also facing those pressures would simply choose to go elsewhere or no longer be customers. The Council, however, is in a position where customers do not have a choice, and with that comes a responsibility to ensure that complacency does not set in around cost control.
  • This leads to the point that cutting costs and cutting services are not the same thing. Much has been said in the draft LTP about ‘getting back to the basics,’ but unfortunately, this has been a line used many times and with a focus on external rather than internal ‘basics,’ without much success or obvious impact.
  • Like businesses, the first focus for the Council should be improving efficiencies, removing bureaucracy, and ensuring that staffing levels and capability are aligned with efficiently delivering core services and driving Christchurch forward into the 2030s. 

Transparency and clarity:
  • Taking that lens of working on efficiencies and mitigating rising costs, this should also be balanced with more transparency and clearer accountability on the delivery of outcomes and improved levels of service. 
  • Few targets, measures or strategies in the plan properly inform ratepayers about the level of service and ambition required to grow. For example, we might expect that over time a measure of Council investment activity could be that GDP per capita grows by 5% per year, while house prices stay at or below 10% of the national median house price, and the average commute time remains 20 minutes and so on.
  • In its current form, there are only vague targets like being a ‘thriving, prosperous city” – but no real detail on how they plan on doing that, and more importantly they are going to monitor and measure their progress and success.

A Canterbury context:
  • Another important point we made was that Christchurch is the main centre in Canterbury. While not required to by law, careful consideration should be given to ensure that decisions made in Christchurch are not at the expense of wider Canterbury but support it to thrive. 
  • All opportunities to collaborate and share value across Hurunui, Waimakariri, Selwyn and Mid Canterbury should be considered as part of the leadership role Christchurch City Council has in our region. What is good for Canterbury is good for Christchurch and vice versa.

 I would encourage you to read our submission and provide any feedback before our in-person submission to Councillors in early May. 


Ngā mihi,

Leeann Watson | Chief Executive


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Leeann Watson

Creating inspirational leadership and a culture of innovation for Business Canterbury and being a raving enthusiast for the city, region and our business community.