Reserve Bank puts Christchurch rebuild back

9:40 pm on 27 January 2012

The Reserve Bank is now forecasting the rebuild of quake-hit Canterbury will not reach a peak until early 2013.

Up until now, the bank had been predicting large-scale construction work would move into high gear at the end of 2012.

However, in his first public address of the year, bank governor Alan Bollard said that because of the earthquakes just before Christmas, insurance companies remain unwilling to reinsure new buildings against quakes.

Dr Bollard told a Christchurch business audience this would further delay the rebuild.

He said, however, that a delay could help reduce the bottleneck of inflationary pressures normally experienced when construction companies undertake large projects.

He says it also gives the companies more time to hire labour and to buy or manufacture building materials.

Dr Bollard also told his audience the New Zealand economy has the resilience to weather the twin shocks of the European debt crisis and the earthquakes.

He said economic events abroad are having an impact on export prices, currency and funding of New Zealand's foreign debt.

However, buffers were in place to ensure the banking system has adequate access to funding, meaning the country is better prepared than it was before the 2008 global financial crisis.

Dr Bollard said New Zealand was also in the fortunate position of being able to rely on the insurance sector to fund most rebuilding of Christchurch following the earthquakes.