Christchurch over-50s stay put as population drift slows
DIANE Phillips has sole charge of her Christchurch business as well as her parents, a partner and grown son still living there – so she’s not going anywhere.
The property manager is typical of her over-50s age group, which the latest statistics show has increased in the city.
The number of over 50s has increased by 2700 or 2.3% largely due to people moving out of their 40s and into the age group.
The estimates also indicated that people aged 50 and over were less likely than other groups to have left Christchurch during the two years.
“Some of the homes I look after were red zoned after the February earthquake and I’ve had to complete a new batch of EQC claims after each major quake.
The only upside is that I’ve become more familiar with the process. There are some properties that are permanently off my books now.”
Her own home was deemed uninhabitable in February last year and the June 2011 quakes occurred while she was in the midst of moving office.
“It’s been a rough old time but one good thing is that I now have more stable tenancies.
“People are less inclined to move around and there are fewer properties available in Christchurch overall.”
The birth of her nephew Cairan (pictured left with Ms Phillips) has given her a another reason to remain.
While the Christchurch population decreased by 3.6% between June 2010 and June 2012, recently released figures from Statistics NZ show that the number of people leaving has decreased markedly from last year.
In the year ending June 2011, an estimated 8900 people left the area in contrast to 4600 departures for the year ending June 2012.
Canterbury University lecturer, Alan Wright 51 lives in Lyttelton with his partner and their nine year old daughter.
Dr Wright (right) says they have no intention of leaving the area and it’s not only about commitments.
“We are staying in Christchurch because, even though the earthquake created problems for us which are yet to be resolved, things weren’t serious enough to leave the city.”
“I would have considered doing that if the house fell down or we were so frightened it was no good for our mental health and we were not able to function properly.
I probably would have felt the same if I was younger than 50 although of course I’d have fewer attachments.”
Statistics New Zealand says that the patterns of population change have to be seen in the context of the nation’s overall population growth.
It currently stands at 0.6 % which is the lowest since 2001.