Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

This page is a mix of useful and obscure info, usually stuff I come across in the course of looking for something else; perhaps it helps give a bit of perspective on where Christchurch fits in the world.

Needless to say an ongoing project........

mostly not updated - except comparing Wellington region and Canterbury's equivalent size potential commuting zone  SEE BELOW  (and anything else in BLUE)

Canterbury STATS

Population of Canterbury Districts at last Census 2006

Selwyn - 34,000
- Rolleston 3820
- West Melton (area) 5613
- Darfield 1,362 [2001 census]

Christchurch City -348,000
Waimakariri Distrct 43,000
- Rangiora  11,871
- Kaiapoi  7,410
- Woodend - 2673
- Pegasus [less than 1000?]
Hurunui District 10,476
- Amberly 1,303

Ashburton District 26,000
- Ashburton (town)
- Methven 1,326

South Canterbury 42,867
- Timaru 27,200
- Temuka  4,044
- Geraldine 2,244
- pleasant Point 1170
- Waimate (area) 7,206

Greater Christchurch  (City and immediately adjacent urban areas) is now (2010) said to be about 390,000.
Regional authorities expect this to grow by about 21% in the next 25 years (c 480,000 by 2030)

Timaru's Population has been virtually static at around 27,000 for 30 years, though there has been a slight increase in rural population. Following the Q2-22 earthquake that devastated Christchurch in Feb 2011 it  was  reported Timaru's population swelled by 20% or 7000 presidents - Christchurch people escaping relentless aftershocks by staying in 160km south of Christchurch in Timaru.

Christchurch is ranked 980th largest city in world according to MongaBay...given the complexity of assessing city population versus metropolitan area population versus urban area population this can only be assumed to be roughly correct, but is near enough.

= Canterbury Region Total  (2006) 521,000

Christchurch Density

The figures may be a little dated but I suspect the relativity has not changed much.

Population density in 2001 (residents per square kilometre on average) Auckland 989; Wellington; 765; Christchurch 549; Los Angeles 3114; Vancouver 5252; San Francisco 6423 [from Massey News, University Paper Feb 2007]

- Indeed more up to date from Stats NZ - Auckland urban area 1086 sqkm - density 1247 residents per sq km; Christchurch urban area 452 sq km - density 863 residents per sq km.

Christchurch Recently built, proposed and being built Housing Subdivisions and relative size

Prestons ..............,2500 homes
Wigram: ----------2200 homes
Pegasus: -----------1800 homes
Northwood ------ 1200 homes
Masham ..............1100 homes
Lincoln: ------------1000 sections
Aidanfield: --------635 sections
Tumara Park: -----560 sections
Noble Gardens--  -300 sections
Linden Grove -----186 sections
Source The Press August 8 2008

A note on "Metropolitan area"

Urban area - in recent years Christchurch City was enlarged to encompass the adjoining Banks Peninsula area, an area with less than 9000 residents. As a result only 12% of Christchurch land area is zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use. In any area/population stats it is important to make sure whether total area or urban ("built up") area only is being discussed/compared.

Metropolitan area typically means all areas within easy commuting distance of a central hub city (typically within 40 km). NZ in Tranzit uses the expression "Metropop" to simplify and avoid confusion with the area administered by the core city - whose name such as Portland or San Francisco is commonly used to describe the urban conglomeration. Core cities often (especially in USA) can be far smaller.

NEW February 2018 

Comparing the potential rail commuter base of Wellington region and Canterbury region 2017 and 2043

Noted - Obviously only a portion of population will commute regularly, but this is not confined purely to the adult working population - others include tertiary and university students, and secondary level students (particularly  of religious or specialty schools).

According to Statistics New Zealand * (pending the next census results)  55% of South Islanders (612,000 people) were estimated to live in Canterbury as at 30 June 2017. In comparison Wellington Region which extends north as far as Otaki, and Eketahuna in the Wairarapa had a population of 513,900 in June 2017. 

As Canterbury covers a larger area than Wellington region, it can be argued a portion of the Canterbury population is never very likely to commute on a daily basis to Christchurch. 

Narrowing the potential commuter base  down to a circumference the same distance as Masterton is from Wellington (almost exactly 100 kilometres) takes us from Christchurch to Tinwald, on the southern edge of Ashburton. This essentially removes Timaru district 43,929 and Waimate district 7,206 and McKenzie District [less than] 5000 from the equation, i.e. . about 10% of total.

Leaving aside the one commuter train a day from Palmerston North to Wellington - 141 km -  (The Capital Connection) the comparable broad sweep of potential commuters within 1 hour 40 minutes from the urban centre (as Masterton is from Wellington) applied to Canterbury covers a population base of 556,000 people.- over 40,000 more than in the Wellington region.

Canterbury is also expected to grown in population over the next 25 years by 170,000, to 730,000 total, as compared to the expectation population growth in Wellington region of 65,000, to about 580,000. 

Applying the previous logic that around 10% of the Canterbury population (Timaru, Waimate and McKenzie Districts) will be outside significant commuting range that creates a greater Christchurch commuter basin of 660,000 - 80,000 more potential commuters than Wellington region by 2043.

Work, Wealth and Income

One third of the NZ population above 15 years is not employed; of the other two thirds 23% of the workforce works 0-29 hours a week (NZ stats) and (logically) either starts or finishes work outside conventional work start/finish patterns

Speaking of the $8.5 billion cost to Government of the Christchurch Earthquakes, Minister of Finance Bill English told the Wellington Chamber of Commerce ''It sounds a lot, but New Zealand's annual GDP is around $200 billion a year; the Government spends around $70 billion a year; and it has assets of over $220 billion,'' English said.  Stuff Newsite 12/4/2011

According to Wikipedia sites New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product per capita is $32,000 and Australia's GDP per capita is $55,000 - without the vast mineral wealth and large internal economy of Australia New Zealand has little likelihood  of catching up or overtaking Australia in wealth or wages.

A "Mainlander" (weekend) article in The Press quoted an economist as saying New Zealand would need 14 companies the size of Fonterra (by far our biggest company) to generate equivalent wealth.

Labour Force Statistics for Christchurch (last census 2006)

As percentage of population 15 years and over

Employed Full time* 134,286  (47.5% of pop compared to NZ average 48.4%
Employed part-time** 43.806  (15.5% of pop; 14.4%)
Unemployed 8,478 (3.00%; 3.4%)
Not in labour force 90,102 (31.9%; 30.4%)
Unidentifiable 6,096 (2.2%;3.4%)

*Full time 30 plus hours per week
** Part-time 1-29 hours per week
Note; some totals may vary slightly due to rounding up

Noted; In base public transport terms (the journey to work;the journey from work) there is no difference between full time and part-time status; however a factor may be a higher perecentage of part-time workers are on lower incomes; and/or do not have access to a car to travel tofro  work (eg in working couples) so the need for public transport is greater amongst part-time workers, even if not matched as well by public transport. It also would be interesting to know hours of work in part-time workers (what percentage of total are in weekend or evenings, what percentage start of finish between 7am-5pm weekdays etc.
in 2006 13% of the Christchurch population was over 65%; by 2031 it is expected to be 23%

Canterbury - transport

Traffic volumes in Christchurch are projected to increase by 40-50% by 2021 and 320% by 2041 according to the Urban Development strategy documents. (can anyone explain to this blogster why a traffic volume should increase so way way beyond population growth ?? I mean how many cars/trips can any one person/family own/take in one day?)

The Main North Road at Belfast cariers 37,000 vehicles a day, including many heavy vehicles. according to the NZ Transport Agency. Most of the traffic moving from here on to or off Johns Road is travelling to Hornby or the Airport, with only 10% continuing south.

The Ferrymead Bridge (being strengthened and expanded in width) carries about 30,000 vehicles a day (2010) with annual growth in traffic about 3%

Four laning Planned with dates proposed in 2009 by Christchurch City Council [dates may be effected by earthquake recovery patterns]
Hills Road 2014-15;
Northcote Road 2014-15;
Cranford Street 2015-16

New Zealand Transport Agency is planning/building the following projects

Christchurch southern motorway stage 1
Christchurch southern motorway stage 1
Christchurch Northern Motorway
West Belfast By-pass
Western Corridor upgrade
Russley Rd /Memorial Avenue overpass

Christchurch public Transport
Christchurch public transport usage  -per capita - according to CCC City plan monitoring document averaged 46 trips per resident per year in 2010 (population base used included Rolleston and Lincoln but not Rangiora). This figure had not moved much in the immediate years before the two major earthquakes in late 2010/early2011 impact on bus patronage yet to be measured.

Bus use fell by 50% in the six months following the earthquake according to The Press August 11 2011. Arguably a considerable amount of this loss (far in excess of percentile loss in population; businesses destroyed etc) was caused by the controlling authorities (Christchurch City Council; Canterbury regional Council (ECAN) transit wing Metro) failure to quickly re-establish an adequate through route system with a single section of roading set aside to allow transfers between all services; this in turn led to the dramatic cutting of evening services, most 15 minute services reduced to 30 minutes; the failure to create substitute services (by shuttle van or chartered taxi van services etc) for significant areas where full routes were suspended; and the failure to make any effort to continuously monitor, measure, and detail timetable patterns leaving many patrons with no clear idea when buses would pass through their area or if a transfer was feasible.

A system of twin exchange points, without any advertised arrival times, connected by a 15 minute shuttle service, led to journeys to work and elsewhere requiring transfers taking up to 2 hours in each direction.

A 2007 consultation report "Christchurch-Rolleston Transportation Study" found 9% [of the people who provided feedback] wanted rail to have a greater role in transport networks

Disabled persons form a consistent sector of public transport patronage.

In a study was carried out by Statistics NZ " Disability and Travel and Transport in New Zealand in 2006"

This New Zealand Disability Survey Short examined trips on public transport asking;  How many disabled people have difficulty using public transport for short trips?

An estimated 142,400 disabled adults and 41,700 disabled children used public transport for short trips in the previous 12 months. This was 26 percent of all disabled adults and 46 percent of all disabled children.

Of those who used public transport for short trips, an estimated 12,400 disabled adults and 2,500 disabled children experienced difficulties with this public transport because of their condition or health problem. As well, a further 36,600 disabled adults and 3,500 disabled children were completely prevented from using public transport for short trips because of difficulties they would have experienced using public transport related to their condition or health problem.

The three most common difficulties with public transport experienced by disabled adults related to getting on or off, standing in the vehicle while it was moving, and getting to or finding the stop.

Public buses

How many disabled people live in a place with a bus service? Sixty-five percent of disabled adults and 75 percent of disabled children had a bus service in their area.

How many disabled people use buses for short trips? An estimated 116,100 disabled adults and 36,500 disabled children used public buses for one or more short trips in the previous 12 months. This was 22 percent of all disabled adults and 41 percent of all disabled children.

(NZ in Tranzit - Extrapolating that 11% of these live people in Christchurch approx 16,000 disabled adults and children in Canterbury used a Christchurch public bus in the last 12 months)

An estimated 17,800 disabled adults and 9,100 disabled children used public buses for short trips every day or almost every day. This was 3 percent of all disabled adults and 10 percent of all disabled children.

(NZ in Tranzit - Extrapolating that 11% of these live people in Christchurch approx 3000 disabled adults and children uses Christchurch buses daily or almost every day).

Of the disabled adults who never made short trips by bus, 20 percent indicated they would be prepared to use buses in future if they were made easier for disabled people to use. This was an estimated 81,300 disabled adults. (Christchurch

Taxis and the Total Mobility Scheme

How often do disabled people use taxis? (NZ figures only)
Thirty-one percent of disabled adults and 15 percent of disabled children used taxis at least once in the previous 12 months for short trips. An estimated 7,000 or 1 percent of all disabled adults used taxis every day or almost every day.

How many disabled people have heard of the Total Mobility Scheme? The Total Mobility Scheme provides disabled people with vouchers for discounted taxi fares. At the time of the 2006 Disability Survey, parents/caregivers of 22 percent of disabled children and 34 percent of disabled adults had heard of the Total Mobility Scheme. An estimated 21,400 disabled adults had used Total Mobility Scheme vouchers in the previous 12 months. This was 4 percent of all disabled adults.

General and Global Stats and facts

Busway capacity 
Busways can carry up to 12,000 passengers per hour in each direction, whereas a general traffic lane with an average urban bus utilisation can carry a maximum of about 1,600 people per hour.
According to Translink, in Brisbane.

Longest urban bus route in Australasia

The longest urban bus route in Australasia is the 901 SmartBus route in Melbourne, an Orbital route [possibly partly inspired by success of The Orbiter in Christchurch] which travels 115km, has 232 bus stops along the way and takes 4 hours 23 minutes to traverse entirely.

Real costs

Free parking? In an over-crowded world where resources are stained there is absolutely no free lunches. Whether it clean water to drink, or fresh air to breath or a even path under our feet, everything but EVERYTHING must be paid for by somebody. Due to the car-centric bias of our society we occasionally see signs saying "Free Parking" - an absurd lie. Whether the parking is public, in the mall or outside our employment you can guarantee somebody pays for it, in taxes, local taxes (NZ=rates), factored into the price of goods etc.

According to planner Julie Genter, a specialist in transport planning and parking management,  co-author of the 2008 New Zealand Transport Agency report "Managing transport challenges as Oil Prices Rise" the real cost to New Zealand of "free" parking is over $10 billion.'
Chance to fix skewed transport policy The Press  A13 11 April 2011

Beyond Mythology and Lazy Thinking

Satanic mills and other cities! "The average New Yorker produces just 30% of the greehouse emissions of the average US citizen" according to a study by David Dodman who examined the carbon footprint of the individual cities of the world.
Quoted "In Escape to the City" (Cover story "Urban Utopis - Why the city is greener than the country") in New Scientist Vol 208 No 2785 5 Nov 2010


"Even in a globalized age, 90% of the world's people will never leave the country in which they are born" according to Parag Khama in a "Time" magazine article on changes in the world [Time 22 March 2010]

It took over 30 years for cars to get moving! "The gasoline-powered car was invented in the 1880s but mass automobile use had to wait until the 1920s in the USA and the 1950s and 60s in Europe and Japan" [ according to Micheal Lind in "The Boring Age" Time Magazine 22 March 2010]

According to Fatih Birol, Turkish born head of  the International Energy Agency, the world's premier energy monitoring body today 1.6 billion people, that is 40 % of the global population, have no access to electric power. 

Beijing has 67,000 taxis

The Sydney harbour Bridge, begun in 1923, required the demolition of 800 houses

How much "human energy" is contained in one barrel of oil? It is calculated that one barrel [46.4 gallons] delivers the equivalent  of 23,200 hours of human work output. 

It has also been said that in the developed world every individual gets services and aid to living equivalent to having 150 full time slaves.