Safety, and feeling safe from crime is important for individual and community health and wellbeing, and for perceptions of the city. Addressing public health risks and preparing for natural hazards will help safeguard our communities in the future.

Changes to our Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities

The Council approved a new 2020 strategic framework on 19 December 2019 and this is currently part of the consultation document on the annual plan.

Information on our revised Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities is currently being developed.

Under legislation, the Council has many public health-related obligations (e.g. disposal of wastewater, liquor licensing etc.). Christchurch is also vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, with the potential for significant harm to people and property. Along with Environment Canterbury, we have responsibility for the avoidance or mitigation of those hazards. Building community understanding is vital to addressing these issues.

What this means for our district

  • People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city.
  • Community facilities and public places are safe, healthy, and welcoming.
  • An increasing proportion of people participate in active recreation and sporting activities.
  • Equitable access to parks, open spaces, recreation facilities, and libraries across the city.
  • Christchurch is well prepared for natural hazards and can respond and recover quickly.
  • Increased public awareness and understanding of natural hazards and climate change, and their associated challenges.

How we are contributing

We are working across the district on a variety of local issues which promote safe and healthy communities. We aim to ensure equitable access to parks, open spaces, recreation facilities, and libraries across the city. Council is involved in the CAAP (Community Alcohol Action Plan), a partnership with police and the district health board to reduce alcohol harm.

We participate in Water Zone Committees(external link) which work with the communities and decision makers to care for communities and waterways.  Recently completed tsunami inundation modelling for Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbour will be used to help Civil Defence with emergency planning in Banks Peninsula. We are working with local communities in South New Brighton and South Shore to develop a regeneration strategy to help address challenges associated with natural hazards and climate change.

How you can help

Make sure you are well educated about natural hazard risks in your area. Get to know your neighbours so they have someone to call on if they need help. Encourage friends and whānau to lead healthy lifestyle by enjoying our parks, beaches and recreational facilities. Attend Council and Community Board meetings or Water Zone Committee meetings and have your say on local issues you care about.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Mixed result
Indeterminate Result

People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city after dark

While people feel safe in their own homes, the proportion has decreased since the earthquakes to 92% in 2018. 

People are starting to feel safer in their neighbourhoods since the earthquakes, up from 56 to 66%.

Just under half of respondents feel safe in the central city after dark, which is higher than before the earthquakes. Further information.

Positive result

Notifiable diseases for CDHB

Since 2008, notifications for selected notifiable diseases have averaged 1300 annually. For the period 2004 to 2007, the average was 2000 per year. Further information.

Negative result

Accidental injuries

Hospital discharges for non-fatal accidental injuries increased from 860 per 100,000 people in 2004 to a peak of 1067 in 2011.  It has since averaged around 1040 per 100,000 people per year. Further information.

Negative result


An increasing proportion of people participate in active recreation and sporting activities

People are doing less physical activity per week. The proportion of people undertaking activity at least five times per week fell from 59 to 44% between 2006 and 2018. Further information.

Mixed result
Indeterminate Result
Preparedness for emergency In case of an emergency, 85% of Christchurch residents have 3 days of food stored; 75% have secured heavy household items that might fall; and 62% have 3 days of water at their homes. Further information.
Awareness of climate change The majority of people are concerned about climate change, with only 2% who do not believe it is a threat. The main concerns are sea level rise and extreme weather events. Further information.

People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city

Most people in Christchurch feel safe or very safe in their own homes after dark, with 92% of respondents reporting this in the 2018 Quality of Life survey. This has remained at 92% since 2012, and in 2018 was the same as the national proportion.

Prior to the earthquakes, the proportion who felt safe at home was around 94% and fell to 90% in 2012, the lowest in the time series.

In 2018, two thirds of people reported feeling safe in their neighbourhood after dark. This is comparable to feelings of local safety prior to the earthquakes, and in 2018 was similar to the national proportion (65%).

Fewer people feel safe or very safe in the central city after dark, compared with in their homes or neighbourhoods. Before the earthquakes, this averaged 34% of respondents, before falling to a low of 31% in 2016. (Note in 2012, due to the effects of the earthquakes, Christchurch respondents were asked to think about their main business/shopping location that they currently used, rather than the central city).

The continuing rebuild of the central city and increased activity has resulted in 44% of people feeling safe there after dark in 2018, which is higher than before the earthquakes. This is lower than the national proportion of 48% who feel safe in their local city centre.

Notifiable diseases for Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB)

Of the notifiable diseases(external link) reported to the Canterbury District Health Board which are food or water borne - and unlikely to be primarily associated with overseas travel - campylobacteriosis was the most common. Before 2008, there was an average of 1600 cases per year in Canterbury; since 2008, the average per year has declined to 791. 

There was a peak in 2012, which could be related to post-earthquake conditions. Between 2013 and 2018, the number of notified campylobacteriosis cases has remained stable at around 770, with an increase to 864 in 2017.

The other main notifiable diseases have not shown any increasing or decreasing trends, except for yersiniosis. Since 2012, the number of yersiniosis cases has almost doubled to an average of 166 cases per year.

Accidental injuries 

Hospital discharges for unintentional or accidental injuries in Christchurch show an increase in the rate of non-fatal injuries that result in hospitalisation. There are differences by age.

Rates for children have shown a decline of 20% since 2000, from around 1000 injuries per 100,000 people to around 800. 

Working age group rates (15-64 years) have generally fluctuated between 600 and 750 per year. The rate declined until the early 2000s but has since increased by around 15%.

The over 65 year age group's rate has almost doubled between 1990 and 2016; from 1500 to 2900 injuries per 100,000 people. These rates are adjusted for the number of people in each age group, so this is independent of the number of people in this age group. 

We cannot tell if these injuries are in public places or in people's homes. The increase may be due to the aging of this part of the population, with more people in the older age groups (for example, over 80 years of age).

Frequency of physical activity

The Quality of Life survey asks respondents how active they have been in the last seven days. Since 2006, the number of days per week that people do physical activity has been declining. The proportion of those who undertake physical activity at least 5 times per week fell by a quarter, from 59% to 44%. 

The proportion of people doing no physical activity throughout the week reached 10% in 2018, the highest in the time series dating back to 2006. This was slightly lower than the New Zealand figure of 11%.

45% of respondents were active for between 1 and 4 days of the week in 2018, which is down from 50% in 2016.

The average number of days of physical activity per resident has declined by 19%, from 4.8 days per week in 2006 to 3.9% in 2018. This decline is consistent with the decline at the national level.

Residents' level of preparedness for emergencies

In 2019, in preparation for a natural disaster, 85% of Christchurch residents had 3 days of food stored, 75% had secured heavy household items that might fall, and 62% had 3 days of water. 

Fewer residents (55%) stated they had an up to date emergency plan.

Compared with before the earthquakes, a higher proportion of people have 3 days worth of water stored and slightly fewer have 3 days worth of stored food.

Awareness of climate change

The 2018 Life in Christchurch survey found that around 80% of respondents were concerned about climate change. Around 68% were very concerned about climate change and believed it is a real threat, while a further 12% were concerned but believed other issues were more important right now.

10% of respondents were confused about climate change due to conflicting views and information available, while 5% were not too concerned as they believed that solutions would be found. Only 2.3% did not believe climate change is a threat.

Sea level rise and increased extreme weather events were the main challenges that people believed would impact on Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, with two thirds of respondents reporting these impacts.

Just under half of respondents (46%) thought climate change would result in increased natural disasters, such as floods, wildfires, hurricanes, droughts etc., and one quarter thought coastal erosion would be an impact of climate change.

Less than 1% of respondents believed that climate change will not have an impact on Christchurch or Banks Peninsula.

Further information

Please email for further information.

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