Current economic models used to assess the impact of disruptions on urban centres are not well calibrated to model the impacts of disruption on central government services. However, disruption to critical government services can have cascade impacts throughout the economy, ranging from disruption to social welfare services, tax/revenue collection, and social services (education, health, justice), to disruption of professional and other services that support government function. Even a small change in government productivity could have a resulting large economic impact.
Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is particularly susceptible to disruption by a major earthquake event. This project looks at the impact of the 2016 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake on central government productivity in Wellington. The project looks at the impact of the event through a series of case studies and data analysis.
The research team examined the productivity impact of the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake on four New Zealand Government agencies based in Wellington.
- All the organisations in the study temporarily lost access to their buildings. Some were required to relocate staff for extended periods of time.
- Infrastructure outages in Wellington were limited and did not result in significant disruptions for Government agencies in the study.
- Every organisation experienced reductions in both input (i.e., labour hours) and output. However, all four organisations reached ‘business as usual’ levels of productivity within days or weeks of the earthquake.
- Results from Stage 3 of the project, using the Measuring the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure Tool (MERIT) to estimate the potential economic losses from government disruptions following an Alpine Fault earthquake scenario, showed a minimal impact on New Zealand's GDP.
Senior Research Consultant
Resilient Organisations Ltd
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Lessons from the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake: Understanding the Impacts of a Potential Alpine Fault Earthquake on Government Productivity in Wellington
Kaylene Sampson, Joanne Stevenson, Erica Seville, Nicola Smith, Garry McDonald, Morag Ayers, Charlotte Brown, April 2018.
This is the final report of the project with the results of Stage 3 of the project, where outputs of Stages One and Two were incorporated into the Measuring the Economics of Resilient Infrastructure Tool (MERIT) to estimate the potential economic losses to government disruptions following an Alpine Fault earthquake scenario.
Kaylene Sampson, Joanne Stevenson, Erica Seville, Nicola Smith, Garry MacDonald, Morag Ayers, Charlotte Brown. October 2017.
This report summarises the initial findings of the project. In this first portion of the project, we examined the productivity impacts of the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake on four New Zealand Government agencies based in Wellington.