30 November 2022

Businesses demand urgent response on Canterbury crime and antisocial behaviour

As the frequency and severity of crime and antisocial behaviour throughout the Canterbury region increases at pace, 80 businesses from throughout the region have signed a joint letter, coordinated by the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, requesting an urgent response from Government. 


“We are growing increasingly concerned at the incidences of crime and antisocial behaviour impacting businesses and residents throughout Christchurch and the Canterbury region,” says Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Leeann Watson. 


“We, nor the 80 businesses who have signed the joint-letter to the Government, can no longer sit by idly when businesses and residents are being menaced by a continual stream of smash and grabs leaving staff in a constant state of fear, antisocial behaviour spreading throughout the city centre, and opportunistic and brutal assaults leading to serious harm and sadly, recently, multiple loss of lives. 


“The Government’s response to this very serious and complex situation has been insufficient. While there has been a recent announcement to provide some support for businesses in Auckland, Hamilton, and Bay of Plenty, it does not address the core issue here in Canterbury, and there seems to be a lack of concern for noncriminal but antisocial behaviour that may ultimately lead to criminal activity down the track.


“We recognise that there are a number of complex factors that contribute to the causes of criminal activity, and that ongoing challenges such as the truancy crisis, increased cost of living and the lingering effects of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns are facilitating an environment where these actions are occurring at an increased rate. 


“However, the focus on being kind and continually expressing that the issue is complex is no longer enough.  We need to see action. Government must ensure there are sufficient resources and changes to ensure those in roles of authority can act and that there are immediate consequences for those who commit these hideous crimes.  We would also like to see a review of the thresholds being applied to what is considered non-criminal activity that at this point, carries little if any consequences but does have a significant impact on the safety and security of both the business community, residents and visitors to our region.” 



A copy of the joint-letter can be found here and may be reproduced in full.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,700 member organisations that represent over 75,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.