Business News Feed

Orion launches public EV chargers in partnership with Christchurch City Council

Orion, the central Canterbury electricity network company, today opened the first of its public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. A fast charger and a standard charger were opened in Little River on Banks Peninsula.

The Little River charging stations have been installed by Orion, in partnership with the Christchurch City Council. Orion is planning to roll-out more chargers across its network over the coming months.

A fast charger typically charges an EV in around 20 to 30 minutes, whilst a standard charger will take a few hours to fully charge a car. Usually EVs are not charged to full capacity at public spots, but rather simply ‘topped up’, with full charging occurring at home overnight using cheaper night rate electricity. EV owners need to open an account at to be able to use the chargers.

“EV technology is improving all the time and given their many benefits they’re set to make a strong contribution to our transport needs, said Orion Chief Executive, Rob Jamieson. “We want to encourage that future and facilitate our customer’s ability to benefit from EVs. To do that we need to give people the confidence to buy EVs by providing them with places to charge their vehicles away from their homes”, said Mr Jamieson.

Public charging stations help drivers overcome what is known as ‘range anxiety’, as electric vehicles on the market today have a range of 100km to 400km. The need to provide strategically placed public charging stations to help overcome this range anxiety is a vision shared by the Christchurch City Council.

Christchurch Deputy Mayor, Andrew Turner, said the Christchurch City Council wants EVs to be part of the region’s transport future, and the Council was very pleased to partner with Orion to provide a public charging station.

“EVs offer a number of benefits to the city, improving air quality, reducing emissions and reducing the reliance on imported fuel. To help promote EV uptake, we have agreed with Orion on a further five sites for EV charging stations, and we’ll be considering more potential locations in the future”, said Mr Turner.

The fast charging station will be free to use until the end of January 2017, so that EV drivers can drive to Akaroa and back in the Xmas holidays at no cost.  From February 2017 a typical charge will cost about $10.  The standard charging station will be free to use for at least one year.

For the standard chargers, in line with New Zealand guidelines, cables aren’t attached.  EV owners need to have their own cable which is vehicle specific.

Those interested in learning more about electric vehicles or Orion’s EV charging stations can visit its website at

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China’s largest online outbound travel agency to open storefront in Queenstown

China’s largest online outbound travel agent is opening its first Southern Hemisphere shopfront in Queenstown.

Qyer—which has more than 80 million registered users—will open a Q-Home, where its FIT visitors from China will be able to book personalized services and activities, share stories and have face-to-face contact with Qyer in Queenstown. It will also serve as a venue for Queenstown’s tourism operators to reach the Chinese market directly, and learn more about Chinese culture and travel habits.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd is in Beijing, China this week signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Qyer, China’s largest one-stop outbound travel website.

Mr Budd says the agreement will open up new opportunities for the RTO to promote Queenstown in this important market.

“Not only is this deal important for Qyer’s customers coming to Queenstown who will now have a place to go to make travel arrangements with the company, DQ will now have direct access to Chinese travellers who are considering a visit to Queenstown through Qyer’s website and services,” he says.

“As a year-round destination, our motivations are to encourage growth in travel outside of peak times—this relationship with Qyer will enable us to promote autumn and spring to Chinese travellers. We welcome Qyer to Queenstown and look forward to working together for mutual benefit.”

Qyer will become a member of Destination Queenstown when the Q-Home opens, which means the company will become part of the unique membership model that DQ operates under whereby all commercial rate payers contribute to its annual funding pool.

“We welcome Qyer to the business community in Queenstown,” adds Mr Budd.

“We are excited to extend our cooperation with Destination Queenstown by working with the members of DQ business community together, to offer convenient on-the-ground services, tailor-made travel products and unique experiences for Qyer’s FIT users eager to explore Queenstown as their next destination,” says Mr Cai Jinghui, president and co-founder of Qyer.

“I believe that our partnership will not only promote tourism and travel trade between the two sides, also facilitate further cultural exchange between China and Queenstown.”

China is currently Queenstown’s second largest international market, and its top long-haul market, making up 13% of its annual international visitor arrivals, and the proportion of FIT travellers (as opposed to travellers part of organised tour groups) from China has increased.

Signing the MoU: Graham Budd chief executive of DQ(left) and Jinghui Cai, president of QYER (right) signing the MoU at QYER’s Beijing office.


Exchanging Documents: Graham Budd and Jinghui Cai exchange signed documents.


Group Photo: The representatives of the two parties (from left to right) DQ’s international markets manager Asia Ella Zhang, Tourism New Zealand Asia general manager David Craig, DQ CEO Graham Budd, president and co-founder of Qyer Jinghui Cai, co-founder of Qyer Tong Zhou and Tourism New Zealand’s senior trade manager Grace Yao.

Company using Kathmandu Coast to Coast for team building and to see rebuild

One of New Zealand’s largest structural steel company’s D&H Steel Construction Ltd and sister company Clearwater Construction Ltd is using the Kathmandu Coast to Coast not only as an opportunity for team building, but also to see the Christchurch rebuild work many of its Auckland staff have been involved with.

With a large number of staff from Auckland joining those based in Christchurch to participate in the February event D&H Steel Construction’s Managing Director Mike Sullivan said the Coast to Coast offered a great opportunity for not only staff to bond and get to know each other better away from the office, but it also provided a unique chance to see some of the rebuild work its Auckland based staff have been involved with.

“It means our Auckland staff can go to Christchurch and not only get to know faces and names they may well only know from the phone and emails, but as a business we have been heavily involved in the rebuild so there will be a chance to see some of the sites the company is involved with after we’ve done the event.”  

Sullivan, who participated in this year’s Coast to Coast as part of a three person team to gauge whether the event could work as a large team building exercise, said that with a number of the company’s team in Christchurch it made ‘good sense to do such an iconic New Zealand event that was in the South Island.’

“It’s all about team bonding and making the most of working together away from the office in an environment that’s very different to our usual day to day business,” he said. “

The company has entered eight teams in the corporate challenge which involves teams of three with each participant doing one element of the two day event, either running, cycling or kayaking. It is a real family affair as well with many family members as well as work colleagues being included as part of the team’s various support crews.

“What was really obvious to me was how achievable it is as part of a three person team,” Sullivan said. “It’s the biggest event the company has ever been involved with and it’s already had an impact as we’re been working on it for a while and everyone’s talking about their training and how they’re going.”
D&H Steel Construction has booked nine campervans and plan to travel in convoy across to Kumara on the West Coast on the Thursday before the event.  

“Staff are setting goals, planning logistics and are spending time training together and there’s also the opportunity to involve other staff, family and friends as part of the support crew. It’s such a good opportunity to invest in a company’s culture and have some fun away from work and everyone is really looking forward to it.” 

For the Corporate Challenge two of the team members must be employed and working for the same company, but that does leave room to have a third team member from outside the business which Sullivan said meant they did in fact have a fewassociates as ‘ring in’s that could kayak, run or bike to fill several of the teams.

Onwards and upwards

New Zealand’s services sector experienced a pick-up in expansion during October, according to the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Services Index (PSI).
The PSI for October was 56.3.  This was 2.1 points up from September, and similar to results mid-way through 2016 (A PSI reading above 50.0 indicates that the service sector is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining).
BusinessNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said that after a drop in expansion during September, the pick-up was welcome, with all sub-indices showing stronger results.
“It was welcoming to see the key indicators of activity/sales (58.4) and new orders/business (56.3) showing stronger expansion, with the former at its second highest level for the last five months.  Also, employment (54.7) bounced back to its highest level of expansion since May.”
Regarding the latest PSI results, BNZ Senior Economist Doug Steel said “the PSI indicates above trend economic growth is continuing. Strong results right across the distribution sector is more evidence of buoyant domestic spending and a booming tourism industry”.