Professor Ilan Noy of Victoria University says the Government needs to start thinking about what happens to Christchurch after post-quake rebuilding comes to an end.
The inaugural chair in the economics of disasters, Professor Noy says evidence shows cities hit by major disasters, like New Orleans in the United States and Kobe in Japan, have not fully recovered, even years after the event.
Professor Noy says there needs to be a focus on creating sustainable industries and jobs after the rebuild is finished.
However, the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce says the region's long term economic health is sound, underpinned by flourishing manufacturing and services sectors.
The cost of the rebuild of the city is estimated at $40 billion.