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Chch's 900 workers can be housed: Brownlee

The government doesn't think there will be a problem housing the 900 workers it is recruiting for the Christchurch rebuild.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced the recruiting drive on Thursday, saying local applicants would be favoured but the net would cover the South Island and parts of the North Island.

Housing is scarce in Christchurch and rents are at record highs, raising questions about where the new workers will live.

Mr Brownlee says rebuild authorities have been well aware of that.

"We've been working on the accommodation issue," he said on Friday.

"Many state houses are being repaired and there's a lot of new building going on... I'm confident we're in a good space."

Mr Brownlee told Radio New Zealand normal criteria for state housing wouldn't be applied.

He can't put a figure on how many people from outside Christchurch will be recruited but says unemployment in the city is low.

"It's jobs for locals first, then we will bring them in from other centres and overseas if necessary."

Mr Brownlee says on top of the 900 new jobs, another 2000 will open up as the rebuild ramps up in the next few years.