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City Councillors Left High and Dry

Yani Johanson
Christchurch City Councillor
Phone 021 799 321

15 April 2008

Media Statement

City Councillors Left High and Dry: Mayor Seeks Delay of Controversial Central Plains Water Report

Cr Yani Johanson is outraged that Councillors have been left 'high and dry' in regards to receiving a Council Report into the controversial loan arrangements of the Central Plains Water Scheme.

Councillors were advised today by Tony Marryatt (Chief Executive of the Christchurch City) that a delay of the urgent report (requested by February 2008) into the controversial Central Plains Water Limited loan was sought by the Mayor until May because he was away and wishes to participate in the debate. This is despite the fact that the Mayor unsuccessfully voted to stop the report being written in the first place. It should be further noted that he was available in February when the report was originally due to come back.

Cr Yani Johanson had previously welcomed the Christchurch City Council's decision to seek a report on options for an independent review of the issues surrounding the controversial Central Plains Water Limited loan from Dairy Holdings Limited.

The call for a report followed the Council's vote on December 13th 2007 to not accept the Central Plains Water Trust Annual Report or the City Council's staff report written to address concerns of the Malvern Hills Protection Society deputation on November 7th 2007.

Yani Johanson, City Councillor, said today:

"I find it extraordinary that this matter has been able to be delayed when a majority of City Councillors have expressed such significant concern. This is an important and urgent issue for the people of Christchurch and delaying the report back to Council by three months (February to May) is simply outrageous and unacceptable."

"As a Councillor I expect Council resolutions to be acted on in a timely fashion and not be deferred because of an overseas trip by the Mayor. This raises a scary precedent for the powers of a Mayor when he can override a decision made by the majority of Council. I will be writing to the Chief Executive expressing my concern and seeking the report that was due in February to be put on the next Council agenda for 24 April 2008."

"The Central Plains Water Scheme is a hugely controversial project. Since my election to Council there have been numerous deputations made regarding concern at details of the DHL loan. I believe there are valid questions which need to be addressed. The biggest question is the potential for a private dairy company (Dairy Holdings Limited) to gain the rights to resource consents (if granted) for a scheme that was initially set up for the public good. I would be very concerned if the loan agreement in any way enabled the loss of resource consents from public ownership. The purpose of receiving the requested report was to get answers to fundamental questions that could threaten the very purpose of the Central Plains Water Scheme."

ends

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