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Labour’s announcement another fizzer

Hon Gerry Brownlee

Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

10 July 2014 Media Statement

Labour’s announcement another fizzer

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour’s announcement today boils down to a “discussion” with the Christchurch City Council and an unnecessary new layer of governance.

“Establishing a governance board to manage the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority will not achieve anything for the people of Christchurch. Adding another layer of governance will not speed things up or offer any new solutions, and will in fact water down the Government’s accountability for its $15 billion spend.

“Locals already have a strong voice in the recovery through ongoing input from the Community Forum, and consultation on projects that are particularly important to the community such as the successful Share an Idea campaign, and the upcoming consultation on future use of the Red Zone. It should also not be forgotten that CERA employees are almost all residents of Christchurch, who have a clear understanding of local issues, and certainly feed this into their work.

“The CER legislation is already due to expire in 2016. However, Labour’s assertion that they will immediately begin winding down the powers in the CER Act is deeply concerning. The CERA powers currently underpin important Recovery Plans, work that requires land acquisitions, and the ability to fast track the District Plan review.

“In relation to returning to elections for Environment Canterbury, the Government has already clearly signalled that we will consult Cantabrians before making further decisions. This consultation is planned to begin soon after the election. How can Labour claim they are listening to Cantabrians and simultaneously dismiss a planned public consultation process?

“Finally, Labour has committed itself to a “discussion” with the Christchurch City Council over its debt picture. The Government has worked closely with the Council, particularly through the Horizontal Infrastructure programme, over the last three years. It is disingenuous to suggest that the Government is not willing to listen to the Council, when we anticipate meeting again with the Council in the very near future to work through these very issues.

“Labour’s open ended policy which puts everything back on the table will remove the certainty around the Anchor Projects and central city, and subject New Zealanders to an unquantified financial commitment. If Labour is committing to financial support for the Council, taxpayers deserve more details.

“Once again Labour has shown they have no grasp on the issues that are actually important to Cantabrians, and have not yet offered a single policy that will make the rebuild happen better or faster. This policy is the latest fizzer in a long line of announcements that show Labour really has no idea what Christchurch needs.”

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