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Council’s draft plan release is sensible

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

10 August 2011

Council’s draft plan release is sensible

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says he supports the process being undertaken by the Christchurch City Council to release its draft plan for redevelopment of the central city.

The council has been criticised for not releasing the draft plan 48 hours ahead of its open full council meeting on Thursday, as it’s required to under the Local Government Act 1987. It intends to release the plan immediately following tomorrow’s meeting.

But Mr Brownlee says the Local Government Act never anticipated the circumstances the council is dealing with in Christchurch – having to redesign and rebuild more than half the CBD.

“It strikes me the council had two options. They could discuss the plan with the public excluded then put it out – which would be a pretty unceremonious and odd way of treating this document given it reflects the views of thousands of Christchurch residents – or they could signal to the public that it’s coming, discuss it and formally receive it, ratify it as their draft and release it publicly.

“I think they’ve made a reasonable compromise.

“We are not living in normal times and I think the council has tried to act in the public interest.

“Publicly excluded meetings should be rare and only held where specific interests need to be protected, so the best way to do it was embargo it, tell everyone what the agenda item was, hold the discussion and then release it immediately.

“I’d like to congratulate the council on meeting a very tight timeframe for delivering their draft – I’m sure the public will welcome the opportunity to review it and comment over the weeks ahead,” Mr Brownlee said.

The public will have until 16 September to make submissions on the draft plan.

ENDS

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