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Current assets shouldn’t be sold to fund new ones

31 July 2012

Christchurch’s current assets shouldn’t be sold to fund new ones

Christchurch’s proposed new public facilities and spaces should not come at the cost of selling existing great public assets, the Green Party said today.

Last night the blueprint for Christchurch’s central city was unveiled showing potential for a sustainable, compact city with many new public spaces and facilities, but it is not yet clear how they will be funded. The Green Party has received Official Information Act (OIA) responses that are concerning in that all information about local asset sales has been withheld.

“I have asked for information about discussions between Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch City Council on selling the city’s assets but that information has been withheld by the Minister,” Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“We have received through the OIA a Treasury report on cost sharing discussions with the Council that has every word but the title blacked out.

“Funding and future ownership of Christchurch’s new anchor projects remains unclear.

“We need to ensure that we can afford what is proposed without putting pressure on the City Council to sell our well performing assets.

“Christchurch International Airport, Orion, and Lyttelton Port Company are strategic and regionally important assets. The dividends and revenue stream they pay the Council helps ensure Christchurch rates remain low.

“Christchurch International Airport provided $16 million in profits attributable to the Council last year, Lyttleton Port Company $19 million, and Orion provided $25.4 million.

“The investment model to achieve our new city centre needs to be one that can maintain these excellent public assets.

“The public want to keep our assets and this great new plan for the city centre can’t come at the cost of that.

“The fairest way to pay for these exciting new developments is an earthquake levy, which the Green Party recommended, that would have raised more than $1 billion by now,” said Ms Sage.

ends

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