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More transparency needed in Christchurch rebuild

31 August 2011

More transparency needed in Christchurch rebuild

In the wake of the latest EQC blowout, Grant Thornton's National Technical Director, Mark Hucklesby calls for a break from traditional reporting to help those tasked with the recovery effort in Christchurch to deliver on their promise of a transparent and inclusive rebuild.

"We have seen EQC's initial estimate of 12,000 damaged homes now more than double to an estimated 30,000 homes. That means a lot more people displaced, a lot more landfill and waste issues to deal with, and a lot more cost," says Mr Hucklesby.

"Minister for Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownlee, and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) head, Roger Sutton, have both acknowledged the importance of transparency throughout the enormous task of rebuilding Christchurch, to keep stakeholders (and there are about 4.4 million of us) informed and involved. But how will they do this?

"More integrated reporting is needed. Transparency should not just be focused on the financial costs of the rebuild, but also its social and environmental impact. Reporting on all three factors are essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of the rebuilt city.

"The only way Brownlee and Sutton can ensure a full and balanced picture of the rebuild is to give financial, social and environmental aspects equal footing. It's called integrated reporting and it's all about the three P's - people, planet and profit," says Mr Hucklesby.

Around the world, countries have already recognised the benefits of integrated reporting. France, among others, has made the shift from traditional reporting to integrated reporting mandatory in 2012.

"If there is one clear message emerging from Christchurch residents, it is that they want to know what is going on - even if the news is bad. Many individuals, not only those residents in Canterbury, are struggling to evaluate what is happening and how it will impact their future.

"By becoming an early adopter of integrated reporting in Christchurch, Cera can make a much needed step-change towards a more inclusive, transparent and sustainable city, and a more trusting relationship between government and those affected by the rebuild (all of us).

Mr Hucklesby says both the Government and Cera should take this opportunity and reap the benefits of integrated reporting which truly allows us all to be part of the enormous challenge ahead.

"Both entities will benefit from improved planning and full information leading to better decisions, while Cantabrians and New Zealanders will have the peace of mind which comes from knowing where they stand, where they are heading, how well things were achieved, and last, but by no means least, what the costs will be."

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