Rebuild 'hampered by government'

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 11:11 24/04/2014

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Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has hailed a survey that found key players in the Christchurch rebuild were frustrated at the lack of progress.

However, while there would always be a range of views on how to approach complex challenges in the rebuild, he said he was broadly pleased with how the recovery was progressing.

Feedback from the survey would be taken on board, he said.

Despite the small numbers taking part in the survey, officials would be taking all responses on board and "doing our best to deliver a great outcome for greater Christchurch".

"[It's] a timely and useful qualitative and quantitative snapshot of some of the recovery's major work programmes from a number of people at the coalface of the rebuild," Brownlee said.

"There's a range of candid feedback in the report - both positive and critical - about many elements of multi-agency recovery work."

The key rebuild firms said Christchurch's recovery was "painstakingly slow" and local and central government were hampering progress.

In a survey by the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID) major banks, construction companies and engineering firms stated that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and the Christchurch City Council (CCC) were holding back the rebuild.

Some of those surveyed called for Cera to be axed and for an independent board to be set up to replace it.

The interim research results were leaked to The Press after the NZCID presented the findings to its members this month.

The procurement and prioritisation of anchor projects, investment strategy and the lack of alignment between the council and the Crown were among the most heavily criticised aspects in the report.

The survey, carried out in February and March, showed the performance of the region's recovery agencies had slumped since a similar survey last year.

NZCID chief executive Stephen Selwood said the research asked senior industry leaders to rate the effectiveness of governance planning, funding and delivery of the rebuild programme to date, and what changes should be planned for the future to speed up progress, deliver better outcomes and drive improved value for money.

Selwood praised the Government's ongoing commitment to the rebuild and said categories such as pride in the city, optimism for the future and sustained economic performance received solid feedback.

"But co-ordination across central government agencies, the [council and Cera], and programme governance and procurement, were identified as key areas needing improvement," he said. Brownlee said

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several issues needed to be focused on, including delivery of important anchor projects, and ensuring stakeholders have confidence in how central Government was working with local government.

"But when I look at where we were a year ago, and think of where we'll be in a year from now, I'm heartened that Christchurch's recovery is happening at a reasonably good pace, and work is being delivered to a high standard," the minister said.

- The Press

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