Anderton hits back at Anglicans' claims

Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014
Jim Anderton
JIM ANDERTON: Christ Church Cathedral restoration campaigner

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Christ Church Cathedral restoration campaigner Jim Anderton has hit back at the Anglican Church, saying its public criticism of the restoration effort is "factually incorrect".

An advertisement in The Press yesterday, headlined "Important Facts", laid out the Church Property Trustees' argument against restoring the cathedral.

Anderton heads the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, which campaigned to save the cathedral and was taking the church to court next month as a final effort.

In the advertisement, the church disputed the trust's engineering review and accused the trust of deleting items from the original engineering report.

Anderton said the trust had removed items from the engineering report because they accounted for many years of inflation, which pushed cost estimates up.

"Of course we took that out. We want to start restoration right away, not sit around for 15 years."

He said citywide polls conducted since 2011 showed Christchurch people supported restoration.

He disputed the church's claim the rebuild would require base isolation engineering - a significant cost.

Anderton said he was surprised the church had lashed out so close to the court date.

"Suddenly, from out of the blue, this has come out," he said. "With a court case looming it's quite risky for them. I think they're starting to realise the tide is turning.

"People are now looking at the city and realising there's bugger all left."

Anderton said he was aware the city was sick of the back-and-forth arguments about the cathedral, but said he was not afraid to look at himself in the mirror as a defender of the city's heritage.

"If the leadership of the Anglican Church had not been so committed to the destruction of the cathedral, it would've been well on the way to restoration by now," he said.

"I've been in some pretty rough political battles in my life, but this has been the worst."

The Rev Jayson Rhodes, spokesman for the Anglican diocese, said base isolation engineering and inflation costs were "just so necessary" given the complexity of the rebuild.

"It's got nothing to do with tide turning. It's just simply the facts, facts backed by professionals."

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- The Press

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