Council property deal angers opponents

Last updated 22:39 08/08/2008

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The Christchurch City Council's $17 million deal to buy five properties from developer Dave Henderson is an "utter disgrace", says National MP Gerry Brownlee.

"It would appear the council is either going to set itself up as a developer or has become a banking service for Mr Henderson," he said.

Cr Yani Johanson was outraged by the deal.

"It is absolutely amazing that this council can find $17m to prop up a property developer but cannot find money to prop up rents for our most vulnerable tenants," he said.

"It is an appalling decision. The reality is it is a bailout for an individual and I do not believe in the council doing that."

Left-leaning political group Christchurch 2021, along with Crs Helen Broughton and Chrissie Williams, said the deal was a bailout.

Mayor Bob Parker said accusations of a bailout were "cynical". The sites would be protected from poor development and big-box retail.

"I do not regard it as a bailout. I regard it as a move the city needed to take," he said.

"It is a really bold move we have taken and it shows we are very committed to inner-city revitalisation."

Council chief executive Tony Marryatt also defended the deal.

"It is not a great deal for Dave Henderson. It is a great deal for the council," he said.

"This may be helping Dave, but it is a great deal for the city. We are putting our money where our mouth is." Charlie Gates

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