British design guru Kevin McCloud has called for local democracy to be fully restored in Christchurch so the city can become "one of the most sustainable places" on Earth.
But he has already been dismissed as a "tourist" by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.
The Grand Designs presenter, who studied the history of art and architecture at Cambridge University, said a great city could only be built "ground up, not top down".
McCloud is interested in the rebuild after visiting Christchurch and is judging a design competition for new housing in the city.
"Christchurch's ambition as a city has been to make it one of the most sustainable places on the planet. You can't do that with national government intervention. You do it with local communities - ground up, not top down," he said.
"The role of central government is absolutely fundamental, but their presence should not undermine the right of people to determine their own future, which is what democracy is."
When asked about McCloud's suggestions, Brownlee said: "I have no response to Mr McCloud's ideas. We get lots of tourists and lots of tourists have lots of ideas and I don't respond to them either."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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