Working group costs taxpayers thousands while Christ Church Cathedral decays video

IAIN MCGREGOR/Stuff.co.nz

Decay in Christ Church Cathedral

Taxpayers will stump up about $50,000 for the working party considering the fate of the derelict Christ Church Cathedral.

Members of the new Government-formed working party are each being paid $800 a day, and chairman Geoff Dangerfield $1000 a day, for about two days work a month until the end of the year.

They are looking at costs to fix or replace the earthquake-damaged central Christchurch landmark.

The badly damaged Christ Church Cathedral.
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The badly damaged Christ Church Cathedral.

The working party was formed last month after inaction from the (Anglican) Church Property Trust over its deteriorating building. They must make a recommendation by November 28, and report to the Government and church trustees by December 7.

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A report by Government-appointed mediator Miriam Dean last year said the building was repairable. 

Labour Party Canterbury Issues spokeswoman Megan Woods said the public needed certainty on the issue by the end of the year.

​The Anglican Church has said it will not comment on the cathedral until it receives the working party's report in December.
Grant Matthew

​The Anglican Church has said it will not comment on the cathedral until it receives the working party's report in December.

"Taxpayers now have some skin in the game. We are having to wait another year and taxpayers are having to fork out," Woods said.

"That's a lot of taxpayers' money, expectations are going to be very high."

The cathedral working party comprises Christchurch property developer Alasdair Cassels, former Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority general manager Steve Wakefield, National Party regional chairman Roger Bridge,  and academic Sue McKenzie. Dangerfield is the former head of the NZ Transport Agency.

Their work will include preparing for and attending meetings, and writing papers.

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A spokesman for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said the fees were within the Cabinet fees framework.

The amounts were set to ensure the group had suitable expertise and experience, and to recognise the complexity of the task and strong public interest in it, the spokesman said.

​The Anglican Church has said it will not comment on the cathedral until it receives the working party's report in December.

Dean's report estimated reinstating the building would take until the end of 2022 and cost $105m, while replacing it would take until the end of 2019, costing $63m to $66m.

 - Stuff

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