Cathedral report delivered to Government
The working party tasked with breaking deadlock on the Christ Church Cathedral has delivered its final report to Anglican leaders and the Government.
A decision on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral will be announced before Christmas, according to a joint statement issued on Friday by Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee and Bishop Victoria Matthews.
The statement said an announcement would be made in the "second half of December".
"Because of the travel commitments of both Bishop Victoria Matthews and Minister Gerry Brownlee, any announcement will not be made until the second half of December."
* Christ Church Cathedral announcement before Christmas
* Cathedral working group investigating how to restore historic Christchurch building
* Five years after quake damage, Govt announces 'working party' for cathedral
* Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews returns to New Zealand to consider cathedral plans, sources say
The statement has since been taken down from the Anglican diocese's website. A spokeswoman for Brownlee, a spokeswoman for the working group and a spokesman for the Anglican diocese did not respond to questions about why the statement had been removed.
Great Christchurch Buildings Trust co-chairman Jim Anderton said the Anglican diocese claimed the statement was leaked, rather than published on its website.
"They claim it was never released. It was leaked," Anderton said.
The joint statement was also sent out by the Anglican diocese as an email newsletter, which can still be viewed online.
A spokeswoman for the working group said the report was delivered to the Government on Monday.
"I can confirm the Christ Church Cathedral Working Group delivered its report on 28 November 2016 to the Government and the Church," she wrote in an email.
Sources close to the working group believe a restoration deal between the church and the Government is close. Earlier this month, Matthews reportedly returned earlier than expected from overseas to consider the deal.
The working group was appointed by government in July over fears the earthquake-damaged building was holding up regeneration of Cathedral Square.
In September, working group chairman Geoff Dangerfield said the group was looking only at options to restore the building to its previous state.
Dangerfield said the group was investigating how to "repair, restore and, in some parts, rebuild" the cathedral and was being "careful to ensure the building retains its external appearance as much as possible". The group's recommendations are non-binding.
The Anglican cathedral has been sitting damaged in Christchurch's city centre for more than five years, with no clear decision on its possible fate.
The working group is tasked with working up practical restoration options for the cathedral and a feasible plan to fund the work.
The Government's instructions for the working party also asked them to investigate a possible construction alliance to help rebuild the cathedral, similar to the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team that repaired pipes and roads in post-quake Canterbury.