PM: Council's $800m for CBD 'probably not enough'
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Christchurch ratepayers may have to pay more than $800 million for civic facilities planned for the new city centre.
Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that the Christchurch City Council would need to dig deep to find enough money to fund part of the Government's ambitious rebuild plans for the central business district.
Council corporate services manager Paul Anderson said this week that the council had pledged up to an extra $155m on top of what was already decided on.
That would bring its total commitment to $787m. The $155m still needed to be signed off by councillors.
Key said yesterday: "The council at this point have agreed to put about $800m into the redevelopment plan.
"We'd like to see them put in more if they can.
"The $800m the council is currently proposing to put in probably isn't enough for all they might want to achieve."
The Government has signalled it is happy to be the lead player in some projects, such as the health and justice precincts.
Elsewhere, including the arts precinct, convention centre and stadium, Key expects the council and private sector to take the lead.
The Government, he said, may make "some contribution but not nearly as significant as the council and the private sector".
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) yesterday indicated there was room for negotiation on the details of the anchor projects, even though the land allocated would not change.
Key said the council had options to finance the projects, including selling some of its assets, raising its rates or building less ambitious civic assets.
"There'll be a range of alternatives for them to consider,'' he said.
"It's a healthy conversation that needs to be had, but it's got to take place between the people of Christchurch and the council.
''It's not a matter for the Government. We're not going to go and dictate to them they have to do something."
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has hinted at the possiblility of council asset sales, but Key refused to be drawn on the subject.
"That's a matter ultimately for Christchurch," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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