Green Party fears Chch asset sales

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 13:00 31/07/2012

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The Green Party is concerned Christchurch's proposed new facilities will come at the cost of selling public assets.

Green Party Christchurch spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said the party received a "concerning" response to an Official Information Act request regarding asset sales.

All information regarding local asset sales were withheld.

"I have asked for information about discussions between minister Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch City Council on selling the city's assets, but that information has been withheld by the minister," Sage said.
 
"We have received through the OIA a Treasury report on cost-sharing discussions with the council that has every word but the title blacked out.
 
"We need to ensure that we can afford what is proposed without putting pressure on the city council to sell our well-performing assets." 

Sage said Christchurch International Airport, Orion and Lyttelton Port of Christchurch were strategic and regionally important assets.

The council assets helped keep Christchurch rates low, she said.
 
Christchurch Airport provided $16 million in profits attributable to the council last year, Lyttleton Port $19m and Orion $25.4m.
 
Sage said the "fairest way" to pay for the new facilities was an earthquake levy, which the Green Party had recommended.

"That would have raised more than $1 billion by now," she said.

The plan has been welcomed by Christchurch Central National MP Nicky Wagner, who said the plan delivered a "21st-century city".

She said the arts, high-performance sports, health and innovation precincts, among others, honoured the wishes of over 106,000 submitters to the Share an Idea forum.

"These are features many local residents have highlighted as a priority and when complete will attract people from wider Christchurch and also visitors," she said.

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates said the plan gave the city "certainty".

He said the board had put forward a revised business case for approval by the Government that is being considered by the national capital investment committee.

"From a public health perspective, the large inner-city green space with walkways and cycleways and the Avon River precinct is great news,'' he said. 

''It's a plan that will make it easy for Cantabrians to be active."

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