Regenerate Christchurch spends $4.5m on consultants, meets most targets
A year and a half after being established, Regenerate Christchurch has spent around $12 million of public money, but has yet to make people understand what it does.
Regenerate's first annual report was released this week. It shows nearly half its income was spent on consultants. Formed as a planning organisation to help other rebuild organisations, its brief is to shape the regeneration of the central city, coastal areas around New Brighton, the riverside red zone and other projects.
Regenerate is funded half-and-half by taxpayers and ratepayers at a cost of $8.1m a year.
Its first 15 months cost the public $10.3m. The bill for consultants in that 15-month period was almost $4.53m and the salary bill $1.92m. The seven board members were paid a total of $282,000.
The annual report shows five of Regenerate's staff were paid more than $110,000 for the year to the end of June, with chief executive Ivan Iafeta's salary in the $140,000 to $300,000 band.
The report notes the consultants bill was higher than expected, and the salary bill lower, because several jobs were not filled.
Board members were paid $30,000 for the 12 months, with chairman Andre Lovatt receiving $50,000.
Iafeta said they got down to work rather than spend money marketing itself. There was a high level of feedback to recent concept plans for Cathedral Square and the riverside red, he said.
He acknowledged the need for accountability "not just to Christchurch, but to the rest of New Zealand". They planned to measure public engagement in future.
The annual report noted Regenerate had not met a task of getting the public to understand and support their role.
Paul Lonsdale, a former city councillor and manager of both the Central City Business Association and New Brighton Business and Landowners Association, said Regenerate was doing "a reasonable job", but was not widely understood.
With Regenerate, Crown company Otakaro and council company Development Christchurch in the space the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) previously occupied, it was hard for each to get their message out, Lonsdale said.
"I don't think people understand what they do."
Regenerate's annual report ticks off most of its targets for the first 15 months. These include research and planning for regeneration projects, public consultation such as workshops, advising Government ministers and working with Otakaro and Development Christchurch.
Targets missed included confirmed plans for New Brighton and Cathedral Square, which were being worked on.
The New Brighton plan has been widened to include South New Brighton and Southshore. Regenerate released a draft concept for Cathedral Square for consultation in July. It is due to release a strategy by the end of this month.
The task of identifying and starting work on early initiatives for Cathedral Square was not done. This work is due to start this month.
A target of presenting a plan for the Cranford basin was missed. This was done in August.
In response to a consultant's "health check" of Regenerate Christchurch, the organisation said it would make several changes to try and speed up the delivery of projects.
Changes included giving better support to the board, greater clarity around organisational structure, stronger collective leadership, better relationships with other agencies and the ability to "ramp up and ramp down" for projects.