Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker have announced a joint accord deferring the Christchurch City Council’s Long Term Plan until 2015 to allow an earthquake recovery cost-sharing method to be mutually agreed. Instead the council will undertake a new plan, to be called the Christchurch City Three Year Plan.
Brownlee says this new planning process will give surety to Christchurch rate payers, the people of Christchurch, the New Zealand tax payer, the financial markets and development partners.
Under the Local Government Act the Council is required to begin consultation on its Long Term Plan in March however, councillors agreed at a special meeting this morning to adopt the Christchurch City Three Year Plan and commence consultation in March as planned.
“Under normal circumstances a Long Term Plan outlines a council’s rating and spending expectations for the next decade but at this stage in the Christchurch rebuild we need a more appropriate planning mechanism that takes into account more immediate goals,” Brownlee says. “Banks, bond markets and ratings agencies, along with businesses and households take significant guidance from councils’ Long Term Plans.”
“The key benefits for the city resulting from this agreement are certainty around cost sharing arrangements and decision-making processes relating to the central city key rebuild projects, and cost sharing arrangements relating to all other Council costs such as horizontal infrastructure,” Mayor Parker says.
CERA’s powers will be invoked to allow the Long Term Plan process to be deferred until 2015, by which time a cost-sharing method will be worked through between the Crown and the Council.
“City councillors, along with the Crown, are committed to presenting the most realistic and achievable process to shoulder the financial burden caused by this series of catastrophic earthquakes, with a joint aim of rebuilding the city to be the very best it can be,” Mr Brownlee says.
To read the resolution passed at today’s special Christchurch City Council meeting go to http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/Proposednewplanningmechanism.pdf