Govt’s velvet glove submission to council over asset sales

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

The Government’s submission to the Christchurch City Council’s draft recovery plan for the central city is an ultimatum framed around forced asset sales, Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns says.Brendon Burns
MP for Christchurch Central

12 October 2011

Government’s velvet glove submission to council over asset sales

The Government’s submission to the Christchurch City Council’s draft recovery plan for the central city is an ultimatum framed around forced asset sales, Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns says.

The 20 page submission includes two references to the likely role of public/private partnerships for existing and new council assets.

“That’s code for selling down council assets – including the Orion lines company, Christchurch International Airport and the Port of Lyttelton – after the election.

“All are currently majority owned by Christchurch City Council and their returns help hold down rates,” Brendon Burns said.

“Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has refused to confirm or deny that the Government is looking at installing commissioners into the council after November 26, forcing the sale of Christchurch assets to help pay for the city’s earthquake recovery.

“The Government’s submission to the central city draft plan is also peppered with references to how the Minister has powers under the CERA legislation to withdraw a recovery plan without any right of appeal.

“Cantabrians should be aware of what is at stake. This is not a ‘Gerry meander’ submission; he wants council to do what it’s told, even if that includes over-riding its long-standing belief that holding assets is important for long-term gains.

“With Christchurch already facing stiff rate rises to meet its share of recovery, keeping those assets has never been more important.

“While the Government is right to require final geotechnical assessments to be included in the draft CBD plan due before Christmas, it continues to deny existing geo-tech information to green and orange zoned residents across Canterbury,” Brendon Burns said.

ENDS

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