Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee must front up and confirm the Government’s plans to install commissioners in the Christchurch City Council and sell its assets, says Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns.Brendon BURNS
Christchurch Central MP
5 October 2011
National lines up Christchurch council to force asset sales
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee must front up and confirm the Government’s plans to install commissioners in the Christchurch City Council and sell its assets, says Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns.
“In Parliament today, I asked Gerry Brownlee to confirm the Government’s timeframe for action given he told The Press last month that he had no plans to move against the council “at this time”. He refused to say what he will do.
“So rather than use the opportunity to refute the growing view that he will move swiftly against the council, Gerry Brownlee has added to the concerns.
“Mr Brownlee might play cute in Parliament and deny any responsibility for the next Government or the Christchurch City Council but the intent is there for all Cantabrians to see – a returned National government will bulldoze through the sale of Orion, Christchurch airport, Port Lyttelton and other council assets, just like our state power companies.”
Further proof of National’s plan can be found in the fact Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act gives the Government the power to force the sale of Christchurch City Council’s $2 billion worth of assets, said Brendon Burns.
“That fact was revealed in the report of the Finance and Expenditure Committee after I questioned Mr English when he appeared on Budget estimates. The report confirms the Government is talking to the council about how it will pay its share of earthquake recovery. While Mr English said asset sales were up to the council, the legislation clearly gives Government the power to sell them.”
Brendon Burns tabled research he commissioned from the Parliamentary Library today showing the Orion lines company alone, mostly owned by Christchurch city, has returned around $980m to ratepayers since 1993, or about $1m a week.
“We must not lose our valuable assets and the dividends they return to the community.
“National has already shown its contempt for democracy and the management of important Canterbury assets by taking out ECAN to facilitate the flow of water to vested interests. Clearly Christchurch City Council is next on its list,” said Brendon Burns.