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House of Representatives
4 April 2012
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10. Christchurch, Recovery—Involvement of City Council in Draft Recovery Plan

[Sitting date: 04 April 2012. Volume:679;Page:1646. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]

10. Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Labour—Christchurch East) to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: When will he approve a Recovery Plan for Christchurch’s CBD in light of the Christchurch City Council’s announcement that it will commence its Annual Plan processes next week?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery) : The central business district is a very small but important part of the Christchurch City Council’s total area. The annual plan covers all of Christchurch, and it is appropriate that the council progress that. Discussions within the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and with the Christchurch City Council should see the central business district plan approval very soon. It must be enabling, it must give clear direction, and once greater clarity and certainty about its effect is understood, an approval decision will be made.

Hon Lianne Dalziel: Why is he planning to establish a new economic development unit within the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, which will, among other functions, take over the Christchurch City Council’s planning function in the central business district?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: There is an economic development unit within the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. It does not have the authorities that the member speaks of.

Hon Lianne Dalziel: Is he denying that officials have been working on a Cabinet paper that recommends a new economic development vehicle for Christchurch, which includes the option of a unit in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority that will take over the planning role of the council in the central business district?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I am not reporting to the House discussions that Cabinet might or might not be having. But what I would say is that we have been having a lot of discussions with the Christchurch City Council, and if the member wants some indication of what those discussions might be about in relation to the central business district, I suggest she reads volume 1 of its plan.

Hon Lianne Dalziel: How long can he continue to make these very important decisions about land use, building demolitions, and, now, taking over a core function of the city council behind closed doors without effectively engaging with the affected communities, nor, now, with the council that was democratically elected to govern this city, or is this what an earthquake tsar actually does?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: No, I reject that because in keeping with the sort of international best practice that we are using in Christchurch, we have taken a bottom-up, consultative, and community-driven approach to recovery. The member may now want to assert that that is not what is happening, but it is what she has called for all the time, and it is the doctrine that I have used in my deliberations and reports to Cabinet on these matters.