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Speaker: Christchurch: how did it come to this?

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  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks Greg.

    For another angle – and to fully underline the state of mystery and confusion in which Christchurch has been placed – readers may also wish to make the time to read Barnaby Bennett’s new post on the status of the Christchurch Convention Centre decreed by the government.

    See: Christchurch Convention Centre: The closer I look the less it makes sense.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And in this morning's Press: the historic Canterbury Provincial Chambers will be locked up and sitting until there is $108m found to fix and strengthen them – which will be at least 10 years

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Geneva Convention Centre and the war on Chchch…

    Christchurch Convention Centre: The closer I look the less it makes sense.

    all points many have been making since day one – good to see them all in the one corral.

    the Govt has been very quiet about the CC for a while now – meanwhie they have ignored their own Purposed Precinct requirements by not even housing the Ministry of Health building in the ‘Health Precinct’ – ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ reigns, as usual…

    …I can’t see how any small hospitality business on the perimeter of this erratically peopled convention centre precinct could plan very far ahead, even day-to-day unless they were regularly updated by the CC management as to how many ‘customers’ might be released into the catchment’ on a daily basis...

    it is a shame the CC ‘planners’ refused to think outside the Square , and parked it right in the middle – a massively fluctuating ‘activity sink’

    I also hope we aren't paying for building the Hotel that has been included.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think the narrative of forced-into-asset-sales is quite rosy.

    Sure, there are some councillors who feel they have to make tough decisions - and the People's Choice councillors are well aware that partial asset sales may need up being part of mix - but there's also a strong ideological push to sell off assets from councillors who just don't think the council should own them anyway.

    If you saw Jamie Gough's comments in the Press, he's already made up his mind - it's asset sales. Asset sales. That's it, done and dusted. And it's not like this is new - Gough (and the Independent Citizens) has always hated the idea of council ownership of CityCare, Port of Lyttelton, Red Bus, etc.

    I also don't think there is a genuine will among the "brighter councillors" (whatever that means) for new ideas to come out of the submission process. I think there's an effort to railroad asset sales through as a cheap and easy way of making the council finances look good in the short term, and the long term damage done to the city? That's someone else's problem, in twenty years time. Just look at the very short time frame on LTP submissions, or the way the LTP document is so stacked towards asset sales that the Council had to put out a statement making clear it's not a done deal yet!

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Christchurch isn’t the only city in this situation – though at least it has a good excuse – Dunedin’s seen rates increases way above inflation for the past decade, often close to 10% mostly because of the council’s unability to stop spending, the stadium debacle has committed us to at least a few more years of the same, it’s still losing millions a year just to subsidise rugby tickets – Kaipara’s in a bad state too, again because of a council that couldn’t stop spending.

    When I lived in California the state (and I think cities) were legally required to bring in a balanced budget, and citizens were required to vote for any increases, this put continual pressure on the politicians to at least consider the possibility of moderation (mind you there were severe downsides to this too).

    I think it’s easy for a politician to want to look good doling out the goodies, kind of human nature, no one gets elected to these positions with the goal of not doing things. We need to praise those who show restraint and are realistic in the face of adversity a bit more.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    People's Choice have outlined their alternative. Important to keep hammering: there is an alternative.
    Throwing debt money into huge new infrastructure (convention centres, stadia) is 'good for the economy' in the same way sugar is good for a diabetic. My choice would be to spend the minimum on well-planned and coordinated essential infrastructure, and otherwise let the Christchurch re-build happen more slowly, driven by demand, and far more organically. (For a government that's supposed to believe in business savvy, they sure ain't listening to Chch businesspeople.)
    Worth making a submission.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    "Lancaster Park was sum insured for $143m but three loss adjustment firms had each determined the stadium could be restored for less than $50m, Sole said.
    The reinsurers are most unlikely to agree to pay Christchurch City Council almost three times that amount just so the council can demolish the current stadium and build another elsewhere."

    Is this another version of the common house insurance dispute, the council wants it restored 'as new' while the insurer wants to make it 'fit for purpose'.

    Its a stadium for goodness sake, while the siren song of a glam $250 mill stadium closer to town in one of the 'precincts' seems to be seducing the council ( never mind they would need another $100 mill if they got the full payout)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Is this another version of the common house insurance dispute, the council wants it restored ‘as new’ while the insurer wants to make it ‘fit for purpose’.

    Remember the old 1980s NZI advert that went, "What do you mean, half a pyramid?"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Having gone to a recent Crusaders game at the new 'temporary' stadium, I doubt I'd repeat the exercise there or at any other stadium - covered or not - having a developing cold probably didn't help, but I just didn't enjoy it at all - I've been 'seduced' by replays and aerial shots and commentary, I'll stick with the telly where possible in future...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    When I lived in California the state (and I think cities) were legally required to bring in a balanced budget, and citizens were required to vote for any increases, this put continual pressure on the politicians to at least consider the possibility of moderation (mind you there were severe downsides to this too).

    Downsides like the collapse of public infrastructure, yes. Naturally the idea has been promoted for NZ by the Act party.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Downsides like the collapse of public infrastructure, yes.

    It also didn’t work. Deficits continued after Proposition 58 because there was no conceivable means of enforcement.

    The major cause of California’s screaming fiscal problems was 1978’s Proposition 13, by which a bunch of mostly older property owners screwed the property tax system in their own favour and made it almost impossible to fund schools. It was a generational disaster.

    Perils of direct democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Throwing debt money into huge new infrastructure (convention centres, stadia) is ‘good for the economy’ in the same way sugar is good for a diabetic. My choice would be to spend the minimum on well-planned and coordinated essential infrastructure, and otherwise let the Christchurch re-build happen more slowly, driven by demand, and far more organically.

    I agree with you. However, my understanding is that the council legal advice is that CCC cannot backtrack on the cost-sharing agreement with the government, no matter how much it and Christchurch people want to renegotiate it.

    We're stuck unless the PM and the Finance Minister override the Earthquake Recovery Minister and CERA and agree to revisit the deal, which seemed a one-sided negotiation from the beginning. Could the worse-than-expected economic outlook for New Zealand and growing deficit projections mean they pull the pin?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    James Dann has a brief follow-up question about the convention centre.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Throwing debt money into huge new infrastructure (convention centres, stadia) is ‘good for the economy’ in the same way sugar is good for a diabetic.

    It seems to be a form of the Broken Window Fallacy, or its more recent descendant the Shock Doctrine.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    And now this new piece of political theatre:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/67920438/public-input-sought-on-redzone-compensation

    The Government will consult the public on a possible revised compensation offer for some Christchurch red-zoners.
    Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has asked for a recovery plan to look at the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial and uninsured land in the residential red zone.
    He expected any revised offer would be made by the middle of the year.
    The Supreme Court in March directed the Government to reconsider the compensation package for residents not eligible for its initial offer. Vacant, commercial and uninsured land owners were offered a payout of 50 per cent of the rating valuation (RV) of their land. Those with insured land were offered 100 per cent RV.

    Gosh, all of a sudden 'we' are deemed worthy enough to be 'consulted' (and not just 'engaged with', mind you) The only reason I can see for Brownlee to do this is to muddy the waters and make it the emotive issue it has become for those who still think it is an insurance/EQC issue, when it is a forced acquisition of peoples property - irrespective of their insurance coverage or even if the house/land is damaged - the same buy out equation should be used for all people.
    Brownlee and crew have constantly tried to conflate and confuse the issue.
    My contempt for the man just grew a whole order of magnitude.
    Disingenuous Tosser.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Just went through the backup story on the proposed Christchurch Frightful...sorry Convention centre.

    The thing that sprung to mind, would they at some stage announce a 'cornerstone tenant' that would take up a chunk of the space. And that tenant would be:
    Christchurch Casino !
    Location Location, as the real estate agents say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    all points many have been making since day one

    It's not like any of this has crept up on us. The National government cancelled our regional democracy and effectively also our city council via Gerry Brownlee, CERA, and the CCDU.

    Anyone with half a brain can see the slow-motion trainwreck that's coming to the central city. The Central City "Blueprint" is poised to unleash even greater economic and civic disaster on the crippled city.

    And while Dunedenites are screaming about rates rises from Dunedin's disastrous stadium project, no one in power seems able to hear.

    Who benefits from asset sales in Chch? The same people who benefited from the sale of our power companies. Rich investors.

    Chch is being forced to build facilities that Chch people don't want and haven't agreed to, with money they don't have.

    Fuck that.

    I love my beautiful hometown so much. The impotent rage I feel about what John Key's government is doing to it is beyond words.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Hebe,

    my understanding is that the council legal advice is that CCC cannot backtrack on the cost-sharing agreement with the government, no matter how much it and Christchurch people want to renegotiate it.

    Gerry Brownlee could wave his hand and it would all go away. Except he won’t, that’s why he’s there. He has emergency powers to assist the people and the city, and he’s using those powers to do exactly the opposite.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Lilith __,

    Chch is being forced to build facilities that Chch people don’t want and haven’t agreed to, with money they don’t have.

    Yes. While the infrastructure -- roads, water pipes, sewerage system -- is going to take 30 years to fix. I could accept -- just -- selling the airport and the forests in order to pay for fixing essential services.

    A sell-off to pay for a government-ordained vision that very, very few Christchurch businesses or residents want is sickening.

    The alternative to asset sales seems only to be the massive rates rises for years ahead. Those rates rises will make the cost of living in this city - buying or renting - rocket.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    The important thing here is that Jerry's personal housing portfolio rises in price. If building a convention centre will do that, then you will build a bloody convention centre and you will like it.

    The fact the people who'll be building it have already donated to the National party through various secret trusts is merely a happy coincidence.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    The impotent rage I feel about what John Key's government is doing to it is beyond words.

    And they can't do it without local collaborators: those who will sell out their city for personal gain.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Lilith __,

    Chch is being forced to build facilities that Chch people don’t want and haven’t agreed to, with money they don’t have

    It is sickening. But I'm going to borrow this phrase, and use it in submitting to the council on the long-term plan. Love to see it on all the fences around the site
    ...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    Chch is being forced to build facilities that Chch people don’t want and haven’t agreed to, with money they don’t have.

    This used to be called extortion,
    now it's called Central Government Planning

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Hebe,

    In the long run (i.e beyond the 2019 debt hump that we're being massaged through at the moment) though, turning productive capital into unproductive capital (i.e a white elephant stadium etc) will mean that rates will inevitably have to rise to cover the loss of income. Asset sales aren't magic - they just hide the cost for the time being.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    It surprises me that the Government didn't introduce a solidarity tax after the 2011 earthquake in the same way that Germany did after reunification to finance the longterm infrastructure upgrade. Both events were unforeseen (in their rapidity) and initially unquantifiable in their scope. (The cost of reunification is around €1 trillion to date...)
    NZ has a deserved reputation for neighbourly support and it would have been the easiest of sells to a willing electorate.
    Germany introduced a 7.5% surcharge on income tax in 1991 for one year and reintroduced it in 1996, reducing it to 5.5% in 1998 nd it's only in recent years that there's been some grumbling (and challenges to the Constitutional Court regarding its legality.

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

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