Govt to pay lion's share in rebuild deal

8:58 pm on 27 June 2013

The Government has revealed it will pay the lion's share of the $4.8 billion cost to rebuild earthquake-hit Christchurch's infrastructure as well as key projects in the central business district.

The Crown will contribute $2.9 billion and the Christchurch City Council will pay the remaining $1.9 billion.

John Key announcing the deal in Christchurch with Mayor Bob Parker, centre, and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.

John Key announcing the deal in Christchurch with Mayor Bob Parker, centre, and Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ

Prime Minister John Key said on Thursday the deal is legally binding and clears up who is responsible for leading and funding each of the major projects.

Public-private partnerships for projects such as the convention centre are still being considered.

Mayor Bob Parker said the deal, which has been under negotiation for several months, would bring the council's forecast debt down by $250 million. He said ratepayers should be extremely thankful to the Government for its majority contribution and also acknowledged taxpayers.

"I want to thank the taxpayers around New Zealand whose contribution to this - and I acknowledge there are many taxpayers - in our city, but it's absolutely immense.

"I know there are many things that your communities need as well, but getting our community back up on its feet is one of the most vital things that we can do for the economy."

The biggest expense is repair work on the city's underground infrastructure and roading - the council will contribute $1.4 billion and the Government will pay $1.8 billion.

The Government will fund a brand new $284 million convention centre and a $481 million green frame around the central city. It will also pay for most of the $95 million Avon River precinct.

The council will pay for the bulk of a $290 million stadium in the CBD, as well as $70 million worth of car parking.

A $166 million performing arts precinct, which includes a repaired or rebuilt Town Hall, will be largely bankrolled by the council.

The remaining projects would be split more evenly, with both parties making significant contributions to a new bus interchange, a metro sports facility, a redeveloped Cathedral Square and a new central library.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said on Thursday that timelines and designs for the projects would be announced progressively over the coming months.

The major component of the costs is repairs and rebuild of underground infrastructure - such as water, power and sewers. Mr Brownlee said the costs are indicative and will be the subject of competitive tenders.