4 Aug 2009

Chamber concerned about $19m purchase by council

9:14 am on 4 August 2009

The Chamber of Commerce in Christchurch is questioning the merits of a decision by Christchurch City Council to buy a rubbish disposal business for $19 million without consulting ratepayers first.

Four other recent major decisions were taken without ratepayer input.

The council recently purchased the World Buskers festival, the Ellerslie Flower Show and five inner city buildings for $16 million when a property developer ran into financial strife.

All transactions were discussed in the public-excluded part of council meetings on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.

Chief executive Tony Marryatt says extreme circumstances allows council to make those decisions without ratepayer input.

The Chamber of Commerce says that's a justifiable practice, as long as the future implications for the community are fully and quickly disclosed.

Chamber chief executive Peter Townsend says he was assured last time that the community's best interests were taken into account and would continue to be.

He says he can take the council's decision in this case at face value, but wants to be fully briefed on its merits.

The council will borrow $19 million to buy the assets and liabilities of Meta Holdings, a rubbish disposal business which was in danger of going into receivership.