24 May 2015

Minister suggests Christchurch land sell-off

12:48 pm on 24 May 2015

The Government should sell off un-needed land in central Christchurch to encourage growth in the city, the Finance Minister says.

The Welles Street site in central Christchurch where a new Government housing project will be constructed.

Welles St in central Christchurch, where a new Government housing project will be constructed in partnership with Fletcher. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

Bill English said relatively cheaper housing and business costs in Christchurch may encourage people to relocate from Auckland.

He said he would also like the Government to make a careful exit from land it bought in central Christchurch for rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake.

"We don't intend to be the long-term owner and probably the sooner we can get on with dealing with the pretty complex issues around the anchor projects and the frames, the eastern and southern frames and so on, the sooner we can get on with finding a path, the better for everybody and the better for the competitiveness of Christchurch."

Mr English said the Government's ownership of land in central Christchurch was probably pushing up prices.