Greens against sales for Christchurch

9:59 am on 2 August 2012

The Green Party has lambasted the Government for suggesting Christchurch City Council assets could be sold to help pay for rebuilding the city centre.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has mooted the sale of the assets - he conceded in Parliament on Wednesday that he has sought advice on council asset sales to help raise the money.

But the council is not keen on the idea and instead wants to come up with other ways of financing the rebuilding, including a rates rise.

Green Party co-leader Russell Norman says Christchurch derives $40 - $50 million per year from its assets and should not be coerced into selling them.

"It's really reprehensible that central government should be trying to use the earthquake to push their ideological agenda of asset sales, onto the Christchurch City Council, when the people of Christchurch have over many years have fought long and hard to retain their assets," he says.

All of New Zealand should help Christchurch pay for the rebuild through a national earthquake levy, says Mr Norman.

And the city council is confident it has enough money to pay its share of the reconstruction costs without selling assets.

Mr Brownlee says he won't rule out the Government paying more should the council be unable to afford its end of the deal.

The city council has been asked to contribute an extra $155 million, on top of the $632 million budgeted in its annual plan.

Corporate services manager Paul Anderson says the council can pay its way without selling assets such as the city's international airport.

However, the Cantbarians Unite group says people should no longer be treated like Christchurch City Council's ATM machine.

Spokesperson Peter Lynch told Morning Report that rates are high enough as it is and facilities such as a new convention centre and stadium should not be paid for by residents.