26 Feb 2013

Mayor determined not to sell assets for rebuild

3:47 pm on 26 February 2013

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker has reaffirmed that the council won't sell assets to help pay for the city's rebuild following recent damaging earthquakes.

Councillors are holding a special two-day meeting on the draft three-year plan, which will go out for public consultation in May.

On Tuesday morning, they debated key projects including social housing rent increases, council-owned assets and heritage funding.

Mr Parker reminded them it is council policy that assets such as the Lyttelton Port and Christchurch International Airport will not be put up for sale to pay for the rebuild.

He says there was concern among councillors that assets may be sold, but he wanted to made it clear that both profit-making and non-profit-making assets are safe.

The mayor says residents can expect a rates raise of 6.6% to help pay for the rebuild.

The council has voted to increase social housing rents by 3.8%.

Councillor Yani Johanson put forward an amendment which would have meant rental increases would not apply to social housing units that have more than minor quake damage.

Mr Johanson said it was unfair to take advantage of communities' most vulnerable people by charging higher rents for sub-standard properties.

However, several councillors told the meeting on Tuesday that it was unrealistic to delay rental increases. The council voted the amendment down 10-4.