Stalled rebuild claims 'hysterical', says Brownlee

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Martin Hunter
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Martin Hunter

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has bristled at claims the Christchurch rebuild is stalled as he defends the new unit set up to steer development.

Mr Brownlee last week announced a Christchurch Central Development Unit would be put in place to work in co-operation with the city council.

The unit, an extension of the Government's Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), has been given 100 days to put together a blueprint for the the rebuild.

Labour has criticised the unit as another layer of bureaucracy and a stalling tactic.

Mr Brownlee bristled at claims the Christchurch rebuild was stalled on TVNZ's Q+A programme today.

"I'm sick to death of hearing it from the media. If you go down to Christchurch at the moment there is a massive amount of activity," he said,

"No one's happy with the pace - everyone wanted it done with a click of the fingers and [it's] fixed, bit it's a very big disaster and it is taking time.

"And I want to make the point that comments like that do a huge disservice to the thousands of people in Canterbury who are going out of their way every day to make things happen."

Mr Brownlee said there was not "a single economic indicator" that suggested the rebuild had stalled.

"All of your hysteria there won't change the fact that we asked the Christchurch City Council to come up with a draft plan for the CBD, which is around about 39-40 hectares in the central city. And they did that in an appropriate period of time, inside nine months."

The Government had been looking at the draft since December to see how to "put life into it" and to ensure work got underway quickly.

The new unit had been set up to do that, Mr Brownlee said.

"You have a very cohesive model that's working down there."

Mr Brownlee said in 100 days there would be a blueprint for how development would move forward.

"I think the issue really is not the vision, it's in the plan. It's a very good vision, the issue is how are the rules going to be constructed to give life to that vision, and there's where I think there's a little more work to be done. A lot of that work is already underway."

He defended the plan's CBD focus, saying it was important to the South Island economy.

- APNZ

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