Heritage campaigners call for Christchurch demolitions to halt

The earthquake-damage Christchurch Cathedral. Photo / NZ Herald
The earthquake-damage Christchurch Cathedral. Photo / NZ Herald

Christchurch heritage campaigners have gone to Parliament to call for a halt to the demolition of quake-hit heritage buildings.

Christchurch Civic Trust campaigner Ross Gray and heritage experts Ian and Lynne Lochead appeared before a parliamentary select committee today to speak in support of a 5000-signature petition.

The petition calls on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to stop demolishing Christchurch heritage buildings and to introduce measures to protect those that remain - including an urgent stocktake and public consultation on the buildings' protection, repair and strengthening.

Green MP Eugenie Sage, who presented the petition to Parliament, said in a statement that more than 220 of Christchurch's listed and significant heritage buildings had been demolished since the February 2011 earthquake - including more than 40 per cent of the listed buildings in the central city.

"This is an unprecedented loss of our history and heritage. Cera and the Government appear to have blocked their ears to public concerns about retaining Christchurch's heritage buildings and how they contribute to the city's character and its attractiveness to tourists."

Heritage campaigners brought to Parliament an open letter, inscribed on a 15kg marble tablet, which was signed by the heads of 16 heritage groups and the Wizard of New Zealand.

- APNZ

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