New Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel is calling for an independent audit of the city's books.
The long-time Labour MP romped to victory yesterday, beating her nearest rival by almost 50,000 votes.
Work starts tomorrow, she says, to find out the council's obligations for big ticket post-disaster items, such as a new sports stadium.
"I want to start a process very quickly to bring an internal body in to have a look at exactly what the financial situation of the council is...I want to know exactly what we've signed up to with central Government in terms of the cost sharing agreement [for the rebuild anchor projects]. I want to make sure that all of us around the table understand what that means, in terms of rates obligations into the future, and also our debt liability."
A review found the council was "culturally reluctant" to communicate with residents. Dalziel wants to change that. "It's about reclaiming democracy. People have felt disempowered and we want to bring the power back to the people."