Chirstchurch City Councillors concerned over decision of renegotiating project spending

By Gabrielle Stuart

Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the current Christchurch city councillors have often complained their hands are tied over the city council's finances. Photo / Christchurch Star
Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the current Christchurch city councillors have often complained their hands are tied over the city council's finances. Photo / Christchurch Star

The city council is defending it's decision to renegotiate how much it spends on anchor projects, in spite of being warned it is "repeating the mistakes of the past".

Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the current city councillors have often complained their hands are tied over the city council's finances.

This occurred because former mayor Bob Parker's city council committed them to spend set amounts on major projects through the cost-sharing agreement with Government.

However, the current city councillors plan to do the same thing to the next batch of councillors.

They are currently in discussions with Government over the agreement, and expect to sign the new version by August, before the October elections.

The current agreement includes city council commitments of almost $147 million to the Metro Sports Facility, $60 million to the new Central Library and $253 million toward a new stadium.

Ms Dalziel said the discussions were not a significant renegotiation, but they were "tidying the agreement up".

She did not answer questions from The Star about what the consequences would be if the review was delayed, or whether she would consider delaying it until after the elections.

Cr Raf Manji said delaying the discussions would be likely to hold up projects like the Metro Sports Facility.

Cr Jamie Gough was part of the former city council which signed the agreement.

He said it would be difficult to postpone the renegotiation, because it would take time for the new city councillors to "get their heads around the problems" after they were elected.

If there were any major changes proposed to projects, he said he would vote for the renegotiation to be delayed.

"If there are significant changes, it would be absurd for council to sign that off and I don't think anyone would want to do that."

Keep Our Assets Canterbury convener Murray Horton said no matter the scale of the negotiations, the new city councillors would have to work with the new agreement when putting together budgets each year, so they needed to have a say.

"This is a big, major decision which needs to be done properly, because these anchor projects will set the structure of the city for years to come."

Former community board member Rod Cameron, who is running for council this year, said the city councillors were repeating the mistakes of the past.

He believed they should wait until the new council was elected, even if it meant projects were delayed.

"What's another six months when we've been waiting five and a half, almost six years? It's worth being able to take that time and assess things. A rushed decision is not always the best one to take."

- Christchurch Star

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 28 Sep 2016 02:01:05 Processing Time: 560ms