Key Points:

    Labour's Christchurch plan
    • Fast-track rebuild with a $300m fund for projects in red zone and a contribution to new stadium.
    • Establish an arbitration panel that can award compensation to homeowners for distress caused by delays by insurance companies.
    • Negotiate a global settlement with Christchurch City Council, and in doing so settle the long-term ownership and funding for the anchor projects.
    • Boost mental health support, and give extra $100m for public transport including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has promised to fast-track Christchurch's rebuild with a $300 million fund for projects - hitting out at National's "lack of leadership" on the rebuild.

Ardern has also taken aim at insurance companies - pledging to establish an arbitration tribunal with an "inquisitorial focus" that can award compensation for distress caused by undue delays by insurance firms.

The Labour leader is in Christchurch for the day, and announced the policy in brilliant sunshine at a rally at Riccarton Park Racecourse, nearby a busy Sunday market.


A crowd upwards of 600 turned out for Ardern's speech, many wearing "Let's Do This" branded T-shirts - on sale at the door for $25 a pop - and standing at the back of the hall and in an overflow tent outside after seating ran out.

"I'd like to think that if Labour had been in power that things would have moved a lot more quickly ... but now is not the time for blame. Now is the time for setting a plan that will take us forward," Ardern said of the earthquake rebuild.

Prime Minister Bill English was in the city on Thursday to promise an extra $120m to help build a new stadium. Ardern today announced a $300m "capital acceleration facility" that will be spent on projects, after business cases are submitted.

Supporting material for the policy said the fund would be spent on red-zone projects and contribute to building a new stadium.

However, Ardern said no decision had been made on how the money would be spent, and each business case would be assessed by a partnership of central and local government.

"[The document] mentions the stadium as an example of one way the council and local people may choose to use the fund. But ultimately it is for them to make a business case and decision over.

"We have said the price tag on the stadium as it currently stands is pretty eye-watering. But we also accept there is a need."

Ardern said the new fund would be part of a global settlement Labour would negotiate with Christchurch City Council, and in doing so settle the long-term ownership and funding for the anchor projects.


Ardern reiterated a previous pledge to fund an extra 80 mental health professionals across primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch, and a pilot programme of new mental health teams to work in the region.

The schools rebuild programme would be accelerated under the plan, Ardern said, and an extra $100m for public transport would be provided, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, with a view to expand further north in time.

An initial $400,000 in extra funding would go to the Residential Advisory Service, and an arbitration tribunal with an "inquisitorial focus" will be set-up to help resolve insurance issues stemming from the earthquakes.

That tribunal would be made up of senior lawyers and allowed to award compensation "for distress caused by undue delay by insurance companies". Labour expects it would be operating by next year.

The process wouldn't cost claimants anything and there would be a three-week deadline to supply the tribunal with relevant documentation.

Ardern said by the end of Labour's first 100 days in power her government would provide a timeline of achievements to be met before the end of its first term.

National's Stadium Pledge

The National Party on Thursday promised an extra $120m to build the city's new stadium or "multi-use arena", in addition to the $59m already stumped-up to buy land for the project.

English said his party's preference was for a fully-roofed stadium, but that was a choice for council and wider community - as was the task of finding more funds for the fancier version.

The Christchurch City Council has budgeted $253m, and there is still a shortfall of about $123m with National's commitment.

A pre-feasibility study released this week by the Christchurch Stadium Trust recommended a stadium with a full roof that would cost $496m.

Christchurch regeneration spokeswoman Nicky Wagner, at the event announcing National's extra funding, said it built on the National Government's $17b rebuild commitment.

That programme had this year seen three new schools open, a $2.2b infrastructure repair programme completed, the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial unveiled, and a contract announced to complete design and construction of the Convention Centre.

Christ Church Cathedral

The Anglican Diocese of Christchurch this month announced it will consider gifting the earthquake-crippled Christ Church Cathedral to the Government "for the people of New Zealand".

The vote on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral will be held by Synod members in the afternoon of September 9, and announced to the public.

Of the three options, Option A is for reinstatement of the Cathedral building and would see CPT accept the offer made on July 4 this year by the Government, which includes a previous $10 million grant and a new $15m suspensory loan. This will be forgiven if the terms of the loan are met.

Alongside the Government's offer is a $10m grant from Christchurch City Council which is subject to public consultation and dependent on whether there is a need for this grant after further fundraising.