The Coalition Government has delivered on its promise to make $300 million available to accelerate Canterbury's post-earthquake recovery, says Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods.
"For seven years, the recovery in Canterbury was too slow and unco-ordinated, especially with the anchor projects in the central city. This Government's plan brings new energy and faster progress for the people of Canterbury," Woods said.
"This will help speed up important projects in our city," Woods said, who described the extra money as a "much-needed shot in the arm" for the Canterbury recovery.
Projects that might benefit from the acceleration fund include completion of the stadium and financing new uses for the residential red zone, she added.
"This fund is being guided by what the people of Christchurch want. While all the projects will of course need satisfactory business cases, we are not making Canterbury decisions from Wellington," said Woods.
"Local decision-makers will be front and centre because they know what's best for Christchurch. This new way of working has already shown success with getting the Metro Sports Facility back on track."
Budget 2018 provides $298.5m of capital in 2018/19 for an acceleration fund, plus operating funding of $500,000 in 2017/18 and $1m in 2018/19 for its administration.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel welcomed the Government's meeting of its pre-election pledge to put an extra $300m into key projects.
She said the past few months have seen discussions with the Government about the work that still needs to be done in Christchurch. Today's Budget announcement means they can now begin to work out in more detail how the extra funding can be used to most benefit the city.
"We have been listening to submissions on our Long Term Plan (LTP) and it is clear that there are significant issues this will help address, for example, our earthquake-damaged infrastructure and provision of the stadium," Dalziel said.
"I look forward to meeting the minister to continue to work towards a global settlement for Christchurch, of which the fund is an enormously important component."
ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris also welcomed the announcement, saying it will give confidence that there is continued momentum around core anchor projects.
"This announcement should deliver confidence to the private sector that ongoing investment in Canterbury is supported by public sector investment," Norris said.
"ChristchurchNZ has long argued the value of the anchor project portfolio is greater than the sum of its parts and the completion of the whole portfolio is essential to the city's recovery."
Christchurch City Council will be able to apply for capital investment through the fund to complete projects beyond the arrangements already fully dealt with in the cost-sharing agreement with the Crown.
The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said the extra funding was welcomed, as business and private investors need certainty around the key anchor projects.
"This allows them to make their own investment decisions and bring jobs and growth to the Canterbury region," she said.
The chamber's submissions on the city council's LTP have stressed that businesses want to see a strong pathway indicating investment in infrastructure "to ensure we are on the events calendar again in Christchurch".
"The chambers' hope is this announcement will go some way to ensuring this is carried through in the LTP," Watson added.