Christchurch City needs to step back on asset sales

Christchurch City Council’s announcement that it has engaged Cameron Partners to provide financial advice on asset sales casts doubt over the value of the consultation process for its Long Term Plan, the Green Party said today.

“Mayor Lianne Dalziel is insisting that no decision has been made on asset sales and that the decision will occur only after the consultation has concluded,” said Eugenie Sage, the Green Party’s Christchurch spokesperson.

“If that is the case, why on earth would Christchurch City spend money for financial advice on asset sales that may not even happen?

“Cameron Partners provided the report that led to the proposal for asset sales, so they are hardly independent.

“Now Christchurch ratepayers are going to fork out more money to Cameron Partners to advise how to sell Council-owned assets such as Orion, the Lyttelton Port, and Christchurch Airport, even before any decision to sell them has been formally made.

“The Council has been panicked into the asset sales proposal by Cameron Partners, and should step back and wait to see what the people of Christchurch have to say before proceeding any further.

“Asset sales will reduce the Council’s future dividend revenue from its assets, and this will create pressure for rates rises and further asset sales in years to come.

“Asset sales are a short-sighted decision for Christchurch City, and the Council needs to look at alternatives to manage its debt, such as abandoning or deferring big capital projects such as the proposed stadium, cutting operational costs, and renegotiating the cost-sharing agreement with the Government,” Ms Sage said.