Give power back to Christchurch, Green Party urges

The Green Party is calling for the Government to give power back to the people of Christchurch to lead the city's recovery by amending the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill.

The Green Party is calling for the Government to give power back to the people of Christchurch to lead the city's recovery by amending the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill.

The Local Government and Environment Select Committee reported the Bill back to Parliament today after considering submissions. The Green Party opposes the Bill as reported back.

“There was a strong call by submitters for local leadership. The Bill fails to provide this and needs significant changes," said Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill should be about empowering the new entity Regenerate Christchurch, local councils, especially Christchurch City Council and the community to plan and make decisions that affect our city.

“By keeping key decision-making powers in the hands of Minister and Government agencies, the Bill is a lost opportunity to have a genuine partnership between central Government and the people of Christchurch. It perpetuates the central command and control thinking of the CERA era.

“The powers that central Government will retain under the Bill are excessive and heavy-handed. They risk weakening the role and initiative of Regenerate Christchurch from the start.

“Regeneration plans will be important in guiding the city's development. The Bill allows CEOs of any relevant government agencies to initiate a regeneration plan, the relevant Minister to decide whether the plan should proceed, the government agency to develop it, with the Minister then deciding to approve, decline or amend it.

"If Regenerate Christchurch is to fulfill its potential, it, rather than central government, should have the primary responsibility for initiating and deciding whether regeneration plans should proceed, especially within Christchurch City,” said Ms Sage.

“The Bill also needs changing to wind back the sweeping powers it gives Ministers to override other legislation and council and agency plans and policies under other legislation.

“The post-quake emergency phase is long gone and the emergency style powers in the Bill need to go too. Otherwise the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and other agencies risk being CERA in disguise.”

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