What might the Budget bring Chch?
Today is crunch time for the Government to front up on its preelection Christchurch promises with the release of the 2018 Budget.
Prior to the election, Labour committed to providing a $300 million rebuild capital fund; putting $100 million towards public transport, including commuter rail between Rolleston and central Christchurch; and bringing in several initiatives to help people still struggling with earthquake insurance claims – including a tribunal process to settle complex claims and establishing a $1m fund for test court cases to clarify major issues.
When these points have been raised since the new Government was formed, a common line in response has been that they are dependant on the Budget.
Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods said it was going to be an exciting Budget for Christchurch: ‘‘It’s about laying the foundations for the type of future we all want for our city.’’
Woods has previously said she had put in a Budget bid for the $300m capital fund.
The fund would be aimed at rebuild projects, like the multi-use stadium and Avon River red zone, and for road and water pipe improvements and flood protection.
The Christchurch City Council would be able to choose how the money was spent, subject to Government sign-off.
Woods previously said she has had ‘‘initial discussions’’ with the council, Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Finance Minister Grant Robertson about what projects would be considered for the fund.
A change in Government transport policy direction, moving away from state highway upgrades and towards light rail and road safety, has the $100m of transport money looking likely. Woods previously said the announcement put Christchurch commuter rail ‘‘on the table’’.
Rail between Christchurch and Rolleston makes up part of the $100m promised for public transport, with some expected for bus infrastructure, easing of congestion and the creation of commercial development opportunities.
The Labour Government’s Budget will be announced today.