$300m for quake fund

The Press - - Front Page - Liz McDon­ald liz.mcdon­ald@stuff.co.nz

Progress on a new sta­dium ap­pears to be the big win for Christchurch from the first Labour Bud­get for a decade.

Along­side a new in­sur­ance tri­bunal and cash to help patch up health­care and school build­ing deficits, the Gov­ern­ment has de­liv­ered the city its promised

$300 mil­lion to hurry the re­build. How­ever, there was no sign of

$100m trans­port cash promised to the city by Labour last year.

Greater Christchurch Re­gen­er­a­tion Min­is­ter Me­gan Woods said the sta­dium was likely to be ‘‘the first cab off the rank’’ from the re­build fund.

In­tended for items such as the sta­dium, res­i­den­tial red zone and in­fra­struc­ture re­pair, the re­build money will go to Christchurch City Coun­cil on a project-by project ba­sis, and will be avail­able in the up­com­ing fi­nan­cial year.

The city can choose pri­or­i­ties but needs gov­ern­ment sign-off and busi­ness cases show­ing strong eco­nomic, so­cial or en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits. Woods said the Crown and coun­cil would work to­gether on the sta­dium busi­ness case as soon as coun­cil’s

2018-19 bud­get was set.

The coun­cil will put $253m to­wards the sta­dium, which could cost up to $500m, with the Gov­ern­ment bound by a cost-shar­ing agree­ment to contribute.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said with cer­tainty about the Gov­ern­ment’s sta­dium con­tri­bu­tion, the busi­ness case would re­veal ‘‘what the ap­petite is for pri­vate -sec­tor in­volve­ment as well’’.

Dalziel also said the fund was

only part of what the city needed, and she looked for­ward to ‘‘meet­ing the Min­is­ter to con­tinue to work to­wards a global set­tle­ment for Christchurch’’.

ChristchurchNZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Joanna Nor­ris said the fund­ing would give the pri­vate sec­tor con­fi­dence to in­vest, while Can­ter­bury Em­ploy­ers’ Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Leeann Watson said busi­nesses needed to see ‘‘a strong path­way’’ to­wards in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment ‘‘to en­sure we are on the events cal­en­dar again in Christchurch’’.

Among other items in Fi­nance Min­is­ter Grant Robert­son’s Bud­get were $6.5m to es­tab­lish and run a Christchurch in­sur­ance claims tri­bunal and $3.3m for an Earth­quake Com­mis­sion (EQC) in­quiry.

Courts Min­is­ter An­drew Lit­tle said the tri­bunal would be ‘‘a vi­tal part of help­ing peo­ple get their claims sorted’’. Woods said it would be ‘‘an ac­tive, in­di­vid­u­ally case-man­aged res­o­lu­tion process for claimants and their in­sur­ers, as well as me­di­a­tion ser­vices’’.

The in­de­pen­dent in­quiry could com­pel ev­i­dence, hold pub­lic hear­ings and get needed in­for­ma­tion, and would help di­rect changes to the EQC Act and a re­view of in­sur­ance con­tract law,

‘‘A vi­tal part of help­ing peo­ple get their claims sorted.’’ Courts Min­is­ter An­drew Lit­tle on the EQC tri­bunal

Ed­u­ca­tion

A $62m in­jec­tion into the Christchurch schools re­build fund will pro­vide some re­lief after Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins claimed last week the project was $215m short of what the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment promised.

Fam­i­lies in Christchurch will also get a share of in­creased fund­ing for behavioural and learn­ing sup­port in early child­hood cen­tres, teacher aides, and spe­cial­ist ser­vices for high-needs chil­dren.

Trans­port

The Bud­get did not de­liver Labour’s pre-elec­tion com­mit­ment of an ex­tra $100m for pub­lic trans­port in Christchurch.

Last year the party com­mit­ted to the in­vest­ment, which was to in­clude com­muter rail be­tween Rolle­ston and the city. When the Gov­ern­ment re­leased its 10-year draft trans­port plan in April, Woods said money was ‘‘on the ta­ble for com­muter rail in Christchurch’’, but it would not hap­pen overnight.

The funds are ex­pected to come from the $4 bil­lion Na­tional Land Trans­port Fund, sourced from fuel tax, road user charges and reg­is­tra­tions

Health

Can­ter­bury’s Dis­trict Health Board will get a share of $100m com­mit­ted na­tion­wide for ‘‘ad­di­tional deficit sup­port’’. It is un­clear how this sup­port will be dis­trib­uted among 16 of 20 boards fore­cast­ing a com­bined deficit of $189m, which could fur­ther bal­loon after nurses’ pay rises. Can­ter­bury fore­cast a $58.5m deficit by year’s end, up from $53.6m ex­pected in its an­nual plan.

KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Grant Robert­son and Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern on their way to pre­sent­ing the Labour-led coalition Gov­ern­ment’s first Bud­get in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day. Fol­low­ing is Greens co-leader James Shaw.

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