$300m to speed up project work
The Budget has set aside $300 million to accelerate the Canterbury earthquake recovery. The Government will also establish an insurance claims tribunal and an Earthquake Commission (EQC) inquiry.
Intended for items such as the planned stadium and residential red zone, the $300m will be passed on to the Christchurch City Council on a project-by project basis.
The money will be available in the upcoming financial year.
‘‘This fund is being guided by what the people of Christchurch want,’’ Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods said.
‘‘While all the projects will of course need satisfactory business cases, we are not making Canterbury decisions from Wellington.
‘‘Projects which might benefit from the acceleration fund include completion of the stadium and financing new uses for the residential red zone.’’
Woods said the council could ‘‘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’’.
‘‘This will help speed up important projects in our city.’’
Labour pledged the fund before last year’s election, saying the city could choose priorities but would need Government signoff.
It said then the spending would be subject to business cases showing strong economic, social or environmental benefits for the city.
Estimates of the stadium cost have been as high as $500m. The city council will put in $253m, with the Government bound by a rebuild cost sharing agreement to contribute. Plans for the land use in the residential red zone are still being finalised.
The Budget has also set aside $6.5m to establish and run the earthquake insurance tribunal.
Woods described it as ‘‘an active, individually casemanaged resolution process for claimants and their insurers, as well as mediation services.’’
Courts Minister Andrew Little said the tribunal would be ‘‘a vital part of helping people get their claims sorted’’.
Woods said the EQC inquiry will cost $3.3m and is intended to ‘‘get to the bottom of what went wrong, so that we are better prepared for future disasters’’.
‘‘This independent inquiry will have the power to compel evidence, hold public hearings and ensure all the information we need is put on the table’’.
She said the inquiry will help with law changes to the EQC Act and to a planned review of insurance contract law.
The final terms of reference and membership of the inquiry will be announced soon.
‘‘This will help speed up important projects in our city.’’ Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods
Some of the $300 million to accelerate earthquake recovery will go towards a new stadium for Christchurch after Lancaster Park was damaged beyond repair in the 2011 earthquake. GOOGLE EARTH