The announcement that Christchurch City Council has engaged Cameron Partners to advise on assets sales midway through the “consultation” (sic) process on the Long Term Plan only serves to confirm that the council is committed to assets stripping the city.
No proposals have been put forward to make serious changes to operating expenditure or to time spending plans to fit with what the City can afford.
Cameron Partners, the authors of the highly contested report on Christchurch City Councils funding problems, released on August last year, are investment bankers with a history of advocating privatisation.
They advised the then Labour Government against the establishment of Kiwi Bank – it was, they blustered bound to fail. The Company’s principle Rob Cameron was involved in the fire sale of Telecom back in the ‘80’s.
Suspicions that the consultation process is a sham were heightened when Mayor Dalziel ruled a resolution calling for the exploration of credible alternatives to asset sales out of order.
KOA Media Release
and retain all our public assets
under Council ownership and control
Sign the KOA petition here
The city council is running a scare campaign saying that we, Christchurch citizens, have to sell our city assets and pay huge rate increases.
There are viable alternatives to selling - reduce, delay and defer expenditure instead.
Privatisation hasn't worked in the past , It won't work now!
Sign the KOA petition here
Keep Our Assets Canterbury is calling for the consultation process on proposed asset sales to be extended and for the Council to provide ASAP written summaries of its proposals for every household.
Despite this being a consultation on a 10 year plan for Christchurch, as well as selling prized city assets, there has been no Council information provided direct to citizens. KOA activists are meeting people who have no idea what the Council is planning and they are shocked when they find out.
It’s just not good enough.
The effects of this planned review will be felt by the city for decades to come and yet the people are expected to absorb the Council’s proposals by osmosis.
Even the most engaged citizens who realise there is a consultation process need to wade through huge amounts of material online. Even then they are likely to miss the point that the Council actually wants permission to sell off 100% of all strategic assets.
“To ensure that the Council gains the greatest return from any sale, it needs the flexibility to consider the sale of part, or all of its entire holdings. ... As part of the Long Term Plan we are therefore consulting on the potential divestment by CCHL of its interest in Orion New Zealand, Lyttelton Port Company, Christchurch International Airport Ltd, Eco Central, City Care, and Red Bus.” (p15, Financial Strategy)
Christchurch City Council is also insisting that only formal submissions will be considered. Whereas other councils will take into account comments on social media for example Christchurch Council insists that only those able to find the time to make an online submission or a written submission will be heard.
The effect of this denial of information is to narrow opportunities to respond and makes this supposed consultation an undemocratic farce.
We even heard of a report where an elected Councillor declined an invitation to defend the proposed asset sales on the grounds “we are in a consultation period”. Apparently that Councillor thinks democracy does not extend to public debate and discussion.
The remedy is simply. The Council must set back the deadline for submissions (currently 28th April), provide a written summary of its proposals to everyone, engage the community and get the democratic feedback the city needs.