The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Plan

It isn't over yet!!  CERA must end but what will it be replaced with and should it not just be allowed to languish

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Plan is due to expire five years after it commenced and the Central Government has establish a board, headed by a notorious neoliberal Jenny Shipley, to review both the transition away from CER for Greater Christchurch  and the challenge (for them) of how to avoid the long promised  return to Democracy at ECAN.

KOA is urging interested citizens to make strong submissions to save that most important of assets; DEMOCRACY

Feedback is due by 5pm, Thursday July 30th 

It is important that in making submissions we don’t fall into the trap of following the structure set up by the leading questions in the Draft Proposition 

While we see this process as an attempt to ensure all assets are stripped from the people of Greater Christchurch, Democracy is the asset under greatest threat

This page offers some back ground and some ideas or point you may like to make in submitting on this. 
Grab the Strategy 

Submissions can be made

Draft Transition Recovery Plan 
Freepost CERA 
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority 
Private Bag 4999 
Christchurch 8140 
Other Links to Resources

 from the proposal

 from Rebuild Christchurch 

Present situation
This is background to the present situation.

At the moment the only democratic institutions making local government decisions in Christchurch and the larger Canterbury region are the City and District Council. 

ECAN has suffered a coup imposed on it by a Central Government in order to facilitate the privatisation of water for irrigation

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Many of the decisions being made in the Larger Christchurch region are being made by groups such as CERA formed under the CER Act  which bypasses the local district and city councils 

We consider this to be a major attack on democracy. It amounts to disaster capitalism

The Central Government using CER Act  has instituted a series of bodies making decisions 

SCIRT which has Fulton Hogan, Fletchers, McConnell Dowell and Downer NZ on its board, with two central government bodies and one place for the Christchurch City Council (CCC). It is troubling that so many vested interests have a place at the table. We have received advice that had the work been done in house by the CCC it would have been better co ordinated, better quality and with a shorter time for street closures

HIGGS (Horizontal Infrastructure Governance Group) 

CCDU, which seems to act quite independently from the CCC and has given birth to such fiascos as the Victoria square revamp  which were costly and flew in the face of the desires of Christchurch residents

The Central Government has also imposed on the residents of the City a range of costly “Anchor Projects” which have greatly ramped up costs eg the wanton destruction of the existing and slightly damaged CCC library which could have been repaired for around 20 million but which was destroyed to make way for a Conference Precinct which is not welcomed by the people of Christchurch, this seems to have impose an extra cost of approximately 60 million on the rate payers of Christchurch

KOA suspects many of these bodies and decisions are more about forcing the people of Christchurch to sell the assets that have served us well and allowed the city to restrain rate raises

Points to Consider 

The process of asking for comments is problematic;

The tone of the Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Regeneration, Draft Transition
Recovery Plan, July 2015 is problematic, with many self-congratulatory but controversial statements, (eg the celebration of the privatisation of part of Hagley Park in the interests of a private entertainment organisation, NZ Cricket) and leading questions in the form of “things to think about” boxes.

We have been dismayed by the ineffective, inefficient and non-transparent decision making processes that have occurred under the existing model. There are a proliferation of bodies with little democratic oversight making decision which should naturally be the function of local government.

We have concerns that the board drafting the Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Regeneration, Draft Transition Recovery Plan, July 2015, has a strong bias towards the replacement  of democratic local government with a model of governance more suited to the board of a private business.

Two of the “Strategic Partners” (ECAN and Ngai Tahu) with whom the plan was developed are not democratic bodies which gives rise to questions as to how this draft is democratic.

We strongly call for any and all legislation concerning the expiry of the CER Act  to go through a select committee process and full examination in Parliament, Section 1.3 seems to have this important restoration of democracy being passed as an Order in Council. This is not a satisfactory process for such legislation.

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The online submission form begs many questions about a return to democracy for Canterbury eg Do you think that the proposed new arrangements for the central city will create the ‘step change’ needed to drive business confidence and investment in the central city? The main purpose of the legislation should be to re-establish local democratic control through local government.

The process of submitting on proposed legislation should insist on Names and Addresses at the very least.
Re-establishing Democracy

Re-establishing Democracy
The restoration of full local body democracy to Greater Christchurch and Canterbury 

The most important concern any one loyal to the idea of New Zealand as a democratic country is the concerted attack on local body democracy in Canterbury even before the earthquakes and continuing presently with vague threats against our District Health Board

This must stop now!

Democracy and full council functions must be re-established immediately.

Not only for the CCC but also for ECAN

Decisions should be made transparently with the importance of the people placed before “Strategic Partners” 

The role of “Strategic Partners” should be reduced, NZ has a tradition of citizen democracy;  we are not a republic of undemocratic “Strategic Partners” 

There is no room in a democracy for “autonomous business” to be involved in function and decisions that should be made by council

The decisions that have been made by bodies such as HIGGs, CCDU, and SCIRT do not display a strong delineation between procurer and provider. This practice must stop immediately and all such functions return to the CCC with the financial support promised in the early stages of the response. 

The cost resulting from decisions made by these undemocratic bodies should be immediately taken up by the Central Government which created the structure in the first place

The cost share agreement, and decisions made by such undemocratic bodies such as HIGGs, SCIRT and CCDU have financially constrained the ability of the CCC to make democratic decision reflecting the needs and wishes of Christchurch residents and citizens.

The cost share agreement with between the Central Government and the CCC must be renegotiated to ensure that decision have strong local democratic input

The costs resulting from inefficient and unwelcome decisions made by undemocratic bodies (CERA, SCIRT, HIGGs CCDU) should be immediately taken up by the Central Government which created the structure in the first place

The anchor projects (white elephants) should be reconsidered, delayed or abandoned and the CCC must be empowered to make those decisions.

The Central Government has received a large windfall (earthquake fall) of taxes, both GST and Income tax, resulting from the extra activity that the rebuild generates, that far outweighs the contribution it has made to the recovery of Greater Christchurch.

The Central Government also promised to do all it could to ensure the viable recover of the Christchurch

Together these create a moral imperative for the  Central Government to increase its contribution to the rebuild

The Central Government must cease all pressure on the CCC to sell assets.