Christchurch councillor Yani Johanson says the Government negotiated the formation of the Christchurch Central Development Unit with Mayor Parker - but kept the rest of the council in the dark.
I need to say I do think the government genuinely wants to help the City of Christchurch and I appreciate that. Business and investor confidence is critical and should be encouraged. So too should community input and public participation.
However people should be concerned about the formation of the Christchurch Central Development Unit for several reasons.
First it removes another layer of local democracy.
It undermines the Council’s draft annual plan which is due to go out for consultation tomorrow and was signed off by Council last week. This is because Council’s only task now is to ask how much of residents money we should put into major facilities without having any say into what those facilities will be and where they will go. Government has taken over the function.
Secondly there is a complete lack of details about what in the plan has been agreed to. There is no document or agreement that has been formally signed by the elected Council.
There is no details about what parts of the plan have been included or not. What is happening with height limits? Who is responsible for traffic planning?
The minister is quoted in Parliament as saying “we have taken a bottom-up, consultative, and community-driven approach to recovery.” I don’t believe this to be true.
He also says “we have been having a lot of discussions with the Christchurch City Council” Maybe with one or two people within the organisation but not the democratically elected council.
We were verbally told at 4pm on Tuesday for a 10.30am announcement the next day. What government have done is negotiate an announcement in confidence with the Mayor, a process that Councillors have been entirely excluded from.
That to me is not collaboration with the Council.
There has been no working together over this announcement, and no openness and transparency.
This is despite the principles of the draft recovery strategy highlighting that those are core values for which the recovery will follow. Worrying times indeed.