|Antony Gough and 'The Terrace'|
The Mayor and the seven 'independent' councillors have decided that the good people of Chrsitchurch, already facing a massive rates hike, will subsidise the profits of wealthy property developers.
WHILE THE GOOD PEOPLE of Christchurch are set to be burdened with a massive rates hike of some 28 percent over four years, the Christchurch City Council has voted, 8-6, to rebating development contributions for commercial developments in the central city until mid-2020 or until the $5 million set aside for the new rebate scheme is exhausted.
The six People's Choice councillors voted against the rebate.
The Mayor and the seven 'independent' councillors also agreed to put another $10m aside so they can extend the rebate scheme already in place for central city residential developments until June 2017 or until the funds are exhausted.
That's $15 million worth of rebates for wealthy property developers, which the good people of Christchurch, many of whom are struggling financially, will be forced to pay. It's $25 million worth of ratepayer-funded rebates if you include the first $10 million rebate.
Leading the charge to help out his mates was none other than Councillor Jamie Gough, apparently having recovered from his Saturday night drunken antics.
It was also Gough who, in 2013, campaigned for the first $10 million rebate scheme for residential units - at the same time opposing a $50 million scheme to provide more social housing.
He claimed that developers needed a 'financial incentive' to build new residential units rather than offices in the central city as it was otherwise uneconomic.
Now these same property developers need another helping hand to build commercial offices. Apparently that's now 'uneconomic' as well.
I wrote at the time:
Wealthy property developers will now receive up to $10 million worth of 'incentives' for building ritzy townhouses and apartments. In effect, the good people of Christchurch - including those who are still living in damaged houses and garages in the eastern suburbs- will be subsidising property developers and helping them to maintain their healthy profit margins as they flog off high-end properties to other wealthy investors, who will be the only people who'll be able to afford these central city residences.
Most of the apartment buildings that have been built in the central city area have sold for a million dollars or more.
What is also extraordinary is that Jamie Gough has been able to campaign and vote for these generous rebates when he has a direct conflict of interest. His father, Tracy Gough, has extensive central city property interests. His uncle, Antony Gough, is presently overseeing construction of The Terrace, a central city river-side development. Gough has struggled to attract tenants.