Council adamant no asset sales for repairs

8:43 pm on 27 February 2013

Christchurch City Council has rejected Government pleas to consider selling its stake in assets to help fund its 40% share of the city's earthquake repairs and will instead raise rates and rents.

The council reaffirmed its position on Tuesday that it will not sell assets during the first day of debate on the draft of a new three-year plan that will replace a statutory 10-year financial plan.

Mayor Bob Parker said the council will not consider selling its stakes in Port Lyttelton or Christchurch International Airport Ltd.

The council is proposing a rates increase of 6.7% over the next three years. That will be made up of 4.74% to cover services and projects, as well as a 'special earthquake charge' of 1.93% to fund the council's lost income.

Earthquake Recovery Minster Gerry Brownlee said he wants to see the resolutions in detail before he makes any public comment.

Finance Minister Bill English has said the council would be in receivership if it were a business.

Canterbury Employer's Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said the council has been continually asked to at least carry out an analysis of how much the city could raise in sales should it need to.

Mr Townsend said continual rates rises make the city more and more unattractive to live in.

But Bob Parker said selling assets does not make financial sense, as it would result in higher rates in the long-term. However, he said the council is not ruling out selling some assets in the future if it needs to.