19 Sep 2013

CERA has left council a 'toothless tiger' - councillor

9:34 pm on 19 September 2013

An outgoing Christchurch city councillor has labelled the council a "toothless tiger" and has questioned its future role.

Councillors received a final briefing from Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) chief executive Roger Sutton on Thursday, before a new council is elected in three weeks' time.

Roger Sutton.

Roger Sutton. Photo: RNZ

Some asked when CERA plans to hand back power to the council.

Sue Wells says the city is effectively being run by two bodies and this needs to be discussed.

"We've ended up with two different governing bodies. We've got the council, a toothless tiger, and we've got CERA, where the governance structure is external to Christchurch and the two things are able to better aligned than they are now."

Ms Wells told Mr Sutton the council needed to know when it would go from being viewed as a stakeholder to the democratically elected body running Christchurch.

"The problem is that the council is now seen as a stakeholder and last time I checked it was actually a democratically elected body that's responsible for the functions under the Local Government Act and the Resource Management Act. Well, in truth that's not happening."

Ms Wells said she was disappointed there had not been conversations about the transition already.

Mr Sutton said he was not in a position to talk because it was early days but he would brief the new council.

Council staff, including about 50 senior managers, were briefed on Wednesday on the first stage of the transition plan.

The authority was installed to oversee everything from land zoning to the rebuild of major projects. It's expected to dissolve in April 2016.