20 Oct 2014

Chch council takes stock on year on

8:58 am on 20 October 2014

Today marks one year since nine new councillors and a new mayor officially took office in Christchurch.

This wholesale change followed intense criticism that the previous council was prone to infighting, a dysfunctional relationship with the government and the bungled handling of insurance and consenting matters.

Christchurch City Council

Christchurch City Council Photo: SUPPLIED

The lowest point for the old council was losing its accreditation to issue building consents, something it has yet to win back. Consents are still being issued but the council is deemed to be falling short when it comes to meeting industry best practice.

However progress is being made according to property developer, Mike Greer, who gave gave the new council seven-and-a-half out of ten for its performance and said consents that used to take 10 days are now being processed in as little as four hours.

Chief executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, Peter Townsend, mared the council seven-out-of-ten and said his members are telling him that while things still are not where they need to be with consents, it is moving in the right direction.

Mr Townsend said the immediate challenge for the council is meeting the $800 million budget shortfall projected in 2016.

He said in the longer term it needs to attract foreign investment in assets such as the port, something he said is possible now the council owns it 100 percent.

Canterbury University political scientist Bronwyn Hayward scored the new council eight out of ten and said mayor Lianne Dalziel, had done a better job than many were predicting making the transition from Labour MP to leader of the whole city.

Ms Hayward said one of the biggest challenges for it remains negotiating with the government over who pays for the city's anchor projects. She said the government needs to back down over big ticket items including a covered stadium.