16 Feb 2018

Council proposes rate rise to cover earthquake repairs

3:20 pm on 16 February 2018

The Christchurch City Council is proposing to raise rates by more than five percent, partly to help cover remaining earthquake repairs.

The Christ Church Cathedral has been abandoned for almost six years.

The plan also includes a rate which would cover a $10m grant towards the restoration of the ChristChurch Cathedral. Photo: 123rf.com

The proposed 5.5 percent increase comes as part of the council's draft Long Term Plan 2018-28, which is expected be debated at a meeting next Wednesday.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said infrastructure was the biggest challenge, which the council expected to spend $4.18 billion on in the next decade.

Ms Dalziel said this was partly because a lot of the earthquake damage was not repaired under the former infrastructure programme - SCIRT - or the cost-sharing agreement with the government.

"We need to have a serious conversation with the community about what we prioritise in this Long Term Plan, what we might defer, and what we might look at doing differently," she said.

Ms Dalziel said the council either had to delay or drop some projects or increase rates.

A report on the total cost of the earthquakes by accountancy firm, Deloitte, was included in the Long Term Plan.

"Deloitte calculates the total cost of the earthquakes will be more than $10 billion," said Ms Dalziel.

"That is a significant burden for a city the size of Christchurch and helps to explain why we have had to prioritise some things over others."

The Long Term Plan also included a targeted rate which would cover a $10m grant towards the restoration of the ChristChurch Cathedral.

In September, the Anglican Synod voted to reinstate the building at a cost of $104m.

This came with the council's $10 million pledge, as well as funding and loans from the government and the Greater Christchurch Building Trust.

In the proposed Long Term Plan, Christchurch ratepayers would have to fork out $7.19 per property for the next decade to cover the council's contribution.

The Long Term Plan also included funding new community facilities, reducing flood risk, improving roads and water supply infrastructure, and maintaining parks and riverbanks.

Ratepayers can have their say on the long term plan in March and April.

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