At an extraordinary meeting last Friday Christchurch City Council agreed in principle to giving a $10 million grant to help pay for the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral. Mayor Lianne Dalziel talks about the rationale behind that decision.
"When the Anglican Church announced the results of the opinion poll they had commissioned about the future of Christ Church Cathedral, there was one message that dominated. Make a decision now. People just want action.
"When Bishop Victoria Matthews announced that the Anglican Synod would make the decision between reinstatement or full demolition and replacement, the Council needed to act.
"If the Synod decides not to reinstate, then there will be lengthy legal proceedings and more uncertainty for years to come.
"Last Friday, the Council decided to back up the Government's offer to support reinstatement with a grant of $10 million, subject to public consultation.
"This special grant is not in our Long Term Plan, so as soon as the Synod has made its decision, we will institute a special consultative procedure, which will consider the grant and the terms under which such a grant would be made.
"Although such a grant can be seen as a recognition of the Cathedral's heritage status and its important contribution to civic life and the Christchurch visitor experience, it is in fact the desire for certainty about the future of Cathedral Square and what that means for our city's recovery that drives my wish to see a final decision made that is not subject to litigation.
The government's proposal to legislate, backed by other political parties, gives us the certainty we need to move on.
"In writing to the Bishop [PDF, 1.2 MB] to formalise the Council's proposed contribution to the government's package to support the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral, I noted that Bishop Matthews was only the 8th Bishop since the Diocese was established in 1856. This was the same year that Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter, New Zealand's first city, and the Cathedral was, of course, a seat for the bishop.
"There is an inextricable link between our history of European settlement as a diocese and a city. In many respects, our interests are just as intertwined today as they were then.
"The Government has worked hard to develop an offer which should give the Synod the confidence to make a decision that will not lead to costly and lengthy legal proceedings. It's a circuit-breaker.
"I'm hoping that the Council's proposed contribution will add weight to the Government's offer and at the same time show the Synod that it is not just the fate of the Cathedral that lies in their hands - it's the ability for the heart city to flourish once more."
- Lianne Dalziel
The $10 million grant approved by the Council is subject to:
• The Anglican Synod deciding to reinstate the ChristChurch Cathedral; and
• The Crown and other contributors confirming their financial commitment to the reinstatement; and
• Public consultation and, depending on the outcome and a final decision by Council, the Council’s contribution being provided for in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan.
The Council's grant is proposed to be paid out in installments over the period of the rebuild, with the money only becoming available once the funds being contributed by the Crown and the Church have been applied to the project. If the fundraising exceeds the amount required for the reinstatement, the Council's contribution will be adjusted accordingly.
The Cathedral Working Group(external link) Report estimated the Cathedral could be reinstated for $100 million.
The Crown has offered the Anglican Church a $10 million grant and a $15 million suspensory loan to help pay for the cost of the Cathedral’s reinstatement. It has also said it will help with legislation to streamline the regulatory processes so work on the Cathedral can be fast-tracked.
The Great Christchurch Building Trust has pledged $13.7 million towards the cost of reinstatement and has offered to do more fundraising.
The Anglican Church has $42 million from its insurance pay out to put towards reinstating the Cathedral.
You will be able to have your say on whether the Council grant should be confirmed during a special consultative procedure that will be run after the Synod confirms the fate of the Cathedral in early September.