Future Canterbury Network looks forward to an end to uncertainty

“The announcement by the Government today that a specialist unit inside CERA will lead the redevelopment of the centre of Christchurch is a welcome sign that we are moving out of 18 months of uncertainty,” the Chairman of the Future Canterbury Network, the Hon Philip Burdon, said today.

“Canterbury and Christchurch have struggled to cope with the impacts of the earthquakes since September 2010 and often we have looked for a vision and for leadership from those in charge.

“The Minister’s announcement will give people and businesses hope that someone is in charge who can make the hard decisions which are needed to take the city into the future.

“We are encouraged that there will be a blueprint within the next 100 days.  Hopefully this plan will give investors, homeowners and the insurance sector the confidence they need to start making the investment decisions on which the new city will depend.  If not, we face an exodus of investment from the city which will damage it for many years to come.

“There will be many important questions to be answered about the central city.  But, in addressing these CERA must not lose sight of the pressing need to give certainty and confidence to the people of east Christchurch and the hill suburbs – many of whom as still living without basic services such as sewage.

“We must do something urgently about the provision of housing so we can accommodate the workforce which we need to undertake the redevelopment of our city.

“Other urgent questions surround the future of the Anglican cathedral and the Roman Catholic Basilica.  The way in which these questions are resolved will have profound effects on people’s perceptions about our city.

“As others have said, central Christchurch is facing major redevelopment which means that a rebuild of what was there before is impractical and undesirable.  We need to develop a forward looking city which our grandchildren will want to live in. Greater Christchurch has been pummelled by an unprecedented disaster which has led to increasing frustration as people have looked for, but not seen, the vision and leadership they expect – the challenge now is to have the courage to take the bold steps which are needed to give people hope,” concluded Mr Burdon.

New Unit for the rebuild of central Christchurch

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Developer lays out a plan for Christchurch

“The Council’s Plan for the inner city is fatally flawed and should be scrapped,” says the man behind the Show Place development, Ernie Henshaw.

“If responsibility for the planning and control of the inner city rebuild is not moved to a new and competent commercial body, incorporated under CERA, Christchurch could be facing tragic circumstances in 4-5 years from now.”

Read the rest of Ernie’s paper from the following link

Inner City Solution by Ernie Henshaw

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Turning disaster into opportunity – Hon Lianne Dalziel

“I have given my address the title Turning Disaster into Opportunity because despite some of the criticisms I will level at the recovery effort, I remain committed to and optimistic for the city of my birth,” said Christchurch East MP Hon Lianne Dalziel to an international insurance and finance conference in Auckland on Wednesday 30 November.

“As an elected representative I feel a personal sense of obligation to my constituents and to the city as a whole. That’s why I want our earthquake legacy to be a powerful message of recovery leading to new opportunities that makes us more resilient and more committed to sustainability than we were before – and that is a legacy that I want us to share with the rest of New Zealand, so that the cost of rebuilding our city becomes an investment in our future as a nation.

“Social capital and resilience were words which I thought I understood 18 months ago, but a 4.35am wake-up call on Sept 4 last year and the even more devastating Feb 22 event and all that followed have left me with a practical understanding of something that was nothing more than theory until then. There is much to learn from our experience in Christchurch.
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“Scrutiny needed” – Press Editorial endorses FCN

The Press, in its Editorial on Tuesday 22 November, says the Future Canterbury Network  has performed the role of conducting a “rigorous audit” from an “independent organisation intent on promoting the common good.”

“It should be encouraged in doing so no matter its conclusions.  Its work boosts transparency in local government and provides citizens with reliable facts and substantiated opinions on which they can base their judgements of civic leaders.

“It is regrettable, therefore, that it is not only the mayor [Bob Parker] who has failed to welcome scrutiny. Gerry Brownlee, the Earthquake Recovery Minister, refused to let Cera cooperate with the network because that, he said, would waste time.  That is a wretched response to a community that has not lost its liking for open administration even if the lives of its members have been severely disrupted by the quakes.  Swift and quality recovery can go hand in hand with accountable governance.

“Last Saturday’s 400-strong protest march to Cera’s headquarters, calling for an independent review body to deal with grievances, shows that the public’s concern about the way the recovery is being handled is strong.  The authorities, whether they be led by Gerry Brownlee or Bob Parker, need to take account of that, even if they think their leadership vigorous and wise.  They need to open their stewardship to scrutiny.  After all, if they have nothing to hide, then why hide it?”

The full Editorial available here

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Cera’s review pleases

A positive review of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has pleased chief executive Roger Sutton, who has defended the organisation’s transparency.

The Future Canterbury Network, an independent group of business and community representatives, released its report on the authority’s performance on Sunday night.

The panel of six concluded Cera had surpassed “reasonable expectations” in seven of nine categories, with its “shared recovery vision for the future” exceeding expectations with a mark of 3.29 out of 4.

However, the review criticised the organisation for its planning progress and lack of transparency.

Sutton said yesterday he was happy with most of the report’s findings.”I’m pleased to see that they’ve found a lot of positives with the work that we’re doing.”

He was “comfortable” with the level of transparency within the organisation, as well as its communication efforts.

“We all went into the job knowing that we weren’t going to keep all the people happy for all of the time.”

Sutton said he was happy with Cera’s performance, but acknowledged public frustration with the slow release of land reports.

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Cera ‘lacking in transparency’

The Press in an article by journalist Paul Gorman says:

“The efforts of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority have largely impressed an independent panel, though the authority has been slammed for its lack of transparency.

“After the less-than-satisfactory report the Future Canterbury Network handed the Christchurch City Council late last week, the panel issued its judgment on Cera at midnight last night.

“The panel of six concluded that the authority had surpassed “reasonable expectations” in seven of nine categories, with its “shared recovery vision for the future” exceeding expectations with a mark of 3.29 out of 4.0.

“Cera received a thumbs-up for leadership, aspirational strategy, governance, community engagement, informed regulation and infrastructure management.

‘The assessors believe Cera has done an excellent job in the delivery of a number of its statutory obligations and that Canterbury people can take comfort from the progress which has been made and the evident huge commitment of the staff of the organisation.’

“However, the authority’s planning was deemed a “work in progress”, scoring only 1.25.

‘While the planning process has commenced, and a delivery date is noted, no information was available to identify whether expected progress had been made in each of the planning areas identified,’ the report said.

“The panel was scathing about the lack of help it had received from Cera in carrying out the review.

‘Unfortunately, other aspects of the evaluation were frustrated by the decision of Cera not to engage effectively with the evaluation process.

‘This left the assessors with no option but to assign a rating result which reflected a lack of transparency and relevant information from Cera.”

“Last month the authority rebuffed the group’s request for information, with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee calling the review a waste of time.

‘From memory, what that outfit wanted to do was set up some sort of a tick-box thing and to have Cera people running round filling out forms. That’s not recovery; that’s just time-wasting,’ Brownlee said then. ‘Quite often, the hand-wringing talkers just get in the road of recovery, and I think this group falls in that category, sadly, even though I think there’s some very capable people involved.’

“Cera was asked again for input by the panel last week but did not reply. Asked yesterday to comment on the review, a spokeswoman for the authority said she did not think it had received a copy.

“She said chief executive Roger Sutton was out of cellphone range and would be unable to comment until this morning.

“Last week the panel said poor leadership and a lack of long-term vision at the city council could jeopardise the city’s recovery.

“The council’s performance was judged as less than reasonable in seven of the nine categories, prompting Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker to call that report a ‘hatchet job’.”

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CERA evaluation report

The fourth in the FCN series of evaluations of the entities with statutory responsibility for the recovery of Canterbury from the earthquakes was published at midnight on Sunday 20 November. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority was evaluated by a six person panel who made the following comments in their report.

“The assessors believe CERA has done an excellent job in the delivery of a number of its statutory obligations and that Canterbury people can take comfort from the progress which has been made and the evident huge commitment of the staff of the organisation to achieve outstanding outcomes.

“As general comment it is considered that CERA, as an organisation, is performing at or above expectations as a strategic leader and coordinator of rebuilding and recovery efforts.

“The assessors were particularly impressed with the level of high quality and up-to-date information being made publicly available by CERA on its website and through various forms of social media.

“In some performance dimensions, however, a lower rating was given simply because, at this stage, the organisation is part way through the development of its recovery strategy and plans.

“The assessors stress this is not a criticism but recognises a factual situation at a particular point in time combined with the decision not to provide the information requested in a timely fashion.

“Unfortunately, other aspects of the evaluation were frustrated by the decision of CERA not to engage effectively with the evaluation process.

“This left the assessors with no option but to assign a rating result which reflected a lack of transparency and relevant information from CERA.”

 

CERA Scorecard

Read Full Report

 

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