The Anglican church says a British multimillionaire’s suggestion that it hand over Christ Church Cathedral for restoration is “completely bizarre”.
UK businessman Hamish Ogston yesterday announced he would fund an independent survey to find out what residents wanted to see happen to the ill-fated Cathedral Square centrepiece.
I’ve got a better idea. Why doesn’t Mr Ogston fund an independent survey to find out what residents think he should do with his money and property.
The media announcement took place at the Christchurch City Council building alongside former MPs and co-chairmen of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT), Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon, and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
I don’t expect Anderton or Dalziel to understand what private property rights are. I’m disappointed that Burdon doesn’t seem to either. It is not their bloody cathedral. It is the Anglican Church’s.
Spokesman for the Anglican Diocese Jayson Rhodes told The Press Bishop Victoria Matthews was “astounded” when she heard about Ogston’s proposal through the media. “There was no information, no invitation to the announcement – there was nothing,” he said.
“It’s just completely bizarre and we feel like the odd one out at kindergarten when everyone else has been invited to a party except us.”
Dalziel said she liked the idea of “asking what people want for the heart of their city”.
“If the people of Christchurch send a strong message, it will help the conversation.”
No it won’t. Asking people about what a private owner should do is not helpful, but gross interference. It is even less helpful when the decision has been made, after the Church itself ran its own consultation exercise.