Taxpayers and ratepayers offer $35 million for Cathedral rebuild

The Press reports:

The offer includes a $10 million Christchurch City Council pledge – supported in principle unanimously by councillors behind closed doors on Friday, but subject to public consultation – a Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) pledge of $13.7m, a $10m Crown cash contribution and a $15m government loan that would not have to be paid back if the restoration was completed in a reasonable time and stayed within budget. That money, along with the church’s insurance proceeds of nearly $42m, amounted to just over $90m of the estimated $104m restoration cost.

So the contributions would be:

  1. Insurance $42 million
  2. Taxpayers $25 million
  3. GCBT (public) $14 million
  4. Anglican Church $13 million
  5. Ratepayers $10 million

As a taxpayer I can think of much better things to spend $25 million on. But I can understand that a decision is needed as soon as possible, so other development work can occur. The uncertainty has gone on for too long.

The offer also proposes new legislation, which would allow reinstatement of the cathedral to be fast tracked, and the formation of an independent fundraising trust to find the remaining money. 

So the Anglican Church may not even need to find the $13 million shortfall. Can’t see them saying no.

Wagner said: “The Government contribution is a significant amount of money, but we need to balance the property rights of the church with the historical value of the building and the need to break this deadlock.” 

“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants a modernised version or a contemporary new-build, but really, everyone just needs a decision. It’s time to move forward, and I think this is our best option.”

Yeah, just decide.  I have no problems at all if the Anglican Church says no – it is their cathedral, not ours. But it looks a pretty generous offer.

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