Member log in

Christchurch properties earmarked for acquisition – but doubts raised

Negotiating property values will prove the main hurdle for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s new Christchurch blueprint.

See the full blueprint at
Read also: Government opts for denser inner city living in Christchurch blueprint

Land required for the anchor projects unveiled today will be designated by the government under the Public Works Act by the end of this week, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

This effectively means an immediate freeze on all affected properties, even where developments may have begun.

Prices will be based on market values at the date the land is acquired rather than on rateable valuations, which was the formula used for residential red-zoned properties.

Ben Kepes, co-owner of a CBD property where a four-story building stood before demolition, told NBR ONLINE, "While I applaud the fact that the government has taken this opportunity to re-design the city, I have several concerns.

"Why was this entire process undertaken in extreme secrecy despite there being no valid commercial reason to do so?

"And as someone who owns property that is to be compulsorarily acquired I have some serious concerns about purchase price – we have spent significant money planning for a rebuild and am concerned that the purchase price will in no way reflect this."

"Broad brush, conceptual"

Mr Brownlee said CERA would be talking to up to 800 owners of large and small parcels of land. The city council owns some of the land.

Values may be considerably lower than pre-2010, but many owners have already received a healthy insurance payout because most were well insured.

Judicial review is generally unavailable to designated properties but the Crown/CERA must still bargain in good faith.

Mr Brownlee described the announcements today as “broad brush” and “conceptual”.

A new 2000-seat convention centre will be sited between Gloucester St and Victoria Square in the north west area of Cathedral Square and will accommodate two hotels exempt from the 28m (seven level) height restriction applying to the rest of the central city.

A 35,000-seat multisports covered stadium will go on the vacant Turners & Growers site on the blocks bounded by St Asaph, Lichfield, Barbadoes and Madras streets.

A metro sports centre with expanded seating for 5000 people will be situated immediately to the east of Hagley High School near Hagley Park. It will include indoor courts and spaces for dance activities.

A small bus exchange is destined for Lichfield/Tuam St.

Victoria Square will become more of a cultural precinct, dominated by a Ngai Tahu centre.

The hospital area will be expanded eat along Oxford Tce, while the blocks to the east of Latimer Square will be zoned for residential purposes and open space.

Other features will include cycleways and enhancement of the Avon River bank areas.

Mr Brownlee said the Crown will be the financier via CERA – however, funding lines for a city plan have been set in place by the Christchurch City Council.

The government would seek partnerships with the private sector, Mr Brownlee said.

He declined to give a time frame but said the Avon River landscaping might be the first move.

More by Chris Hutching and NBR staff

Comments and questions

I feel sorry for the property owners with all this compulsory acquisition. The property owners should be allowed to do what they like.

No doubt the government will keep its word and pay full valuations at 2007 prices.

In my experience property owners get fairly compensated in these situations, but some become greedy and demand a lotto payout.

However I agree these plans are grandiose and appear to be a pipe dream to boost the egos of those in control. Christchurch needs basic infrastructure and rebuilds of commercial and residential properties to get back on its feet, not fancy new stadiums.

But I guess new homes and workplaces are not providing enough landmarks for Mr Brownlee and CERA to be proud of. Sorry Christchurch, you have already suffered enough without these plans.

Just like eminent domain! Total communitarian behaviour a la UN Agenda 21 101.

Extra extra read all about it...coming to a town near you soon:

A Ngai Tahu 'Cultural Centre' in the square?!?! - has Brownlee started smoking crack?

he is definitely on drugs , cantabrians wont tolerate this sort of garbage

Victoria Square, not The Square

Either way, I can't see Cantabrians being too enthused about this.

Placing a 35,000 seat stadium so close to the centre, on what is prime urban living land, near the polytech, is pure lunacy. Talk about killing an area with so much potential!

Even putting aside the economic lunacy of such a large stadium, it makes zero sense.

We have a stadium. There are at least three other far more appropriate sites for a stadium that I can think of off the top of my head:

Addington (where the 'temporary' one is, that incidentally they can't even get capacity crowds to)

The old Sale Yards on the verge of Hagley Park

Or, shock horror, where the current one is...

So the vaunted 'we're putting the metro sports hub on the eastern side of the city so eastern residents can continue to be serviced as they were with QEII' rhetoric was a load of rot then? Nice. One more way they've managed to marginalise the east. I do think they are working towards ghettoisation of the area.

Hagley Park is best for stadia........and we want high rise apartment blocks allowed up and down the new Brighton foreshore please..

I think it's great. Having the stadium and sports centre close to town makes use of parking in the city and the fact that many people go directly from work to sport. It works really well in Wellington and is where Auckland went wrong. Having the city (almost) surrounded by a moat of green is great too. Not sure about the square. Unless they get more in there, when the convention centre is not is use it will be a dead area.

Finally (with real regret) a wider group of property owners is about to discover that the NZ public works act is just legalised robbery. If you think dealing with the EQC and insurance scammers was bad, wait till you find what coming. Maurice Williamson years back promised to look into the grievances with the act and sat on his chuff. The only system that fairly compensates state thievery of land is France and as a result only projects of very real community worth takes place not some whim of a 2 bit politician or planner. Just wait and you will find out that property rights mean nothing in this socialist armpit.

Great to finally see some vision and decisions made! As an inner city resident I'm very excited about our future.

Nice to hear that Louise, but are you a resident not a commercial landowner I am assumimg. With the new concepts cost going to far out way the insurance payouts, and the Central Governments input only on social necessities and the local council already in considerable debt, rate payers will be wearing massive chunk for generations to come. Take the Stadium for example Dunedin was approx $200 million, you can double that for the one proposed for CHCH and then probably add another 200 million again because it's 10 years away probably? 600 million and 350,000 population, good luck with that?

Get on with it. Looking forward to seeing some progress. I think the plan looks great and am excited about the new facilities. It will be a wonderful city to live in.

I hope they have a separate area of bars that plays good music and not just a single area that plays rubbish

Watch the young leave in their droves, unless rugby or orchestras are their thing

A horrid sanitised mish-mash of Canberra meets new-Singapore meets Paris-Disney.

The mall-owners will be ecstatic! No way in the world will the massively shrunken CBD retail area be able to have rents low enough to allow quirky one off retailers to get a foot in the door, but it is only that type of retailer who can save a dead city centre, which Chch will continue to be

When all the nice nuclear families are done walking their white middle-class children in the lovely parks, what time each night will those from the "justice Precinct" come out with their vans and stun-guns to herd the hookers, street-kids, emos, and vagrants into their nightly lockup, so that the convention-goers will not see anything other than a glossy postcard city?

What a truly nasty fake plastic place to live

Well that one was a dud!

Make everthing lower and smaller - its a city for heaven sake! This looks like a Hamiltonisation of Chch.

Show me one to double the population to a mill - not one which will halve it.

The stadium looks like a giant cash register - appropriate I guess as it will be sucking plenty of that!

Looks a bit like a municipality. Is there going to be anything to cultivate a vibrant diverse city to live in, or is this planners indulging their fantasies?

not gona happen anyway - rebuild estimate $30b (which is always under) and Ch Ch only have a working population of how many ????

Agreed. Chch looked more impressive than it really was. Half the buildings that were up were empty and rundown anyway. The working population for the CBD isn't that big. The need to build big towers in a city this size is minimal.

Nobody I know goes east of Riccarton anymore...
We've altered our life structure now and many of us don't care about the central city anymore.

Harden up Cantabs. The new stadium and convention centre on newly acquired govt land will provide some quality for your new CBD zone.

This is a rort. Compulsory acquisition at low land values, sell on to development corporations.

The sarcasm of a poster in another online forum unfortunately comes very close to an accurate summary of the corrupt unhealthy back-room dealings that have ensured this plan will keep money and power in the same sectors of Chch society. The poster stated in response to a suggestion that a land-owner would fight as long as needed to get fair value for his CBD land:

" Lets just say some very deep rooted established and powerful networks have far more means and resources to help you on your way and out of your precious spot if you become obtrusive"

Yes, those families and connections have used this event to reaffirm their control over the city, and you are quite right in saying that the legislation allows CERA to take land and do the discussing later (after they have made you go broke if you dare to argue for too long)

The legislation differs from the Public Works Act in a number of ways, and the best parallel would be with the arrival of early europeans in NZ and the exchange of blankets and muskets for land. "Draconian" doesn't even begin to describe it, and personally having read all of the CERA statutes I became ashamed to be a Kiwi 12 months ago

The overpowering theme is greed, greed, and more greed, topped off with control of the masses and removal of the individual's democratic right to do as he will with his own land

Christchurch will no longer be a city .... with its 4 designated blocks of retail, it is too small to be anything but an uncovered mall, surrounded by a Disney-esque theme-park in honour of rugby and tourism

The crowning touch is the new "Justice Precinct" which by name alone sends shivers down my spine in its connotations

Orwell's 1984 has nothing on this lot - a vile small city before February 22 2011, and an even more vile medium-sized town, moving forward

Yes there are issues, but this is a unprecedented opportunity. The negativity of many of the posters here is not what's required. What's required is some positivity to get it done, back with some patience and pragmatism that there are issues and concerns that will need to be addressed in the process. That's not being naive, it about approaching the opportunity with the only attitude that will actually achieve something that we all want in Chch