Is it any wonder investment is leaving Christchurch? [updated]
A new "plan" for the rebuilding of central Christchurch is to be announced at 6pm today.
This will be (hold on, let me count) the sixth different plan for rebuilding the central city to be announced by govt or local govt since the first earthquake.
No wonder property owners haven't got on and started rebuilding themselves.
First, they were barred from their own property. Then, with the release of each plan, they've been told their property will be confiscated if the planners deem it necessary.
The radio story announcing the new plan was accompanied by the hand wringing of Mayor Parker, bewailing the flight of investment capital out of Christchurch. Is it any wonder?
It’s still not too late to turn Christchurch into an Enterprise Zone. It could be done overnight.
No, we won’t know how Christchurch would look if that were to happen. There’d be no grand plan about which to trumpet—no great monuments for politicians to unveil; but there’d be rebuilding, you can be sure of that; the rebuilding would start, carried out by people using their own property, their own money, and expecting to turn a profit on it.
In other words: rebuilding the way this city and every great city* was built in the first place.
A simple fact forgotten by those who harbour a fetish for grand plans and a wish to keep Christchurch on welfare.
UPDATE: The citizens of Christchurch deserve more respect than to have inflicted on them more infantile boosterism, says Hugh Pavletich, Coordinator of Cantabrians Unite.
Later today an announcement will be made on the proposed central public projects. All these proposed projects will likely be loss makers, requiring on going ratepayer / taxpayer subsidies.
National and international research also illustrates the wider economic and social benefits are minimal ...- at best. Indeed - comprehensive and robust research often illustrates there are wide economic and social costs.
The focus should be on how best to provide these loss making services in whole or in part, at the lowest possible ongoing cost to ratepayers and taxpayers.
It is to be hoped the media makes a point of communicating with people both nationally and internationally, with credibility and expertise in these public projects.
In very general terms, if at the outset the development cost estimates are in the order of $800 million and because these projects appear to be rushed, it will be likely there will be substantial costs blowouts. The promoters need to be asked ( based on reputable international evidence and research ) what provision at this stage have they made for likely cost blowouts.
By rushing in to these projects, the promoters will be forced to pay excessive land costs. Going forward, central area land values are expected to fall dramatically. The public deserves to be fully informed of the additional land costs involved with these proposed rushed projects.
Even based on the initial costs estimates of around $800 million, when the ongoing costs of capital and operating losses (including insurances, maintenance, depreciation, staffing etc. etc.) are factored in, it seems likely these could be in the order of at least some 10% or $80 million a year of ongoing losses.
With a little over 150,000 households, this is in the order of $533 per household - more if there are cost blowouts.
While of course the commercial / industrial sector pay a substantial proportion of the Local Authority rates - the losses are still a cost to us all as citizens. The commercial / industrial sector will simply pass on these increased rates costs in the prices they charge for the goods and services they provide. Business is simply an intermediary.
And in the broader sense - have we got our priorities right - with people first - housing second - and business third.
Quality decisions can only be made if the citizens of Christchurch are provided with honest and credible information.
The citizens of Christchurch most certainly deserve to be treated with respect. They deserve much better than to be inflicted with infantile boosterism.