By Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister
The first of these events was the repair of the 40,000th home through the EQC project-managed home repair programme. This has left the programme with around 40,000 homes to go.
The second event was of great symbolic significance. This was the lifting on Sunday 30 June of the final cordon around Christchurch’s quake damaged city centre, which also heralded the end of the Defence Force’s deployment in the city.
The third event was the agreement between the Crown and Christchurch City Council on cost sharing arrangements for the pivotal anchor projects planned for the city’s CBD, and the repair and replacement of essential horizontal infrastructure.
These three events show just how much progress is now being made to rebuild the shattered city following the earthquakes.
The rebuild is being led by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and the government agency charged with co-ordinating the recovery and rebuild, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. They are working alongside the Christchurch City Council and doing a great job – with the full backing of the National-led Government.
Rebuilding a modern city with as much damage as Christchurch has suffered is no easy task. It is complex and demanding, but there’s no doubt the signs of increasing momentum in the rebuild are apparent.
The EQC home repair programme was established in October 2010 – after the first damaging earthquake the month before – to co-ordinate the delivery of home repairs and support confidence in the region’s rebuild.
Around 1800 full home repairs are now being completed each month – some 60 per day. There are 1300 contracting firms accredited, employing about 5000 trades people.
The cost-sharing arrangement between the Crown and council, announced on 27 June, was also a major milestone in the rebuild.
The arrangement covers both the anchor projects in the CBD and horizontal infrastructure repair and replacement, and involves the Crown footing the majority of the $4.8 billion cost – some $2.9 billion (including land).
Amongst the costs the Crown is bearing is $1.8 billion of the total estimated $2.9 billion needed for horizontal infrastructure. The Crown will also cover the entire cost of the Frame and the Convention Centre precinct, which together total more than $750 million.
These anchor projects are major elements in the rebuild of the Christchurch CBD, the heart of the city.
In late May I went with Mr Brownlee on a tour of three major construction sites in the CBD. The three buildings will be worth about $100 million once they are completed, and are employing a total of 500 people during construction.
It was further proof the CBD is fast becoming the scene of new construction – as opposed to the demolition that we have seen since the earthquakes.
There are many other signs of progress as well.
It all adds up to a rebuild in full swing, although I acknowledge there is still much to do and many people are still experiencing great frustration.
However, one thing is for certain – the Government’s commitment to backing Christchurch and Canterbury to rebuild is as strong as ever.