New Zealand Law Society - Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Bill has first reading

Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Bill has first reading

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The Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Bill has had its first reading in Parliament.

The Bill is aimed at facilitating the restoration of the Christchurch Cathedral.

Almost 7 years after the earthquake of 22 February 2011, the Category One Heritage New Zealand site remains significantly damaged and barricaded.

Cathedral demolition works were enabled under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 emergency legislation through a section 38 notice issued in 2011; that is, the works were intended to be enabled in the response and recovery phase.

Protracted litigation has delayed decision-making, with further litigation threatened if the property owner (the Church Property Trustees) proceeds with any action that is not full reinstatement. The effects of the litigation deadlock and uncertainty have extended beyond the building itself, with an impact on the recovery and regeneration of greater Christchurch, due to its uniquely central location and rich cultural value.

However, the bill is part of an offer accepted by the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch to provide certainty and confidence to the public, businesses, and investors about the future of the Cathedral.

Why the bill is needed

The objective and purpose of the bill is to facilitate the restoration of the Christchurch Cathedral. Reinstatement includes seismic strengthening, and demolition, deconstruction, improvement, enhancement or repair of any part of the Cathedral.

It is also intended to:

  • To provide a cost-effective process for reinstatement compared with processes outside the bill; or
  • To achieve earlier or greater certainty for the owner of the Cathedral and the Christchurch community generally as to the reinstatement of the Cathedral than would be likely under processes and requirements outside the bill.

The bill has been referred to the Environment Committee.