Govt funding for Canterbury 'a slap in the face'

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
City councillors say Canterbury has received a “slap in the face” over the Government’s $12 billion nationwide infrastructure package.

The North Island will receive the majority of the funding, with $3.48 billion spent in Auckland, $991 million in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, $692 million in Northland and $1.35 billion on Wellington.

Canterbury will get $159 million and Queenstown, the only other South Island area to receive any funding, will get $90 million. The $249 million allocated towards the South Island is less than the $692 million put aside for a single road in Northland, a 22km four-lane corridor from Marsden Point to Whangarei.

Sam MacDonald. Photo: Supplied
Sam MacDonald. Photo: Supplied
City councillor Sam MacDonald described this as a “slap in the face.”

“I think Christchurch and Canterbury, in general, deserves better, the reality is we are still recovering from the earthquakes,” he said.

City councillor Aaron Keown also described it as a slap in the face.

The package for Canterbury includes upgrades to more than 100 schools across the region, six transport and roading related projects, and building upgrades to Hillmorton Hospital’s mental health unit.

Aaron Keown. Photo: Supplied
Aaron Keown. Photo: Supplied
Christchurch Central Labour MP Duncan Webb thought it was “churlish” to label the infrastructure injection as a slap in the face.

“To say that is a bit of a slap in the face is unfair, because one thing that needed to happen was for Canterbury, both at a regional and city level, to come to Government with proposals that work,” he said.

City councillor Sara Templeton contested this.

Sara Templeton. Photo: Supplied
Sara Templeton. Photo: Supplied
“The New Zealand Transport Agency are funding our business cases for transport projects but they shelved it, that is not on us [city council],” she said.

City councillor and chairman of the urban development and transport committee Mike Davidson labelled the funding as a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“This seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to people who moan and complain. We have been trying to get this boost for a while and because we don’t moan and complain we get left behind,” he said.

Megan Woods. Photo: Supplied
Megan Woods. Photo: Supplied
Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration and Labour MP Megan Woods said the cash injection into the region would help prepare Canterbury for the future.

“Canterbury is of course in a unique position because our earthquake recovery necessitated major infrastructure investments in our roads, hospitals and schools. For example over the last decade, more than $1.4 billion has already been spent on Christchurch motorways projects. Today’s announcement adds to the investments already made,” she said.

The funding announcement was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson yesterday.

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