Cathedral restoration: Church disputes Government offered 25m


Bishop Victoria Mathews called an emergency media standup on Sunday to refute Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee’s claim that  the Government offered the church a $25 million deal to restore the building.

On Friday Brownlee said he was disappointed an offer to help with the restoration of the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch was turned down by the Church Property Trustees (CPT).

He said the offer was made up of $10m in cash and a $15m loan.

The Bishop says Brownlee’s claims of a $25 million offer of Government help are incorrect.

“CPT reached an agreement with mandated Crown negotiators including the Christchurch working group chairman Geoff Dangerfield . . . before Christmas,” Matthews said on Sunday.

“That agreement, to CPT’s surprise, proved not acceptable to the minister and at the last minute a two page, non-binding, principles document was sent through to the negotiating table.”

“This two page statement of principles significantly changed the terms in ways that were not acceptable to CPT as prudent trustees, with $42 million to put towards an over $100 million project.”

On Friday Brownlee had said a second government had made a offer with different terms.

He understood the CPT would be meeting this week to discuss the second offer.

However Matthews said there had been very limited informal discussion.

“A revised two page statement of principles, which is non-binding and which I believe has not been seen by Cabinet, arrived this week.”

“But it was not presented by the Minister, nor did we have assurance he was in favour of every aspect of it,” Matthews said.

On Friday the church said CPT has no scheduled meeting this week.

The church says a decision over the Cathedral’s fate will be out in the next six months.

The cathedral has been derelict for almost six years since the February 2011 quake, with parties at an impasse on whether to demolish or to attempt restoration.

The government set up a working group to look at options for restoration, but no deal has so far been reached.


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