Christchurch Cathedral – almost there with new Government offer?


Christchurch Regeneration Minister Nicky Wagner announced on Tuesday that a new deal had been presented to the church as a means of saving the earthquake-damaged cathedral.

The package comprised a $10 million grant and $15m suspensory loan from government, a $10m city council contribution, at least $13.7m in philanthropic donations and the church’s own $42m insurance payout.

The  Christchurch City Council pledge, supported in principle unanimously by councillors behind closed doors on Friday, is subject to public consultation.

The offer also proposes new legislation, which would allow reinstatement of the cathedral to be fast tracked, and the formation of an independent fundraising trust to find the remaining money.

These two elements, and the council money, augment the original government offer made last year, and closely follow recommendations of the Cathedral Working Party report, delivered to government in November.

That report said a funding shortfall of up to $50m could be raised in three to five years.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said the latest terms were a “generous offer”.

“Because we have only just received this proposal from the Government, alongside the council contribution, there will be much for the Synod members to ponder.”

The information would be presented at pre-synod meetings ahead of the September vote.

Wagner said: “The Government contribution is a significant amount of money, but we need to balance the property rights of the church with the historical value of the building and the need to break this deadlock.”

“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants a modernised version or a contemporary new-build, but really, everyone just needs a decision. It’s time to move forward, and I think this is our best option.”


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