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Unlocking Potential – Labour’s Plan for Canterbury

Labour has a vision for a better, fairer New Zealand. We’ll prioritise investments in our schools, hospitals, transport infrastructure and the environment. With the right investments in the right places, our country will be the envy of the world. 

Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island, the heart of its economy and vitally important to New Zealand, so it’s only right that we have a comprehensive plan to show Cantabrians before they vote. We want Christchurch to thrive again so that’s why our plan focuses on unlocking the potential of our city with urgency, breaking the existing deadlocks that have been slowing down the regeneration of this great place.

Labour will begin implementing our plan immediately, achieving key milestones within our first 100 days, and provide certainty and transparency for the people of Canterbury. Our plan has eight crucial components, each demonstrating Labour’s commitment to get the region moving – and thriving.


Labour will:

  • Offer certainty to residents, developers and investors about exact plans for the CBD through a Global Settlement with the Christchurch City Council that settles the long term ownership, liabilities, opportunities and ongoing funding for all anchor projects.
  • Establish a $300m capital acceleration facility to develop the red zone, contribute towards a new stadium and deal with the gaps in the horizontal infrastructure programme in partnership with the Christchurch City Council as part of the Global Settlement.
  • Address the immediate need for mental health services with funding for an extra eighty mental health professionals across primary and intermediate schools in the city and fund primary mental health teams in the area to work with GPs, PHOs, the DHB and mental health NGOs. 
  • Repair the relationship with the Canterbury District Health Board with urgency, to ensure services are properly resourced to reach the people who need them. This will be the first step in a broader review of the funding model. 
  • Commit an additional $100m towards multi-modal public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD as a first step with a view to expand north following that.
  • Establish a new governance group to accelerate the 10 year rebuild programme of Christchurch schools, bringing together the Ministry of Education, local representatives and external expertise. 
  • Restore full democracy to Environment Canterbury
  • Help people still experiencing frustration with residual issues from the earthquakes move forward by:
    • committing to the continued operations of the Residential Advisory Service for as long as necessary with an initial $400k injection and an additional $500k to enable direct access to legal advice from Community Law;
    • establishing a $1m fund for test cases to offer clarity on major issues such as the Limitation Act;
    • establishing an arbitration tribunal with an inquisitorial focus as an alternative pathway for claimants, EQC and insurers to resolve disputes. The principles by which it will operate include:
      • Fast track; no delays at request of insurance companies
      • Decide claims based on equity and good conscience
      • Allow compensation for distress caused by undue delay by insurance companies
      • Limited appeal rights will be preserved.

Thousands of people are still dealing with faulty repairs and unresolved claims with their insurers. The arbitration tribunal will be an important mechanism for helping people get on with their lives. Claimants will face no costs to access the tribunal and the adjudicator will appoint experts. There will be a three week deadline on all participants following filing to supply the tribunal with relevant documentation to ensure a fast resolution. We expect the tribunal will be made up of senior members of the legal profession and for it to be up and running as soon as possible in 2018.

Labour will be transparent and accountable. By the end of our first 100 days we'll report back to the people of Canterbury on our progress and establish a clear timeline of achievements to be met before the end of our first term.

Labour has also promised a number of other policies that will help the people of Canterbury, for example our commitment to extend school based health services to all public secondary schools so every school has a comprehensive youth mental health service. 

We’ve also committed to a Royal Commission on EQC to get to the bottom of many issues Cantabrians have faced in recent years, we will support the redevelopment of New Brighton in partnership with Council and Stakeholders to deliver on the New Brighton Masterplan (by reinstating schedule 4 into the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016) and we’ll underwrite the risk of projects such as the East Frame, to accelerate quality and affordable housing in the heart of Christchurch.

These commitments, along with our other people-focused policies that apply to the whole country, will put the regeneration of Christchurch back on the fast track and allow this great region to be everything it can be. Let’s do this.