Unique heritage needs protecting

A Labour government will repeal legislation which has allowed dozens of Christchurch’s most important and significant buildings to be bulldozed without community consultation following the Canterbury earthquakes, and ensure Cantabrians have their say on the future of iconic buildings like the Christchurch Cathedral.

“Almost half of the central city’s heritage-listed buildings have been lost as a result of the quakes, with only 165 of 309 heritage buildings remaining as at December last year,” Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Unfortunately that number is continuing to dwindle, with buildings like the Majestic having only recently been demolished.

“In many cases these buildings have been knocked down not because they are dangerous or can’t be saved economically, but because that was the easiest solution.

“Sadly the Government’s ‘special’ earthquake powers have only encouraged that hasty demolition.

“Our built heritage is irreplaceable. While Labour can’t promise to save all of the city’s remaining heritage buildings, we do want to ensure all options to do so have been canvassed.”

“Labour’s plans to protect Canterbury’s heritage and to support building a liveable city include carrying out an audit of all remaining heritage buildings in the CBD and wider region. We will also repeal Section 38 of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Act to ensure the community have their say before any more heritage buildings are razed.

“That guarantees the iconic Christchurch cathedral will not be demolished in haste, with any decisions on its future only being made after consultation and a proper Resource Management Act process.

 “The Canterbury region has many important priorities, including housing. But while we tackle these issues we must ensure that we don’t turn a blind eye to the heritage that makes the region so unique.” Jacinda Ardern says.