Aussie money sought for Chch rebuild

Posted 31 May 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in CBD , CERA/Govt , Rebuild , Media
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The Government's rebuild chief Warwick Isaac is courting Australians as potential investors for the Christchurch central city rebuild.

Isaacs, director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit, and CCDU investment manager James Hay have talked to Australian banks, investors and advisers about the city's earthquake recovery projects with a positive first response.

Isaacs and Hay, who returned on Wednesday, said they had knocked on doors to visit nine separate groups including one of the big four banks as part of getting the message across that Christchurch has a bright future to be part of.

While across the Tasman the pair sounded out other urban redevelopment groups about how they had dealt with problems.

These included flooding in Queensland and urban redevelopment in Brisbane and on the South Bank and around Sydney's harbour, including the Pyrmont area.

The rebuild of Christchurch has been estimated as costing up to $30 billion, with Isaacs saying it is well recognised that the necessary funds would have to come not only from insurance but central and local government and private investors.

The pair had already talked to local investors about the need for outside help "to really do the heavy lifting to generate the capital needed for the full rebuild", Isaacs said.

The universal view was that outside capital was needed, and the role of CCDU was to explore and stimulate potential investors.

Debt and equity funding would be used to provide capital for Christchurch, Hay said.

The pair had spoken to one of Australia's big four banks and said ongoing communication with these banks would be important after the July 27 release of the CCDU's blueprint plan for the recovery. "Debt is going to be a key part of it and debt is now much more focused on those institutions [the banks] now than they used to be, so we talked with them," Hay said.

The three-day trip to Australia also saw the CCDU bosses visit a variety of development agencies, including the Sydney-based Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

The authority oversees the redevelopment of an inner-city suburban area from shipping facilities to provide more commercial office space and recreational areas.

"We talked to private consulting firms that are involved in urban regeneration as well," Isaacs said.

"We were saying, `Christchurch is alive and well, we haven't gone away. We are still the second city in New Zealand and we see a bright future for us and once we are in position, the blueprint's out, we can provide more information."'

"I'd have to say the goodwill shown to Christchurch was phenomenal.They were also gauging the appetite the Australians had for return visits by the CCDU and generally found strong support despite the upsetting quake footage that has aired widely across the Tasman.

"The Anzac spirit is very much alive and well ... we sort of cold called on all of them pretty much, and they opened their doors and gave us advice freely and willingly and they're actually very interested in what is happening here."

Contact with Queensland groups also gave a sense of how that state was recovering from the floods in recent years, and how that could help with the quake rebuild.

"Queensland's been through some pretty tough times and they've had to put all the pieces of the jigsaw back together again in similar ways," Hay said.

Isaacs said within the 100-day blueprint preparation period the CCDU was looking at the issue of whether or not the Government needed to provide financial incentives to help the Central Business District rebuild along.

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