Unit to attract private sector into rebuild

Posted 30 Jul 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
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A new government agency called Invest Christchurch has been set up to encourage the private sector to contribute billions of dollars toward Christchurch's rebuild.

The total rebuild cost across wider Christchurch has been estimated at $20-$30 billion with Invest Christchurch having the role of telling private investors, including insurers, what opportunities the city provides.

The facilitation service to encourage investment will be part of the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU), set up to help revamp the damaged central business district (CBD).

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs and its investment manager, James Hay, have already been talking to Australian banks and investors about the Christchurch's earthquake recovery projects.

Following yesterday's long-awaited release of the city blueprint they will again be on the front foot talking to Christchurch, New Zealand and international investors about how they see the rebuild unfolding.

Hay told The Press they would be talking to Christchurch real estate investors today before moving up to Auckland and Wellington later in the week.

Hay said the $30 billion cost included contributions from local and central government and the private sector, including insurance and fresh investment to come over the next 10 years .

"We think . . . the dominant investor in town will be the private sector."

He would not put a figure on how much he thought was needed from non-government sources, including insurance proceeds, except to say it would be more than 50 per cent over time.

"The focus is very much local, national, then international," he said. "We're definitely working with [the banks], I mean they're all here already . . . they're a key part of the equation."

Prime Minister John Key said Invest Christchurch would encourage and work with investors.

"The private sector will ultimately play the biggest role in the development of Christchurch's central city so we want to do all we can to make it easier for them to invest in the city . . .," Key said.

"Across the wider Christchurch region, as much as $30 billion will be invested by the Government, Christchurch City Council and private insurers in the rebuild and the money is already rolling in."

Invest Christchurch would seek private investment for those of the anchor projects announced yesterday that were civic assets, parks, a multi-purpose stadium, residential housing, commercial office space and an innovation hub.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said an international investment marketing campaign was set to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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