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Nicky Wagner

Bright Future: Q&A with Nicky Wagner


We caught up with National’s spokesperson for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner to discuss the issues facing the greater community and the bright future ahead of us.

 

 Nicky Wagner

 

What are the biggest issues affecting Christchurch at this time?

There are always a multitude of issues to address in a city like Christchurch. But for me the overarching issue is to create a Christchurch, post-earthquake, that is a great place to live, to work and play; a special place for us, our children and the generations to come; a place of opportunity for everyone.

We want Christchurch people to be connected to their communities, and interested and involved in everything that’s going on in our city.

 

What are your thoughts about the water restrictions and how the community is responding?

Christchurch people are justifiably proud of our world famous, clean, clear, untreated water. So, we will do almost anything to get rid of the present treatment. If, as we are told, using water more carefully and wisely will lead to ending the treatment, I think the community is absolutely up for that.

 

 

What are the focus issues for 2019?

There is a lot of change and uncertainty in the world at present and the best way to respond to that is to strengthen our families, our communities and complete the rebuild of our city. The All Right? campaign tells us that to be happy and healthy we need to connect and strengthen our relationships with others, be curious and keep learning, and be physically active.

We should pay attention to world around us and finally, to give, in terms of time, energy and interest, is more beneficial than to receive. Great advice when we are feeling a bit overwhelmed about the future.

In terms of completing the rebuild of Christchurch, we need to finalise the work on the Metro Sports complex, finish building the convention centre and decisions need to be made about the Multi Use Arena, to make it a very flexible and useable stadium.

Finishing will still take some time but every day brings new attractions, new facilities, new businesses and new ways for all of us to interact with the city. Over the holidays, and right through 2019, I hope you can take the time to visit and enjoy the city.

Walk the Promenade alongside the river, maybe cycle through Rauora Park, visit the shopping complexes, take in Tūranga, the most exciting library in the country, or scoot through the city to have coffee, food or a drink. We have a beautiful, people friendly and sustainable city. Enjoy it!

 

 

Are families returning to the area and our population numbers increasing or are we staying stagnant?

The population of greater Christchurch is increasing. Although some people left after the earthquakes, most have returned and our post-earthquake population has increased since 2013.

New people are being attracted to our city from across the country and even internationally. They are coming because there are jobs, and many people want to be part of building a new city.

Also because the cost of living is reasonable, the quality of life is great and because they see a bright future for Christchurch.

 



 

Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods: The Influencers


Dr Megan Woods
Dr Megan Woods,
Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

It was exciting to see in November that drilling is now underway at the Canterbury Arena site as part of early work to fast-track the project. Geotechnical investigations began in mid-November to determine the condition of the land as part of the Investment Case being prepared for the Arena. In total, 81 separate tests will be undertaken to give detailed information across the entire site.

The information will allow the Investment Case to consider the most favourable areas for construction, assess options for the arena layout, develop conceptual designs for the form of the arena and its foundations, and evaluate any uncertainties related to the ground conditions.

Early work will ensure we have the best information right from the start to feed-in to the design process. We know that similar ground conditions exist across the city, from other work already underway. These tests will help fill in the gaps and provide robust information for the planning process.

 

We’ll be discussing the findings of this early work as part of ongoing workshops and forums with key community and interest groups to ensure we get an arena that meets the needs of our region.

This fulfils our promise to get the project moving and to speed up the recovery in the central city. The message we received from people who attended our arena workshop in October was to get started. We heard this call, which is why we’re cracking on with the work needed to get the site ready and get the Investment Case fit for purpose.

 



 

Dr Megan Woods

The Influencers: Dr Megan Woods


It was a pleasure to announce the establishment of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS).

Dr Megan Woods
Dr Megan Woods,
Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

 

After the release of the report of my Independent Ministerial Advisor into EQC earlier in the year, it was clear that more needed to be done to help people who have been waiting for their claims to be resolved. We’ve set this up in order to give homeowners a free to access, impartial pathway to settle their claims. It will provide independent case management to bring together fast tracked claims handling, specialist engineering support, psychosocial support and legal expertise to help resolve claims.

GCCRS will operate on a ‘no wrong door’ basis. Anyone with an unresolved claim can call or come to the new office on Cashel Street and settlement support brokers will tailor the approach to suit each individual situation. Claimants will have one person in charge of their claim who will drive it along for them – they won’t need to call up and speak to a different person all the time. They will know who is responsible for settling their claim. I’ve also asked EQC and Southern Response to develop new processes to ensure a streamlined, cross-agency resolution process and I’m inviting private insurers to join this scheme too.

In the first two days, 50 people had already got in touch with the service. We know there are so many people out there who want to have their houses fixed and get on with their lives and GCCRS will allow them to do just that.



 

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

The Influencers Column: Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister
Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

For seven years, a generation of young Cantabrians has had to make do without important sporting facilities. These were meant to be provided by early 2016 in the Metro Sports Facility, a proposed world class sporting facility.
When this Government came to office, all this had come to was an empty lot. Beset by a $75 million budget blowout, the project was stalled with no realistic plan for completion. Likewise, there had been no real progress on plans or budgets for a stadium for the city to replace the one lost in the earthquake.
This wasn’t a scenario we were willing to let continue. Over the last few months the Crown has worked closely with Christchurch City Council, Sport Canterbury and the sporting codes themselves to get both facilities back on track.
Together, we have completed the detailed design of the Metro Sports Facility. Through a combination of changes to the procurement approach and final design, the estimated cost of the project was reduced by more than $50 million. This long-awaited facility is on track to open by the end of 2021.
Likewise, we’ve worked together to fast-track work on the stadium and work can begin on a detailed business case. The details will be subject to that business case, but we foresee a roofed stadium that will allow the city to host major rugby test matches and other significant sports and entertainment events.
Together we’ve been able to get real progress on projects that have been struggling and add a big boost of momentum to the recovery of our central city.

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

The Influencers Column: Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister
Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

As we head in to the 8th year since the earthquakes, Canterbury has so much to be proud of. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been repaired, large swaths of our city have been rebuilt and some truly amazing new public spaces have been created. For most people, the trauma of the earthquakes has passed, their homes have been repaired or rebuilt and life has returned to a “new normal.” A recent wellbeing survey by the DHB shows that for most people, wellbeing levels have returned to what they were before the earthquakes.
For too many people though, this progress has been elusive – for the just over two and a half thousand people still waiting for their EQC claim to be settled, life cannot move on. What’s even more frustrating for people is that almost all of these outstanding repairs are remedial repairs – cases where work has already been done but has had to be re-repaired because of issues or faulty work.
Getting progress for these people is a key priority for me as Minister – we cannot be said to have truly recovered from the earthquake until every Cantabrian can move on with their lives and have hope in their future. That’s why I’ve appointed an independent Ministerial Advisor to work with EQC’s board and management on a plan to urgently resolve these outstanding claims and get progress for these people at last.
Seven years is too long to wait, it’s time these people were finally able to move on.

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

The Influencers Column: Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister
Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

One of the biggest remaining challenge of our rebuild is the ongoing mental health impacts of the earthquakes – especially for our kids. As well as the initial trauma, there have also been the years of slow grinding recovery, which has been especially hard for the people still stuck in broken homes and battling EQC or their insurance companies.
That is why there has been a 93 percent increase in demand for mental health services for young people in Canterbury since 2011.
This is something that our Government is committed to taking action on. It is why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced we will give every child in Canterbury and Kaikoura access to a mental health professional through their school.
We will spend $28 million hiring a range of mental health professionals from counsellors to psychiatrists to work alongside schools and teachers to help our local kids get the support they deserve. The roll out will start in the east of Christchurch and Hornby and will be completed by mid-next year.
This policy has been designed alongside experts at the CDHB. They have been some of the unsung heroes of the recovery, providing mental health for people who need it most. By working in partnership with local experts, we have been better able to understand the needs of Canterbury kids, and have come up with a plan that I believe will make a huge difference for our young people.