City Care

Ex-Labour MP, now mayor of Christchurch pushes ahead with asset sales

I always find it amazing then when a socialist is freed from the constraints of dogma and their party whip they find reality stalking them…

Christchurch City Council has started its controversial programme of asset sales, announcing plans to sell 100 percent of City Care.

The construction, roading and parks maintenance business – valued at $136 million – is just one of many the council wants to sell to meet a shortfall in its budget for repairs to earthquake-damaged infrastructure.

City Care employs just over 1500 workers around the country and is the largest council-owned company of its type in the country.

Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said it would be an attractive asset for some buyers.

“A company that is involved in facilities management, civil construction, building construction and so on has got to be an attractive proposition,” he said. “Probably buyers will be already involved in that area in some form or another, and this would be a good opportunity for them to scale up.”

City Care is not classed as a core asset and can therefore be sold without any public consultation.

Mr Townsend said those that were considered core assets, including the port, the airport and lines company Orion, would also be sold off – but only partially and not before next year’s local government elections.

“As the council gets further into other asset sales, there are some that are particularly sensitive, particularly their core assets which they have determined they want to retain control of.

“If they want to sell down part of those to raise capital, then we might see a bit of fun, and that will probably happen post-election.”

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