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New Zealand Bishop 'astounded' at media offer

Posted on: March 5, 2014 3:49 PM
Photo Credit: PeterL/Wikipedia
Related Categories: Christchurch, New Zealand

[AnglicanTaonga] Bishop Victoria Matthews is astounded that a media conference to announce a proposal to fund restoration of ChristChurch Cathedral was held in City Council buildings with no prior information, consultation with the Church, or without even an invitation.

One of Britain’s richest men, Hamish Ogston, today offered to fund an independent survey of residents on the cathedral’s future. He also called on the church to hand over restoration to a foundation representing the people of Canterbury.

His offer was made at the council chambers alongside Mayor Lianne Dalziel and the co-chairmen of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon.

In response, the diocesan spokesperson, Rev Jayson Rhodes, said preliminary advice showed that Church Property Trustees must retain ownership and control of the cathedral and the land it is on, and could not simply hand it over.

"Church Property Trustees have already announced a decision after extensive research and work that included public consultation a year ago,” Mr Rhodes added.

“There was no option for restoration that allowed the trustees to fufil their obligations, including that of fiscal responsibility.” 

Mr Rhodes pointed out that the mayor and councillors, along with the bishop and Church Property Trustees, had all been elected to positions of responsibility..

“With regard to the cathedral it’s time that some self-appointed custodians realized that the people of Christchurch no longer look to them to make decisions about the city. People are elected to those tasks.”

FOOTNOTE: In 2011 Mr Ogston reportedly pledged $4 million to restoration of the cathedral after being moved by a documentary of the February 2011 earthquake.