I'm more than happy to see the back of the woollier Council proposals; I hope Hutching's right that we're binning both the changes in the one-way system and the light rail scheme.
I don't think Hugh Pavletich is far off the mark in pushing for substantial devolution to local boards to help get things done; I'd have leaned that way rather than to a new centralized control body.
But at least the new board's talking some of the right talk for downtown. The new team's emphasis on quickly establishing the sites for major public infrastructure pieces like the convention centre is important - the hotels won't want to move until they know where these kinds of facilities will be placed. And restaurants will want to know where the hotels are going to be.
I really hope that, when they talk about land amalgamation, they give some thought to Tabarrok's dominant assurance contracts rather than compulsory acquisition. Applying Tabarrok's model to land acquisition, Councils effectively buy options to purchase a lot of properties, then exercise those options on the best set of properties for the development.
We invoke eminent domain to avoid hold-out problems where the last owner to sign on for a major development can extract a good part of the project's surplus. Buying options across a lot of potential sites can be more expensive, but eliminates the hold-out problem where different bundles of properties could serve similar purpose. So long as the strike price is a fair one, you've a dominant strategy in selling the option to the government. If the government doesn't exercise the option on your property, you're up by the option payment; if they do, you're no worse off.
See also Bruce Benson's work on solutions to land amalgamation problems that do not do violence to existing ownership rights.
I hope that whatever aesthetic vision the planners might want to impose is done by setting examples in the design of the new public facilities rather than by mandating standards. I'd be really happy to hear an announcement that they're planning structures designed around innovative wooden laminates. U Canterbury is doing some work in the area if they're looking for people with expertise.
A final hope is that the new agency pushes hard to get insurance issues sorted. Does full replacement cover mean coverage to the ex ante or ex post building code? Getting a few declaratory judgements on issues facing a lot of property owners could help get things moving.
Perhaps the best thing about the take-over is that it's now very clear what voters need to do come the next election if Christchurch remains buggered. Parker's already toast, at least according to iPredict. If Christchurch is back on track come the next election, vote National. Otherwise, don't. At least for Canterbury, the next election ought now to wind up being a referendum on how they've handled Christchurch.
NZIER reports on the latest economic indicators for post-quake Christchurch.
Here's the latest on building consents. See also Bill Kaye-Blake.