Petitioners who marched on Parliament today to support turning the Avon River Red Zone into a reserve and river park can take heart in the cross-party welcome they received.
The Avon-Otakaro River Park petition signed by over 18,000 people was greeted by Labour, Green and National MPs at lunchtime today, a rare and symbolic sight.
The petition asks Parliament “to work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to turn the Avon River red zone into a reserve and river park when the home owners have to leave the area”.
I want to congratulate the organisers for the inspiring journey the petition has taken up the Avon River and all the way to Wellington. The Table office at Parliament said that the petition was the most beautifully presented petition (two hand bound books) they had received.
I was very pleased to be able to sign the petition today – not as a petitioner, but as the MP sponsoring the bill.
The petition represented a vision for the future and that this would help people in the red zones move on.
There have been rumours about government intentions to sell the land to developers who will rebuild exclusive riverside homes. I am hoping that the government will commit to the Avon-Otakaro River Park – essentially gifting our personal interest in the land to Christchurch’s recovery.
This looked promising in Parliament today with Assistant Recovery Minister Amy Adams assured petitioners that it will be given ‘full consideration’. The petition has been referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.
Today was another important step in the journey to recovery and I was pleased to be joined by so many of my colleagues to welcome this progress.