Christchurch's central business district (CBD) will be more compact and pedestrian friendly, and divided into precincts for different activities, Prime Minister John Key says.
Key, along with Earthquake Recover Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will this evening release the city's CBD plan after 100 days of consultation and planning led by Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs.
Speaking on TVNZ's Breakfast programme on Monday morning, Key said he felt the planners had "got it right" with the CBD blueprint, building on an original plan from the Christchurch City Council.
"I think the consensus will be they've got it right. It's smaller, and it's more compact, but if there's any good that comes out of these earthquakes - and you've got to argue that's pretty minimal - it's the capacity to really get it right in terms of a vision for Cantabrians," Key said.
"They're trying to make sure that things like the stadium and high performance sport, health, are all in their own precincts, but very much within the CBD broader area," he said.
"It will be a very livable city. I think when Cantabrians see it, the question won't be, 'do I want it or not,' I think it will be, 'when can we have it?' I'm quite excited by what I see."
As planners were starting pretty much from 'base zero' they had a capacity planners in other cities like Auckland did not have - "Eden Park's in one place, the thing's all over the show".
"They've really got the capacity [in Christchurch] to do that all in one place. So that's great. Obviously we're trying to retain the green, garden city feel to it. That's really nice. I think people will be able to live and play, and do lots of things in one space, and definitely walk around," Key said.
A potential NZ$7 billion price tag was likely a worse-case scenario.
"But there's a combination of people that are involved in making this thing a reality. The government will have to step up, and we intend to do that, the council have a responsibility here, [and] there'll be a lot of private sector people because there's different stake-holders," Key said.
"So if it's a health precinct, and it's a hospital, that falls pretty squarely on the government. Others are more debatable, and it will depend on what sort of civic assets they want. I think a debate will rage for some time on whether there should be, for instance, a covered stadium," he said.
The Press reports the plan is likely to include indicative locations for 12 planned anchor projects in the CBD, including a new convention centre and public transport hub.
On TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the plan was "fairly exciting." It took into account ideas put forward by 106,000 people in the greater region.
"What I can tell you is the government will be announcing [on Monday] its part of giving some effect to the shape of the new city. And then in coming months, you’ll see the Government be able to make announcements about things like the hospital, the Advanced Technology Hub, what we’re calling the justice precinct, etc," Brownlee said.
"They are very big public assets that are also places of considerable employment. And so that is a pretty significant step in letting other investors know, ‘Actually, there is going to be a dynamic here that works,'" he said.
In terms of who would meet the costs of rebuilding the CBD, Brownlee said the vast majority of property in Christchurch was owned by the private sector, "and there are numerous investors both in this city, outside the city and internationally who are looking at the prospects of being able to rebuild what will be the centre for a population of about 560,000".
"On the civic type of assets, you would expect that they would eventually be Christchurch City Council assets. And the Christchurch City Council has identified some projects they want to move with over time, and they’ve also committed in their latest budget around NZ$790 million towards those projects," Brownlee said.
"So there will be a discussion that goes on from [Monday] about how you sequence those things and what our timeline might look like for their delivery," he said.
The government had already committed NZ$5.5 billion towards earthquake recovery.
"A lot of that money is being spent here in the city right now for the horizontal infrastructure rebuild, for the land purchases that we’ve done so far, things like that," Brownlee said.
"Over and above that, we’ve stood behind EQC, which affects the whole country. So that’s another seven that we could be up for. And then there is the projects that have to be done in education and health and innovation, those sorts of things. So it’s very hard to put a total quantum on it. Some of it is provisioned. Some of it is actual. It will be many billions," he said.