NZ Supreme Court permits demolition of Christchurch Cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, December 6, 2013 December 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Christchurch Cathedral, Victoria Matthews
New Zealand’s Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) which had asked the court to block the demolition of earthquake ravaged Christ Church Cathedral.
On 2 December 2013 the court held the GCBT had not shown the lower Court of Appeal decision permitting the cathedral’s demolition had been in error.
The underlying issues were of ”great general importance to the citizens of Christchurch” arising from the “history, function and iconic nature of the Cathedral. However, in this case nothing that has been raised on behalf of the applicant reaches the threshold of showing that the decisions of the courts below may be in error,” the court held. The New Zealand Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court decision allowing the Church Property Trustees (CPT) of the Diocese of Christchurch to demolish the earthquake damaged cathedral.
On 22 Feb 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake toppled the 132 year old cathedral’s Gothic spire and collapsed part of the roof. Earthquakes in June and December caused further significant damage leaving the building in ruins. On 2 March 2012 the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews announced the cathedral would be demolished as rebuilding would cost NZ $50 million more than would be received from the proceeds of the insurance settlement.
The GCBT led by former MP Jim Anderton protested the decision and asked the High Court to cancel the demolition and order the church to rebuild the damaged cathedral. However High Court Justice Lester Chisholm ruled the church was entitled to deconstruct the cathedral, but only if it built a new cathedral on the same site. The GCBT challenged this decision in the Court of Appeal, and on 15 Nov 2012 the High Court issued an interim judgment halting demolition until Court of Appeal reviewed its findings. In July the Court of Appeal denied GCBT’s petition, prompting it to take its case to the Supreme Court.