This morning, Tim Carter was in the paper talking about asset sales to pay for buildings that have been included in the blueprint. I am not going to get into a debate about the pros and cons of asset sales at this point – I covered that yesterday, and others have done similar – but I wanted to question whether there is a conflict of interest around this. Tim Carter is the son of former councillor, Philip Carter. Philip Carter is a keen supporter of the blueprint, as it has given him somewhat favourable treatment. Carter owns part of the site in Cathedral Square that has been marked down for the convention centre project. It seems as though he will also be given a concession to be able to build two hotels, adjacent to the convention centre, which are taller the central city height limit that other developers will have to abide by.
The Carter Group … owns the condemned former Government Life building west of Cathedral Square and at the southern end of the proposed convention centre site in the central-city recovery blueprint. The project allows for two interconnected hotels that will cater for up to 2000 delegates, and the centre will be able to host three conferences simultaneously.
So Philip Carter will benefit from the convention centre, both by having his land bought for the project, and by being able to build hotels adjacent, which will directly benefit from convention goers. All this considered, should Tim Carter be advocating for the council to sell assets to fund a project that benefits his family? How can the Press report this story without mentioning this quite clear connection, or do we just not care about this sort of cosiness in the rebuild? Or, alternatively, should we believe that Tim and Philip Carter are the only family in Christchurch that don’t inevitably talk about the rebuild over dinner?