March 2012 - Riccarton Bush Amendment Bill
The Christchurch City Council intends to promote a Local Bill into Parliament called the Riccarton Bush Amendment Bill.
The objects of this Bill are to:
• Modernise and update the governance arrangements for the Board known as The Riccarton Bush Trustees; and
• Better define the Board's functions, provide for the continuation of its work and enhance its finance and administration; and
• Vest the land at 30 Kahu Road, Christchurch in the Board.
The Bill amends the Riccarton Bush Act 1914, the Riccarton Bush Amendment Act 1947, and the Riccarton Bush Amendment Act 1949.
Before the Bill is introduced into Parliament, the Council must undertake a public notification process as set out in the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
Riccarton House and Bush, situated in Christchurch, was the property of the pioneer Deans family, the first European settlers on the Canterbury Plains in 1843. Riccarton House is a grand Victorian/Edwardian homestead built in stages between 1856 and 1900. Riccarton Bush is Canterbury’s sole remnant of Kahikatea floodplain forest. Situated in the grounds of the property is Deans Cottage, which was built by William and John Deans in 1843 and is the oldest building built on the Canterbury plains.
Riccarton Bush (15 acres) was gifted by the Deans family to the people of Canterbury in 1914 and the Riccarton Bush Act 1914 was passed by Parliament to provide for the preservation and management of the property and to constitute the Board as the controlling body.
In 1947, the Christchurch City Council, the Waimairi County Council, Heathcote County Council, Paparua County Council, and the Borough of Riccarton joined together to purchase Riccarton House and the associated grounds (13 acres) from the Deans family to add to the original gift of the Bush.
As a consequence of this land purchase, the Act was the subject of a substantial review in 1947, which resulted in the Act being amended in a number of ways, including to authorise the purchase of the House and grounds and to vest them under the control of the Board.
The Act has been the subject of minor technical amendments enacted by Parliament in 1949, 1964, 1972, and 1979.
As the Act was last substantially amended in 1947, it is necessary for the Act to be updated to account for changed circumstances and practices since then.
The Board considered a complete re-writing of the Act but decided, for reasons of continuity and preserving its legislative history, that its preference was to proceed by way of an amendment Bill.
The Board is substantially funded by a limited statutory levy on the Christchurch City Council and by additional operational and capital expenditure grants made by the Council periodically.