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Friday, May 6, 2011

Air NZ offers free seats for councillors

Air NZ offers free seats for councillors

Last updated 05:00 06/05/2011
Air New Zealand will pay for an earthquake fact-finding trip to San Francisco by Christchurch City councillors and is offering them a free trip to Melbourne.

The council said yesterday that the airline had provided free flights to San Francisco for councillors Aaron Keown, Ngaire Button, Jimmy Chen, Jamie Gough and Tim Carter.

The councillors will pay for their other expenses during the trip, while up to five members of the Canterbury Business Recovery Group will pay for their travel and expenses.

The delegation will be hosted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and will meet Art Agnos, who was mayor when the devastating 1989 quake hit the city.

Councillors will also speak to experts in urban design, public transport, housing reconstruction, business-confidence and tourism recovery, building code and building resilience, liquefaction, private sector partnerships and governance.

An Air New Zealand spokesman said the airline had supported several initiatives related to the Christchurch quake, and councillors would be able to see how San Francisco had recovered from its quake.

The airline had also offered four councillors a free trip to Melbourne to study urban regeneration, although the timing of any trip had yet to be confirmed.

Most councillors who spoke to The Press yesterday ruled themselves out of the Melbourne trip, with only one expressing interest.

Banks Peninsula councillor Claudia Reid said the idea of studying urban regeneration was "certainly an idea I'm interested in exploring".

Reid said she would develop an itinerary and "explore avenues of study" before making a decision on whether to take part.

Sally Buck, Barry Corbett, Sue Wells, Chrissie Williams, Glenn Livingstone and Yani Johanson said they were unlikely to take part, while Helen Broughton could not be reached for comment.

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