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Confusion surrounds cathedral insurance funds

Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 5:33 p.m.

Anglican Church leaders are seeking clarification over how they can use insurance money received for the Christchurch Cathedral.

The church has used some of it to build its new cardboard cathedral, despite an interim High Court ruling that said it should only be used in the square.

The reconstruction is still short millions of dollars, and is being propped up with money from an insurance payout.

“The transitional cathedral is costing about $6 million and the church had intended to use $4 million from the insurance money towards that transitional cathedral,” says Anglican Church spokesman Reverend Jayson Rhodes.

In an interim ruling last year, the High Court said the $39 million insurance payout was only to be used on the original cathedral in the square, a decision Church lawyers are seeking clarification on.

“They are massively under-insured, and to make things even worse they are spending some of their insurance money they have got on other issues like the transitional cathedral,” says Jim Anderton of the Great Christchurch Building Trust.

They've got other worries too. In the year following the quake, attendances have also dropped by almost two-thirds.

“Today there is only a very small number of people who go to the acting cathedral at Christ College, and they will never fill this transitional cathedral with parishioners,” says Save the Cathedral’s Mark Belton.

The church admits it needs to raise an extra $2 million to help pay for the cardboard cathedral.

No matter what the outcome is from the High Court, the transitional cathedral is nearing completion. And while it’s almost six months behind schedule, it is expected to open after Easter.

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