Four directors of Christchurch City Holdings Limited abruptly resign amid break down in relationship with Christchurch City Council

  • 16/05/2024
Christchurch City Council.
Christchurch City Council. Photo credit: Google Maps

Four directors of Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL) have abruptly resigned amid a breakdown in the relationship with Christchurch City Council. 

Independent directors Chris Day, Martin Goldfinch, David Hunt and Abby Foote - who was the CCHL Board chair - said in a statement that "despite the very best of intentions and considerable effort, the relationship between the CCHL Board and the council had broken down". 

"We respect and support the right of council to make decisions around CCHL and its group of infrastructure businesses. This includes the council's decision not to accept the CCHL Board's recommendation in December 2023 to move to an active portfolio management model to support investment in the region's infrastructure, reduce debt levels and grow dividends," they said on Wednesday. 

"We agreed to instead work to lift dividends as far as possible within the current CCHL mandate, recognising council's view that there would be no more capital for the group in the form of either debt or equity. 

"However, council has since made requests for dividends which we see as being beyond the ability of CCHL's infrastructure businesses to sustainably provide. Delivering these dividends may well also require further borrowing - and an assumption that future councils will accept lower dividends - both of which we regard as posing risks for the CCHL Group." 

Because of this, the four tendered their resignations "effective immediately". 

In response, Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger on Thursday told Newshub CCHL Deputy Chair Gill Cox would step in as Acting Chair while the council looked to appoint a new chair. 

"I would like to thank Chair Abby Foote and the departing directors for their contribution to CCHL. I wish them all well in their future endeavours," he said. 

"We look forward to continuing to work with the remaining members of the board and the new chair, who will move us forward in the direction set by the Council." 

As well as Cox, who is stepping in as Acting Chair, CCHL on Thursday confirmed that Bridget Geisen would continue as a director, alongside two Councillor-appointed directors, Sara Templeton and Sam MacDonald. 

"The continuing CCHL directors wish to thank the retiring directors, both individually and collectively, for the valuable contribution that they have made to governance in CCHL, and the platform they have helped build for the future of the Company and its subsidiaries," a statement said