Roger Sutton


New Zealand

As head of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Roger Sutton has an enormous demolition job ahead. But he is also in a rare position to build a radically better city.

Where do you start?
By giving people some dignity. There are still people who don’t know if they can rebuild and there are areas that are going to be abandoned. How is that land going to be re-used? The next priority is infrastructure, water and sewerage.

CERA has sweeping powers. Do you have all the answers?
Christchurch is small enough that the key people – business people, political leaders, community leaders – all know and trust each other. This is an opportunity to get everyone working together.

How long will the job take?
I’m not sure this job will ever really feel done. But I hope that within a year there’s a real sense of excitement that we’re building something better than we had.

Such as?
We’re going to make sure that parts of the city are rebuilt closer to Hagley Park [the city’s largest park]. Better public transport. And there are some great things about our city – some beautiful historic buildings that have survived – and some big employers. We must take advantage of that.

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