The city council has been urged to abandon plans for a new covered stadium until the people of Christchurch are back on their feet.
Christchurch homeowners are facing a 6.6 per cent rate increase from July after the city council voted yesterday to adopt their three year plan for public consultation.
But Community advocate Reverend Mike Coleman said the city council needs to get its priorities right.
The Wider Earthquake Communities' Action Network spokesman said: "From our point of view now is not the time to prioritise a stadium when there is so much else going on around the city.''
The 6.6 per cent increase will see the average ratepayer forking out $36.29 a week. Rates increases of around 6.5 per cent are recommended for the next two years.
The city's roads and footpaths will receive the biggest slice of the rates pie, with ratepayers contributing $7.76 a week to funding work in this area.
Mayor Bob Parker said: "We've thought very carefully about what Christchurch can afford and tried to keep rates rises as low as possible. This increase will see the average household's rates go up by about $2 a week.''
But Rev Coleman disagrees. He said people are no longer financially stretched - they are now collapsing.
"The expenses for ordinary people are going up everywhere. We've got rental increases, insurance premium increases, petrol price increases, rates now going up and Orion wanting to increase power prices.
"People are out of their homes and paying exorbitant rental prices while also paying rates on [earthquake-damaged] homes they're not living in. There seems to be no understanding from our leaders of the financial implications on our ratepayers.''
The Draft 2013-16 Christchurch City Three-Year Plan recommends a special earthquake charge of 1.93 per cent as part of the 6.6 per cent increase.
The city council says this will help offset the increased borrowing it faces due to earthquake recovery costs and the loss of several revenue sources, particularly parking.
Rev Coleman said WeCan has no issue with an earthquake levy but said: "If they're asking people to tighten their belts as well as contribute, the council needs to look at their own costings.''
Earlier this month The Star revealed that Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee held a secret meeting with councillors in December to discuss how to pay for Christchurch's earthquake-damaged underground infrastructure.
Mr Brownlee warned city councillors that the cost of fixing the damage could be much more than originally thought.
The Government has previously said it will pay for 60 per cent of the repair bill - the other 40 per cent being met by the city council, which means ratepayers could foot all or part of that bill.
But The Star understands that up to 80 per cent of the extent of the damage underground is still not known; and the cost blowout could be huge.
The rates announcement comes at a time when residents have a declining confidence in the city council.
In a survey released this week, 46 per cent of respondents from the city said they did not have confidence in the city council's decisions. This is a 26 per cent increase from 2010 and 20 per cent from 2008.
In 2011 the city council faced a storm of criticism over chief executive officer Tony Marryatt's controversial pay increase saga and again late last year when he announced extra leave for city council staff.