A last minute council decision to call for a halt demolition work at ChristChurch Cathedral was to "placate the masses", the Earthquake Recovery Minister says.
Christchurch City Council has come under fire after councillors voted 10-4 in favour of calling an immediate halt to demolition work ordered by the Anglican Church.
As widespread demolition continues to dramatically alter the central city landscape, CERA Minister Gerry Brownlee has labelled the council's move unhelpful.
"This is a 'let's placate the masses' approach which frankly doesn't do the city any good at all," said Brownlee.
The decision has also received criticism from Cathedral Bishop Victoria Matthews who has questioned the motives of the city's 14 councillors.
She said the cathedral had become a way for councillors to regain their reputation amongst Cantabrians.
"What we're now dealing with is reputation politics and not about the cathedral," said Matthews.
"I think we're into that sort of pressure politics which I think is unfortunate because the decision by the council doesn't change a thing."
However, councillor Aaron Keown rejected claims the decision was a political move, labelling the accusations a "cheap shot".
"I've been told by constituents in Christchurch that it's our job to speak out, to not sit on our laurels and wait for the demolition."
Demolition of the iconic Christchurch landmark began in March after the Anglican Church concluded it could not afford the $100 million cost to repair the building.
The decision sparked outrage among heritage enthusiasts who believe the cathedral can be saved.
Structural experts have said parts of the building - such as the eastern wall - appear to have withstood the earthquakes and could be carefully deconstructed and rebuilt.