31 August 2022
Kia ora koutou Thank you for organising the meeting this evening. It’s a great way for voters to actually get a chance to hear candidates and ask us questions.
Firstly a bit about me
I have been born and bred in Christchurch from a family of 10 (8 girls)
- St Bedes / University of Canterbury (Lincoln College) – Agricultural Science Degree
- Father and uncle All Blacks
- Travelled through Africa.
- Worked as Farm Advisor (West Coast)
- BhS in the UK for 5 years
- Headed up Canterbury DHB in 2009 and West Coast DHB 2010
- Led and oversaw the health response to the earthquakes, fire, floods, Mosque attacks, Whakaari / White Island
- Led one of NZs largest organsisations – 12,000 staff, $2bn revenue
At the Canterbury District Health Board, I led the largest health infrastructure rebuild in NZ – new facilities from Westport, Grey Hospital, Kaikoura Hospital, Ashburton Hospital, Rangiora Health Centre, Akaroa Health Centre, Burwood Hospital, Christchurch Outpatients, Christchurch Hospital, Child and Youth Mental Health etc
I oversaw the creation of an internationally recognised integrated health system, centred around the patient, not the hospital.
The major issues that have been reflected back to me from all the meetings and engagements that I have been involved in:
Decline in trust and confidence in the council and councillors
- Sick of the petty politics of councillors
- A sense that decisions are not always being made in the best interest of the community
- The council needs to do what it says it is going to do
We need more collaboration
- Communities and business want to engage and collaborate with council to sole and address issues
- Communities and business often feel that they are not being welcomed or heard
- The council needs to partner with organisations outside of council
- The council needs to stop trying to control everything
- It needs to be a two way process
- It is important to speak out about issues but equally important to listen
The importance of people
- People and communities need to be at the heart
- Lots of local plans but ignored by council
- Lack of visibility about what is happening.
- Deep cynicism about consultation processes
A Just Society
For the whole city to flourish need the whole city to flourish
Importance of social housing, warm, dry and secure rental housing
- Across all young groups this is the number one issue
- A sense of lack of hope / lack of future
- A sense that we are collectively not doing enough about it
I’m standing for Mayor because …
I feel that this city needs to move beyond tragedies like earthquakes and mosque attacks and I’m keen to be the person that leads this. It’s time for NZ’s 2nd largest City to claim its rightful place in our country. We need a strong voice promoting this city in Wellington.
Tonight I want to highlight / focus on two issues.
The currently poor delivery of capital projects and how I would lead a different approach to governance at the Council table.
- Elected reps set the standard of governance and this sets the tone for the whole organisation. At present Councillors behaviour is too often poor. Point scoring for the sake of it. Block voting when this is precisely Westminster behaviour which we are all getting sick of. The behaviour at the Council table is now reflecting in bad staff surveys at the Council. The latest one shows there is lots of room for improvement. The Mayor is effectively the Chair of the organisation and I will lead from the front.
- Every year CCC surveys this community. One significant piece of feedback is that ratepayers are increasingly annoyed with the state of roads and footpaths. This year’s results are the worst it has ever been. It’s no use standing up at election time and saying you will do something about it. This is a 3 year task. At election time a candidate needs to be able to say what they have achieved.
- It is interesting to note that CCC has underspent its capital budget for years, including spending on roads. You as ratepayers have been charged for this capital spend and the money has remained with the Council. (the current year’s underspend is more than $140m)
- The current Council appears to have not applied proper governance to monitor that capital budgets are actually spent. Ratepayers expect that of their elected reps.
- Central government provided $45m for road improvements and almost none of it has been spent. This was to accelerate road repairs. The residents survey reflected the poor delivery of these funds.
- Covid has been used lately too often to excuse poor performance and delivery. However, capital underspending was happening before covid.
I had a number of people approach me about standing for Mayor as they wanted to see a different style of leadership based on collaboration with communities and actually delivering results to help build a future focused and confident city and Banks Peninsula.
I bring considerable as both a CEO with 12,000 staff and leading the successful construction of significant hospital facilities. I have had experience with governance as both a chair and as a board member with a number of boards.
It is time for the council to lead and ensure that budgets when they are set are delivered. It’s the least you should expect from your elected reps.