I am standing for Mayor, because I see the huge potential Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula has.
At the beginning of this year, I was approached by a wide range of people suggesting I consider standing for Mayor; that there was a strong sense that Christchurch needed a different, independent leadership style to move forward. The message from the community was they wanted greater transparency from the Council around decisions, visibility on the what and why and a process that links to the community – where people feel engaged.
In a recent poll 58% of residents were dissatisfied with the Council’s performance; the highest level of dissatisfaction in 15 years. The main issue was the lack of transparency around the Council’s decision-making. We need a different way of doing things if we expect a different outcome.
Local government is fundamental to our democracy, and the quality of our lives and wellbeing. Decisions made by local government are broad – at a basic level water, rubbish, rates, roads, ongoing infrastructure and long-term plans. At a wider level it is about people, our communities, how we live, how we engage with our diverse communities and how we care; for our children, our rangatahi, our families, our elderly, our disabled – how we ensure we all have a place to call home.
So, we need to make sure we get it right – build on what is working and change what is not. As a Council we must focus on how we can enable people to better connect and contribute to decision making while thinking differently and adopting new processes and innovations to solve real issues.
My main role as Mayor will be to restore trust and confidence in the Council through leadership in the delivery of those services for all sectors of the community. Our city can be a place that gives a voice to its communities, its environment, its business innovators, and its investment in future generations. I am passionate about making these connections, having the conversations that enable communities to have a strong sense of direction, a sense of purpose and to create momentum and real progress.
I am passionate about Christchurch. I have a wide range of experience and the motivation to do the very best for Christchurch.
I see a city on the cusp of a major transition following dramatic, hugely challenging events in our recent past with the earthquakes and the massacre visited upon our Muslim community. Right now, we have the Covid pandemic and increased levels of uncertainty throughout much of the world.
BUT I see a future city that does not identify with an immediate past of crisis and division. I see a city that is able to change how we think about ourselves and how we tell our rich story. And I will listen.
Listen to our collective story of a place where people want to live, to thrive with energy and passion, a place fostering world-class innovation – a city that courageously connects with its people, protects and enhances its environment, encourages our business community – in short, a city that offers fair opportunity for everyone.
And a Council that enables communities to forge a sense of direction, a sense of purpose and creates ongoing momentum to take the city forward.
Bring on the campaign!
[photo from my CDHB farewell, c/o John Kirk-Anderson via Stuff]