There's been a lot of criticism in the media about how bland an non-specific local body politicians have been in this year's local body elections.
On the 23 September 'Jono and Ben' Show, Guy used his 'Guy Time' slot to urge people to vote, and to slam the lack of detail. I had a nano-second of 'fame', as one of my bill-boards was used as an example of how little people get to know of a candidate. Ouch!
So, I'm taking up that challenge. Here is a detailed a list of who I am and what I stand for. Even then, I'm aware people need more.
What I Bring
I’m passionate about the new model of representation, and chose Waimairi because it was my home.
I’m here, to hear about the issues that matter to you. I want to ensure that your concerns, your ideas, your solutions are voiced both at the Council table and at the community board.
I’ve shown by my leadership of community groups that I know how to bring the best out of people. Our city’s challenges won’t be solved by one gifted person, or even a small group of skilled people. Instead, our city will thrive when we have a vision birthed and owned by all its diverse communities of people.
Connecting people, empowering them to find their voice, working together to turn ideas into reality: that’s what we need. That’s what I do.
It’s a challenge in politics to not simply say what you think people want to hear.
It’s a challenge in politics not to simply listen to the loud, the influential, the persistent.
It’s a challenge not to be swayed by the pressure of others.
I’ve wrestled with that in community leadership. I’ve sought to do what’s right, not what’s easy.
What I Stand For
Quite rightly, people want to know specific proposals and policies from their candidates.
So, what are my priorities if I’m elected the Councillor for the Waimairi Ward? As I’ve said elsewhere, on any issue my measure will always be the three ‘goods’: is it good for the environment; is it good for the city; is it good for the community. I believe these priorities meet all three.
It was the issue of homelessness that first got me into this campaign. Rather than waiting for Central Government to find solutions, I’m committed to working at the Council table to end homelessness here in Christchurch. That means Council building more social housing. 1,000 units over the next Council term.
That means Council reducing compliance costs to the housing sector.
That means Council requiring new housing developments to include genuine affordable housing options.
I’ll work tirelessly to make these Council priorities.
The experiences in Havelock North show what happens when two levels of local government fail to work together. It is essential that City Council and ECAN work to make improving water quality in Christchurch and the surrounding area a top priority. The new North West bores are being drilled. But we must have a long term plan to eliminate water contamination of the city’s aquifers. ECAN and the City must have a combined strategy. I’ll promote a unified strategic approach.
I’ll also oppose commercial ideas that risk that water quality. We’re seeing quarry companies wanting to deepen their quarries. That’s been rejected by the independent hearing panel, but the companies are appealing. I’ll stand with the local communities who oppose the proposal, doing all I can to ensure we protect our precious water.
I’m committed to retaining the city’s strategic assets. This is an essential element to keeping rates rises low, and to funding future development of our city. Prudent financial managers don't let their clients sell assets to buy luxuries. Nor do prudent Councillors promote plans to sell income generating assets to fund non-essential items.
The public transport system for Christchurch is currently primarily run through ECAN. That has to change. The City Council must be in charge of all aspects of public transport within the city limits.
I believe this transfer of responsibility needs to happen within the first 100 days of the new Council assuming office. I’ll advocate for this transfer. I’ll promote rail options. I’ll work with advocacy groups who want to make our buses free. And we’ll make free wifi on buses a top priority.
As the Waimairi Ward Councillor I’ll establish regular meetings with opinion leaders in our ward. I’ll meet monthly with the Avonhead Community Group, and with other Community Interest groups.
I’ll also establish a formal link with local Iwi representatives, to hear their views on local matters. The voice of the tangata whenua must be heard: both formally and informally.
I’ll connect with Youth Organisations within and near my ward (such as the University of Canterbury), to ensure that I’m hearing the voice of our young people on city issues that matter to them.
I’ll also ensure I attend the bi-monthly Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board meetings. While this should be a given, the fact is that recent Councillors have had extremely poor attendance records over their term. I’ll commit to changing that lack of local accountability.
The People’s Choice
What makes keeping these promises much easier is that I’m part of an excellent team, who are all committed to these principles. The People’s Choice is a movement of like-minded people, committed to making Christchurch a 21st Century city. If I’m elected, I’ll have a group I’ll be working with to make these policies a reality: at the Council table, on Community Boards, and on ECAN (the Regional Council). We’re a team. We’ll do this together.