The Running Men

By Bridget Gourlay

In October, the mayoral seat is up for grabs when the people of Christchurch decide who gets the job of running the city for the next three years. We take a little look at who’s offering what.

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Bob Parker

The current mayor is seeking a second term. Parker swapped broadcasting for local body politics in the early 1990s when he became a member of the Banks Peninsula community board, then the district’s mayor (2001-2006). After leading the amalgamation of the Banks Peninsula District Council and the Christchurch City Council he became a city councillor in 2006, then was elected Christchurch mayor in 2007.

Parker has brought the Ellerslie Flower Show to Christchurch with the council claiming it has injected $15 million into the local economy. He also drove the adoption of an anti-cruising bylaw, cracking down on boy racers with fines of up to $1000 for excessive noise or travelling repeatedly in convoys over the same section of a multi-lane road.

The council has also moved to an environmentally sustainable building and rolled out a new rubbish collection system that makes recycling easier.

What would you do to make Christchurch a better place to do business?

“As Mayor, I have kept rate increases low (less than 4 percent per annum) and kept a focus on core infrastructure — the roading, transport, water, wastewater, sea and airport structures the business community rely upon. They must be easily accessible, well-run and not add significant cost to business structures.

“Broadband connectivity is another council initiative — over 160km has been laid and this is growing daily. The council has almost finished a major overhaul of the processing of building and resource consents. Minor consents are at 100 percent within statutory timeframes, and more complex ones are at over 90 percent. Full transition to online and paperless consenting is almost complete. This will result in 100 percent statutory compliance for more complex consents.Also, a stable workforce relies on a family friendly city. We have world leading library, education, recreational and social support structures.”

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Jim Anderton

Jim Anderton is a leftie from way back. His first foray into politics was in 1965 when he won a seat on the Manukau City Council. He went on to join the Labour Party and after a shift south in 1984 won the Sydenham seat (now Wigram), which he has held ever since. Anderton left Labour in the 80s because he refused to support Rogernomics and formed his own party which has evolved into the Progressives.

In 1999 he was Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition deal and he has also held ministerial posts such as Minister of Agriculture and Associate Minister of Health. Anderton wants to achieve World Heritage Status for the Arts Centre, which he thinks has been neglected by the council with the failed proposal to build a music school next to the Dux de Lux and the removal of the stallholders from Market Square.

What would you do to make Christchurch a better place to do business?

“I have a blueprint to create a great future for Christchurch business. I want to revitalise the inner city and make a dynamic cultural heart in the CBD. I want to make affordable inner-city housing a reality.

“If elected, I will have sound financial control. This means stopping unsustainable debt increases and keeping rates down. The protection of Christchurch’s high quality water supply for present and future generations is paramount.

“We need a high quality, convenient, accessible and affordable public transport system and well-paid jobs so that we keep our best and brightest young people in Canterbury.

“I will operate openly and transparently, not secretly behind closed doors. To make the council more open and democratic in the  decision making process I will create a People’s Forum, inviting participation from the business and voluntary organisation sectors of the city.”

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Nathan Ryan

Nathan Ryan comes from a background of retail, hospitality and sales. If elected mayor, Ryan would review all the plans for implementing bus lanes around the city, and possibly put on hold the existing projects. He says less than five percent of Christchurch citizens regularly use buses, and he doesn’t think a better and more efficient system would change that. “People want to go where they want to go, when they want to go and to arrive on time. Buses don’t offer that. That’s why they’re so unattractive to people.”

Ryan says the council needs to focus on core services — roads, sewage and rubbish. “It’s ridiculous that you can’t drive though an intersection without hitting a pothole.”

Water is also important to him. Ryan believes Canterbury has the best water quality in the country, and he says he won’t authorise anything that will change that.

What would you do to make Christchurch a better place for business?

“I believe that we need to return to core council services and begin addressing the overspending on things that aren’t necessary for our city.

“We need a cohesive team working together rather than a group of individuals — a transparent council whose meetings are accessible to the public.

“Our inner city needs to be made more attractive to our citizens and tourists. I will encourage local businesses to extend business hours by introducing 24hr parking in the CBD, enforcing the littering fines and installing more CCTV cameras for safety.”

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Peter Wakeman

Pete Wakeman is a former pilot who has worked in London and Singapore, but now lives in Merivale working for a medical equipment manufacturer. An environmentalist, he wants bus exchanges built at city malls and outside areas to give people better shelter and encourage them to use public transport more often.

His greatest concern is water — he believes the city council needs to ensure the quality of water for drinking and farming by limiting subdivision and specifying land used for farming as they do in Europe.

What would you do to make Christchurch a better place to do business?

“I will lobby the government to change the tax system because people in Canterbury are paying an extra five percent on power bills to keep warm. The government needs to make reserve bank credit available to fund infrastructure New Zealand wide, rather than burdening the tax payer and the ratepayer.

“City assets need to be used for the ratepayer though, I did ask the council annual plan process to reduce line charges by ten dollars per month. With the GST increase and the ETS and the debt burdening the taxpayers are taking on, the amount of money going out of circulation has increased dramatically.”

Local Government elections are held every three years. People must be over 18 years old, a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident and enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll to stand for election and to vote. Voting in the Christchurch City Council election will be by post with the official election day on Saturday, October 9. Voting papers will be sent out from September 17 and should preferably be returned in the provided freepost envelope by Thursday October 7.

Author: magazinestoday

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