Spreydon-Heathcote, Christchurch city ward base, now abolished

Spreydon-Heathcote, Christchurch city ward base recently abolished: to be replaced in 2016

It’s official: the Spreydon-Heathcote electoral ward of Christchurch city is no more. It was abolished on Thursday, 13 August 2015, as were all the Christchurch wards laid out before 2004.[1] That’s a good thing, and moment for nostalgia. A memorial to the Heathcote County Council (ex Road Board) that got merged into Christchurch City Council in 1989, the ward name caused confusion: a) the Heathcote Valley was part of Hagley-Ferrymead ward, not Spreydon-Heathcote, and b) the Heathcote/Opawaho River spanned three city wards, including the above two, so could not rightly be claimed by any of them. Confusing! Remedy at hand.

From one ward, two would now be made. The possibilities around renaming are significant, and will be decided by several influences in the lead-up to the 2016 local elections. The new community board name will last at least the next 3-6 years and probably longer. It affects how our local communities can organise themselves, for diverse beneficial outcomes, within accurate boundaries to be settled in the months ahead. This is important.

So what are the choices? Spreydon-Cashmere(-Woolston) if the 16-ward model about to be consulted upon gains support, or Spreydon-Beckenham if the 14-ward model revives, as best improvement upon the seven wards that just got abolished. Get involved and ‪#‎HaveYourSay‬ from 26 August to 9 October, 2015.[2]

Congratulations are due this council either way. A bold step of making representation more direct to local communities, more locally elected, is within reach. This is a product of dividing seven large wards into a larger number of smaller wards, where each turns out about half the current size (except Banks Peninsula). All wards would reduce from having two councillors to having one, in future (like Banks Peninsula). Of all the concessions to be gained from the Local Government Commission, as changes to the city ward system, this could be the second-most-challenging. The first would be total increase in councillor number, beyond a modest one, to three in the 16-ward proposal. The proposal, to be released by Council on Wednesday 26 August, for us looks like this:

Spreydon-Cashmere-Woolston ward proposal, 26 August 2015

Spreydon-Cashmere-Woolston community board proposal, 26 August 2015

The proposal is to be commended for resolving the primary problem Spreydon-Heathcote ward had with its boundaries: division of Waltham, where part had been in Hagley-Ferrymead ward. At last, Waltham will be united through its representation! That’s a big step forward. But the same fundamental principle needs to be applied to all the new ward map – division of communities is mostly unnecessary and quite unacceptable. For this reason the 14-ward model is better, for creating fewer community divisions, and none once refined, as seen here:

14 ward model, draft Spreydon-Beckenham community board area

14 ward model, draft Spreydon-Beckenham community board area

It is a simple choice, in fact, over where electoral improvements should be made – in and for communities, or for the councillors? That we are being confronted with possibility of the latter (16 councillors) shows that a legal obligation to consult has been inappropriately hijacked for political ends – to meet a council process objective. The cost in this council expansion planswould be one whole community board scrapped, to increase representative weight at the top end. Is this acceptable? There’s a war on between communities and politicians, over who owns democracy, in the Christchurch Representation Review: stop poli-inflation!

Christchurch electors need to look hard at their representation map and voice an opinion over what will work best for them. Because this voice is the only element that can satisfactorily decide the review questions. #‎HaveYourSay‬ from Wednesday!

[1] Graphic – Chch South Library’s future unknown, The Press 10/08/2012,
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7452318/Chch-South-Librarys-future-unknown +
3.3 “That the current wards and communities be abolished.” – p.240, http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/August/Council13August2015OpenAgenda.pdf

[2] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/

The Spreydon-Heathcote ward just abolished:

Spreydon-Heathcote ward map

Spreydon-Heathcote ward map

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathcote_County

Along the Hills: A History of the Heathcote Road Board and the Heathcote County Council, 1864-1989 James Watson, Christchurch 1989, https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/68121037

Heathcote County Council – Archives New Zealand, Christchurch Regional Office,
http://thecommunityarchive.org.nz/node/71357

https://riktindall.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/ccc-do-the-job-properly-christchurch-city-council-representation-review-chch-repreview-newzealand-nzlabour-nz/

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