This week’s Youth Focus event saw PYLAT, Youth Voice Canterbury and Christchurch Youth Council combine, to engage and inform in the 2016 local elections.* Over two evenings, west and east Christchurch city council wards were all covered thoroughly, with candidate Q+As. Regional council and district health board candidates also had opportunity to introduce themselves, briefly. A city environs context was very much set. Mental health and entertainment activities for Christchurch youth were core concerns. Youth Focus was great! Thank you.

Cruize Erueti takes on the Labour establishment, Youth Focus 270916

Cruize Erueti takes on the Labour establishment, Youth Focus 270916

On the second evening, a mayoral debate exposed the competence of the candidate range. Tubby Hansen did not appear, Lianne Dalziel and John Minto did. Public transport and river quality promises then tripped them up.

On the buses, Dalziel called upon Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) and/or central Government to “give them back” to the Christchurch City Council (CCC), asserting they were both the same thing having equal power to deliver this. But is it a fact? Demonstrably wrong about the ECan partner, Dalziel claimed that after the elections a commissioner majority will hold sway there so the organisation was a write-off. Elected members will from October become the ECan majority, actually. So has this Mayor been listening or just wrapped up in her own acquired authority? Minto’s promise to make bus travel free, and to pay for it from cancelled government road projects, impossibly exceeds the mayoral role.

Youth Focus mayoral debate 270916 - pic by PYLAT

Youth Focus mayoral debate 270916 – pic by PYLAT

On Christchurch city rivers, Minto’s promise to clean them up and make them “swimmable” traps him in a rural debate over which, again, he can have little agency – of debatable point or achievable reality. This is empty pitching to the galleries. Enough.

The gem in this debate was Dalziel’s announced discovery from Hurunui District Council, that the youth council can become a standing committee of CCC, with all CCC committee chairs then taking a seat alongside them. It would raise the effect of the youth voice through direct access to the city council. A declared challenge was then how much the Christchurch Youth Council has been valuing its independence. So a trade-off is on offer in the incumbent mayor’s election policy.

Minto’s long experience as a high school teacher qualifies him with a well-tuned ear for where youth issues of the city are at, albeit having arrived here only last year.

The model of ‘youth community boards’, initiated in the city south and advocated by at least one community board candidate for the north next, factors in all this. Are they or will they be subordinate to the Christchurch Youth Council, as recognised by CCC? What democratic elected structure and scope is likely to pertain?

These sure are interesting times for youth politics in Christchurch city. Dynamic. Inspiring. Go well! Thanks again.

Youth Focus team members take a well-deserved bow, 270916

Youth Focus team members take a well-deserved bow, 270916

* Pacific Youth Leadership And Transformation – PYLAT Council
ccc.govt.nz/elections + cdhb.health.nz/elections + ecan.govt.nz/elections

Previous on topic:
riktindall.wordpress.com/christchurch-south-youth-community-resilience-role-ccc-chch-preparedness-nz

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