Category: residents’ groups


It has been six long, troubled years since Canterbury lost regional democracy. This year it is being allowed back in partial form by central government. We must celebrate and utilise the consultative opportunity this change of course provides. Given the mounting challenges that Canterbury faces, it is at least worth asking, can democracy provide greater solutions? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

The Waimakariri River

Ko Waimakariri te awa, Ka Pakihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha – the Waimakariri River, Canterbury

Government intervention at Environment Canterbury (ECan) in 2010 turned long-standing threat into action.

Post-Muldoon, post-SMP farming subsidy, Labour governments had forged rural recovery on an intensive dairy model, birthing export co-operative giant Fonterra as one pinnacle. Growth upon growth characterised an industry fast becoming the nation’s leader.

In Canterbury the most ‘fertile ground’ for dairy expansion was found, by tapping underground water and applying nitrogenous fertiliser to former dry-lands. But this massive growth spurt had natural limits – aquifers are finite and their increased depletion, combined with more fertiliser and waste run-off, began to degrade surface water. This the public noticed and said so loudly.

Could Labour keep Canterbury dairy growth going, against natural limits and growing public concern? ‘Yes’, said the Labour-led regional council, to Labour government pressure – with new water storage, irrigation schemes and environmental mitigations.

‘Get on with it quicker’ said an incoming National government from 2008, soon throwing the elected council out and replacing them with appointed commissioners.

Tangata whenua, the indigenous ‘people of the land’, rightly wanted more say and democracy was poorly delivering it. Appointments made with iwi / tribal corporate Ngai Tahu could start resolving this also.

The first remedy, in the return to regional democracy, will be ensuring representation belongs equally to tangata whenua. The primary challenge facing ECan, therefore, is how to structure a return to democratic representation that guarantees the appropriate kaitiaki / resource stewardship role of Ngai Tahu.

The next challenge being, is there enough water for all users wanting it? This is a matter of careful sharing, and in good governance.

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) was developed, and in 2009 launched, by an elected council collaborating with the region’s mayors. Commissioners have been rolling the CWMS out and founding its water Zone Implementation Committees and Plans (ZIPs). Keeping these Zone Committees viable is a function of good democracy – people need to believe and participate in ECan’s resource management plan as a whole.

It is hard to believe trouble greater than rising ‘water wars’ could displace these in Canterbury, but one did – devastating earthquakes.

Now we have seen the capacity for communities to collaborate and recover from deadly calamity, how do we optimise this capacity as a region? ECan co-ordinates local emergency responses and we need reminding and preparedness for what is forecast to come: the Alpine Fault poses a major threat every 330 years or so, the last rupture having been in 1717, around magnitude 8. Are we ready for ‘the big one’ here yet?

ECan’s technical capabilities are tested daily – a very large area to cover, containing some 70% of New Zealand’s freshwater and the nation’s second-biggest city, Otautahi Christchurch. Over half a million people live here which generates transport challenges. Without adequate staffing or accountable public representatives, resources can fall through the cracks and when they do it is scandalous: e.g. Environment Canterbury informs police, Serious Fraud Office of potential taxi fraud news today, story on RadioNZ with Checkpoint interview.

This echoes the finding Millions of litres of water illegally taken: Is ECan doing enough? in June – technically competent elected watch-dogs are needed to raise and maintain a higher level of vigilance. ‘Many eyes, shallower bugs’ is the credo of the open-source software movement and both central and local government need to learn from this international community, fast: the power of engaged communities to help solve the most ‘wicked problems’ on Earth.

For improvements to happen quicker in 2016, I have joined the local election campaign Community Voice .nz – Do join us, do speak – for a safer, more collaborative and prosperous region of Waitaha, Canterbury NZ!

Kia ora

Rik

Updates
A Hawke’s Bay water contamination crisis was erupting at the time of this post:

“Both Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury are among the driest and most drought-prone areas in New Zealand and both rely largely on aquifers for drinking water. Both have braided rivers too, although those in Hawke’s Bay are on a smaller scale than Canterbury.
A rush of irrigation over recent decades in Canterbury has led to significant environmental degradation, including serious contamination of some rural water supplies, loss of biodiversity and transformation of landscapes. Democracy has been damaged too, as development pressures led to the Government sacking the elected Environment Canterbury regional councillors and their replacement with appointed commissioners.
The commissioners promised to improve water quality. They have failed and water quality has continued to decline. Some rural water supplies, including Selwyn, Hinds and Hurunui, are contaminated with high levels of nitrogen and pathogens, leading to people becoming sick.
Canterbury now has the unenviable record of having the highest rate of campylobacter infections in the world, along with 17,000 notified cases of gastroenteritis a year and up to 34,000 cases of waterborne illness annually, according to Canterbury District Health Board figures.
Rates of animal sourced disease such as campylobacter are higher in areas of Canterbury with more intensive animal farming. A Canterbury District Health Board commissioned assessment of the proposed Central Plains Water Scheme found potential health risks to Cantabrians outweighed the probable financial benefits to a few people. Hawke’s Bay should not make the same mistakes as Canterbury. It needs development, particularly in agriculture, that is sustainable and protects water quality and the other natural treasures that contribute so much to the region’s quality of life.”
Amelia Geary: We want to be able to swim in our rivers, NZ Herald, 31 August 2016

Canterbury’s poisonous lake: still toxic, with dry summer ahead, Stuff, 2 September 2016
See Plan Change 6 (Wairewa) to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan

See wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_pollution_in_New_Zealand

Spreydon-Heathcote Youth Community Board 260716

‘Spreydon-Heathcote Youth Community Board’ 260716

An opportunity to bring constructive resilience to our local communities and youth has been lost, rudely hijacked. The ‘Spreydon-Heathcote Youth Community Board’ has turned out to be a community fraud, an in-house training exercise for Labour Youth. What a shocking waste.

When I suggested last December to bring representatives from all local school councils in the ward together, it was for a broad and deliberative democratic improvement, not a mirror-replica of Labour-dominated local politics. Diversity, depth and breadth of representation and goals were intended, with a Christchurch South youth community resilience role.

Instead my initiative, for a Spreydon-Heathcote Youth Council – for active engagement between local youth, residents’ groups and Civil Defence etc. – was headed off and greatly limited, by Labour politicians using the already-laden Christchurch Youth Council. The corruption of this process is highly pronounced.

What a disgusting insider-substitute for real inclusive agency around resilience and greater good:

the Spreydon-Heathcote Youth Community Fraud just sails away, a mockery of succession planning.


Graphic source, Wigram MP Megan Woods’ facebook post “The most excellent Spreydon Heathcote Youth Community Board – making sure their bit of Christchurch has a strong youth voice! Keep up the great work!”

When Christchurch City Council Senior Project Manager Lee Sampson opposed his local residents’ association, over an intersection upgrade that most in the area want, he backed the powerful against the weak and breached vital governance lines unacceptably. He should know better than to throw local government weight around like this and allow his neighbours to have their say duly heard.

The Hoon Hay/Cashmere/Worsleys Road intersection is scheduled for upgrade to traffic lights in the council Long Term Plan. But construction and opening of a cycling Adventure Park off Worsleys Road in 2016 concerns Cracroft residents especially that congestion delays increase unmitigated.

The Cracroft, Westmorland, Hoon Hay, Lower Cashmere and Cashmere residents’ associations have all agreed that the lights are needed now, to safely manage the increasing Cashmere Road traffic flow. Council has heard the call and is considering an accelerated upgrade this year. So when council staff start attacking the position of the residents it looks very suspicious indeed.[1]

Is this a determination by council authorities to neutralise the organised voice of the residents? Apparently so. Sampson next wants to claim a community board seat off the residents and campaigns now to that effect.[2]

What does this make the Dalziel-Edwards-run council look like? A rates appropriation of power that refuses local direction, steam-rolling commercial development through and homogenising ‘representation’.

Democracy is much better than this and needs to say so in October. Kia ora.

Southern View 26Apr16 p5

Southern View 26Apr16 p5

[1] Southern View letters, 26 April 2016

Cashmere HoonHay Worsleys Road Intersection upgrade

Cashmere HoonHay Worsleys Road Intersection upgrade

The Hoon Hay/Cashmere/Worsleys Road intersection design in the new District Plan, that most residents want brought forward – before large Adventure Park events cause traffic chaos this summer.

Southern View 120416 p.1

[2] “Health board boss says Princess Margaret Hospital campaign ‘misleading’ residents“ 19Jul16 stuff.co.nz/national/health/82232610/princess-margaret-hospital-closure-making-life-hard-for-elderly-residents

Southern View 2016-05-10 p5

Beginning as conscientious-objector, anti-conscription, trade-union federalists in 1916, only to become conscripting and strike-breaking war leaders a generation later, the New Zealand Labour Party (NZLP) emerged masters of political somersault as government from 1935. Their Federation of Labour of 1937, under waterfront heavy Fintan Patrick Walsh, became gangster enforcers of the Left through war effort, and, confronting Stalinist groups, crushed diversity out of New Zealand alternative politics for decades to come.[1] Labour hegemony, over the politics of opposing capital, maintains the same hard and devious tactics to this day, betraying and subordinating worker interests to capital. The NZLP functional role is to actively dissolve any real opposition to capital. This applies right down to community level, wherever obliged. This post is a study of the underhand methods by which Labour-aligned bureaucrats keep themselves in power, through dirty stranglehold on communities, to constitute a corrupting influence upon Christchurch City Council (CCC) local government.

The socialist reforms that swept social-democrats to power in the 1930s have long since degraded with descent into social-fascism, such that ‘reforms’ are now typically, in the economic sense, mostly negative for working people and favour the corporate elite (that includes Labour).[2] Examples are state asset privatisation, real wage erosion and housing turned into an inflated market commodity, all under NZLP rule. (Labour has capitalised through multiple home ownerships bought via parliamentary careers; steady money has corrupted them collectively, thus creating a classic gang).

Which brings them to today’s water politics. The NZLP response to the rural downturn and lost subsidies of the 1970s and 80s was Helen Clark, from a Waikato dairy farm background, and mass dairy farm conversion with creation of Fonterra milk corporate co-op. With Clark as Prime Minister, new export industry required new sources of supply and in Canterbury – the country’s largest region with the bulk of its available freshwater resource – transformation began. Water demand expanded until it exhausted all usable supply from rivers, streams and wells. Then new irrigation, for pasture on difficult dry land, would require water storage and new publicly-funded supply schemes. Enter the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, when environmental impacts and strong public protest against them had all begun to hit home too. But a change to National government in 2008 allowed it to claim the landscape conversion was not fast enough, nor the mitigation effort. So National replaced the Labour-balanced regional council with appointed business commissioners, lacking much originality. What could the NZLP then do?

Labour, also lacking originality, has picked up National’s refrain: that city-dwellers should be concerned first and foremost with urban river water quality and not rural – ‘they are to blame’ after all. So Labour wants all the credit and publicity for this diversionary work, turning it into a new propaganda industry to keep itself in the news and somehow relevant. Of course Labour agrees with National – that the public is to have no real choice.

In our local neighbourhood, Labour have begun the Opawaho-Heathcote River Network, with themselves in exclusive charge. They will decide which community groups can participate, so the one I am part of – the Cashmere Residents’ Association – has been shut out; because it is independent of Labour, and, mostly, of the Labour-run city council. Residents will be stopped from voluntarily coordinating their own river-bank clean-up work, to subordinate it to Labour’s, and council staff will be drawn in to muzzle them and force them to advertise a ‘river network’ that they have been actively excluded from. What?! The consistency of this dictation machine is very anti-democratic and scary: it compromises staff ethics of impartiality, atrociously.

Labour’s social-fascist method is to hijack community initiative, to gain publicity and credit for other people’s work. They will hijack community newsletters to get their message out, to increase their influence at community expense. Council staff will help make this happen. What?!

Social-fascists (Labour) are not interested in community; they are interested in controlling communities. The social-fascist interest is directed over communities, through attaining positions of power. They maintain highly effective electoral machines, to elevate their members into positions of authority over the communities that they exploit parasitically. Social-fascists act to disorganise communities, to neutralise them as potential competitors to the Labour Party apparatus, and to substitute their social-fascist voice, opinions and decisions, for the community itself. They do this through targeting and monopolising local positions of council power, especially.

The Opawaho-Heathcote River Network is linked to the Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, recipient of significant council funds. But residents’ groups have the option of subscribing to the long-standing Christchurch Estuary Association, as an alternative; they are not obliged to simply follow the council-sponsored Trust. They can embark on water issue campaigns voluntarily, even their own, autonomously… in theory. In reality, the Labour-run council removes choice (like National does at regional level).

When the (ex-Labour) Christchurch Mayor asked recently for community views on proposed further research into the possible flood-control value of a tidal barrier for the Estuary, to supplement potential stop-bank work, she claimed ‘both the Estuary trusts rejected it’ as one reason for turning it down. This was a lie. Just the council-sponsored Trust opposed further study, whereas the public volunteer-run Estuary Association supported it. The Mayor’s office had asked for the association’s opinion but she herself did not read it or report it correctly.

Public choice, and effective democracy, demands quite a clean-up of the Christchurch City Council. Bullies, out!

[1] nzhistory.net.nz/people/fintan-patrick-walsh

[2] Social-fascism, from the social democracy era, is what defeated overt fascism for the imperialist West in the 1940s – a ‘softer, kinder’ variety of fascism that chose a different and ultimately victorious side in the Middle East oil politics, for rebuilding depression- and war-ravaged capitalism (e.g. the Roosevelt US, that had its own internment camps – for Japanese). Born of militarised societies, social-fascism remains a bulwark of capitalist imperialism, elected to government periodically on the democratic cycle. Out of the fascist era, only variants could compete and survive the state struggle for existence, then to now. This explains the violent growth of Stalinism, that matched attacks upon Russia and China on their own terms, producing stable national entities for the post-fascist era. ‘Social-fascism’ also describes these dictator states, as non-democratic but from degenerated communism. tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/162780/roosevelt-japanese-internment

Social-fascists, from a century of party machine development and many decades experience of governmental power, have a fanatical sense of entitlement. As the established second choice to wealthy nationalists, they know that top office has for generations been within ready reach, with patience and careful plotting. They simply must be the alternative to the nationalists and need not be substantively different (but meet the political pull of the media-created ‘centre’). This has warped social-democrats into mini-nationalists who are unprincipled, unethical and untrustworthy in all their political actions. Social-fascists have corrupt psychopathology that renders them incapable of recognising the betrayal and damage they do to communities, while propelling themselves on to assumed power. There is no way forward for struggling communities but to demolish and rebuild social-democrat (social-fascist) impetus, from the ground up. Waimarie.

Update 23-05-16
That the Opawaho-Heathcote River Clean-up is primarily for propaganda purposes is underscored by the fact that one week later it was being repeated, in part, by a different group:

Southern View, 17-05-2016, p.5

Southern View, 17-05-2016, p.5

Local government work is worthwhile when helping good initiatives take shape. This was the case last week, when the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board endorsed the concept of a ward youth community board:

Christchurch Youth Council deputation to SHCB, 1 March 2016

Christchurch Youth Council deputation to SHCB, 1 March 2016


The Christchurch Youth Council spoke to us about challenges local youth face, due to funding cut-backs in mental health, loss of useable space, activities and opportunity in the Christchurch rebuild, cultural diversity, disability support, etc. They have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Christchurch City Council and are exploring how best to activate it, this week. How a local youth council could work was outlined in December, during SHCB’s Child and Youth Workers network meeting:
extract - Child and Youth Workers network meeting - 2 December 2015

Extract: Child and Youth Workers network meeting, 2 December 2015


The full record of this meeting is here: Notes – Child and Youth Workers Network Mtg – 2 December 2015.
We look forward to this new council establishing! Any assistance required, please do ask. Thanks and well done!

Refs. Christchurch Youth Council; Canterbury’s mental health funding to be cut; Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board

Barrington petition news: RepReview appeals due 211215

Barrington petition news: RepReview objections and appeals due 21-Dec-2015

The proposal to increase Christchurch councillor numbers and manipulation of city hall shows why the fake-left are held so far from government, by democracy. If there aren’t enough councillors to fill committees – created by the dominant Christchurch administration bloc – what price more?

Devastation of the residential community grid, is what. Ward boundaries at random places that divide suburban communities of interest internally, and from long-held associations with neighbours, is what. For citizens to get their community organisations running they will be challenged by divided representation, in this skewed future. From 13 councillors currently, 16 are proposed. Would 14 be enough? If you think so you may like to join the petition to that effect.

What is fake about this proposed ‘left’ reform of a council is that it posits three added representative officials (on $100k salaries) as necessary ‘improvement’ of local democracy, while shattering the neighbourhood tapestry of suburban communities defined within wards to get there. The cost is to the communities and the gain is to the elected officials.

The fake Left of Christchurch says the end justifies the means, that more (Labour) councillors (on $99,200 salaries) is what our city needs, whatever the cost to struggling communities. Community unity – to decide and lobby for their interests – must be placed first, for which 14 councillors is an adequate increase. But Labour do not want to hear this or from the source.

Representation Review appeals and objections are due by Monday 21 December 2015, by 4pm. Take a look at the proposed 16-ward map, to see how your community would be affected, and have your say: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview
Share: http://www.facebook.com/events/752932178145017/

More info: https://riktindall.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/christchurch-city-mauls-core-communities-addington-sydenham-waltham-linwood-richmond-stalbans-in-boundary-review-ccc-repreview-petition-chch-nz/

Petition: https://riktindall.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/ccc-repreview-submission-petition-dec-2015-barrington-issues-group.pdf

Kia ora. Kia kaha, Otautahi

Barrington Issues Group petition news - Southern View, 30 Nov 2015, p.3

Barrington Issues Group petition – Southern View, 30 Nov 2015, p.3

A petition has started to defend historic Christchurch communities with boundaries under attack in the city’s representation review. Council proposes a new Central ward taking area from Addington, Sydenham, Waltham, Linwood, Richmond and St Albans, breaking up these communities of interest across multiple wards. Akaroa-Wairewa community board is merged as a minority into Lyttelton-Mount Herbert in the proposal. The petition opposing 2016 destruction of social history and community cohesion – so important for post-earthquake city recovery – is here:
CCC RepReview submission petition Dec 2015

The proposed new Christchurch ward areas look like this:

Christchurch City proposed ward boundaries 2016

Christchurch City proposed ward boundaries 2016

Submissions are open until 4pm on Monday 21 December 2015, with details here: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview

News extract from: Southern View, 30 Nov 2015 http://starnews.co.nz/jump.php?link=http://issuu.com/The.Star/docs/115334ob page 3

BIG-MediaRelease2-petition-031215 = http://bit.ly/1Twu4hd

The Christchurch City Council Representation Review 2015 closes for submissions at 5pm tomorrow, Friday 9 October. Thereafter Council will review submissions and the city electoral map proposed for 2016, and forward the decisions to central government for approval or otherwise. So what we all say about this is important and can have bearing on the final outcome. Communities of interest should be strengthened, made more articulate and coherent – and not more fragmented and weaker – as a result.

Here are some local ideas to encourage you to have your say:
Barrington Issues Group RepReview Submission Oct2015 final (1MB pdf file download)

CCC 14-ward, 8 communty board model, July 2015

CCC 8 communty board & 14 ward model, July 2015 – preferred option for many in South Christchurch


Graphic from: http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/July/Council23July2015Clause10Attachments2-5-MAPS.pdf
Ref. http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview or
http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/
Online submission form here: https://ccc.tfaforms.net/77

#HaveYourSay – Kia ora!

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/

The Christchurch local representation map is being redrawn, per six-yearly requirement, ahead of the 2016 elections. This provides opportunity to strengthen communities – or to strengthen politicians – as significant change is unavoidable in complex circumstances. But left to their own devices, which do you think some politicians are endeavouring to do? That’s right. The obvious: a strengthening of power within their grasp.

Public pressure – DEMOCRACY – is required to make Christchurch politicians see sense. Naturally.

Where 55% polled have already said they want no change at all, this is not an option: the Banks Peninsula anomaly/gerrymander (feat Sir Bob Parker) has to end, central government has ruled, and because earthquake red-zoning has moved so many households westward that they have to be recounted. So would politicians propose the nearest amendment possible to no change at all, that people want, of minimised change that improves balance effectively? Of course not. That is why, in August-Sept 2015, you should HAVE YOUR SAY on the CCC Representation Review.[1]

To recap, this is what the Christchurch public has already said on this matter [2]:

CCC Rep Review Press poll 210715

CCC Rep Review Press poll 210715

The public do not want the community board system undermined. In fact, to do so would conflict with the current mayor’s stated purpose of strengthening communities and the delegated abilities of community boards. Against this, one third of those polled support a Labour-aligned councillor and board chair-led initiative to multiply total councillors to 16 (in whose interests?) A still higher proposal of 19 councillors has already been rejected, as has an amendment for reduction to below the current 13; but 19 is still being lobbied for hard, regardless.[3]

The 16-ward system proposed, that will go out for consultation later this month, redraws the community board map as serious dilution. The gain would be three extra councillors to what we have now, with community boards having to cover about 14% more territory each, because one (Hagley-Ferrymead) would be lost entirely. That is a direct challenge to the closer focus that resident communities now have, and would retain under a 14-ward system (two wards per board instead of the three being proposed).

The 14-ward system drafted is much better for local communities, does bring one extra councillor to the table, and each councillor will represent a much smaller number of people. This is the gain and the loss in the inevitable redraw of the Christchurch political map: where residents have two councillor representatives currently, except Banks Peninsula, in future they will have only one, like Banks Peninsula. Performance competition within each urban ward is going to be removed, after the local elections next year, thus (and is this actually good?) So getting the representation ratio down still further if possible – as 14 wards achieves – is very important; though the 14 ward boundaries drafted still need minor refinement – HAVE YOUR SAY on this later this month.

Here are the 14- and 16-ward maps and board areas for comparison, from the council agenda [4]:

CCC 14-ward draft 23Jul15

CCC 14-ward draft 23Jul15


CCC 14-ward draft Community Board areas 23Jul15

CCC 14-ward draft Community Board areas 23Jul15


CCC 16-ward proposal 23Jul15

CCC 16-ward proposal 23Jul15


CCC 16-ward Community Board areas 23Jul15

CCC 16-ward Community Board areas proposed 23Jul15

You can see how addition on one new ward per community board is going to increase competition for board attention by 50% (increased board area). You can watch streamed video of how the 16-ward proposal got decided.[5]

Morally there is cause for the new, 14th seat to be elected from the Maaori electoral roll, proportionally; but mana whenua, Kai/Ngai Tahu runanga is opposed. Process-wise, bureaucratically it is too late to be debating this aspect now; it is a critical consideration for the six-year period ahead. Towards a 15th seat in 2019 or 2022? …

To summarise: the 2015/16 CCC Representation Review provides excellent opportunity to strengthen communities, by clarifying suburban/rural area maps for community cohesion and collective voice. But the review process has been hijacked by politicians of one political stripe, trying to strengthen themselves in number – at the expense of community cohesion – illegitimately. Communities must strengthen themselves and push back to ensure resident say is not further reduced in prescribed city mapping transition.

Council, please do what is right. The Local Government Commission has authority to reject your 16-ward proposal, if it is unwarranted, unsubstantiated or poorly researched, and they have done so before – last time 16 wards were proposed here. Do not leave Christchurch with no democracy-plan iron in the fire by proposing something unreasonable on our behalf. Debacle lays ahead if you do.

Kia ora. Kia kaha Otautahi!

[1] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/
[2] http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/70361468/christchurch-city-council-mulls-options-for-size-change
[3] http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/70417628/city-councillors-favour-upsizing
[4] http://www3.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/July/ see agenda of 23 July 2015.
[5] http://councillive.ccc.govt.nz/tag/agenda-item/representation-review-2014-15

Update 5 Aug:
As Christchurch youth say, ‘the communities should govern’:

C.C.Council signs off its 2016 representation proposal next Thursday, 13 Aug, and will notify it Weds 26 Aug. Public submissions on the representation review close on Friday 9 Oct. Prepare to defend and enhance community voice! http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/news-and-public-notices/council-selects-new-ward-option-for-public-consultation/ See 13 Aug agenda here: http://www3.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/August/index.aspx

Current ward/board area population sizes range from 47.7k to 65.5k approx, with the Banks Peninsula exception of 8.2k – see http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/how-the-council-works/council-wards/ 2013 Boundary maps: Google maps overview of all Christchurch wards https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zQ_JdJhdRN14.kHXUed_Xsj74

This critical range of community board representation numbers would change to:
16-ward model: between 63.5k & 66.1k + 19.8k (higher, makes representation worse, to increase councillors)
14-ward model: between 45.5k & 71.9k + 22.0k (lower/better balanced once refinement properly completed)

An ambition-laden, cost-saving proposal, the 16-ward model about to be released is a very clear attempt to shift decision-making power out of communities and into the council chamber. Where it increases community board areas by 50% and the councillor number on them by 50%, it increases the community board member number by just 20%. Is that what communities want, and is it fair?

It looks like council abandoned development of the 14-ward model, to leave it distorted and out of contention? A substandard effort here: finish the job and do it right please!

Use http://www.mashblock.co.nz to find boundary fixes, and read http://www.cashmere.org.nz/news/Cashmere-News-Diary-12Aug2015.html for why.