One thing which used to frustrate me as Mayor was the way Central Government strode all over Local Government when they decided to take certain action. Time and time again the costs of these decisions were passed onto Local Government to absorb. We have seen it blatantly exhibited here with Central Government has not letting Christchurch go. Look at all the myriad of Central Government Departments still surviving in this City.
It really is time for CCC to exercise its right to start defining where we want to go as a City. It was interesting to hear Megan Woods state, when she spoke at the Tuesday Club a couple of weeks ago, that Lianne Dalziel has a greater opportunity to influence Cabinet as she has the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Christchurch. I don’t agree with this. I think it’s just another obstruction which stops us getting on with things ourselves. It’s just another filter in the way of clear communications. When I was Mayor, I had all Cabinet Ministers, and the Prime Minister’s, phone numbers and rang them regularly. I didn’t need a filter, called DPMC.
I have said many times that I think the Global Settlement negotiations were not conducted in as robust a manner as could have been possible. One of these was succeeding in getting Central Government structures to leave this City. We need to be respected as being the second largest City in NZ. We need to stand up and say to Central Government you didn’t put as much into this City as you stated in the Global Settlement. You pay enormous sums to Auckland and we deserve our share.
It was interesting in the Mayoral debates in Auckland this week when Phil Goff said:
“even if there was a National Party in Government, they would tell Tamihere to “sod off”, saying as mayor he had got an extra $9 billion from central Government for the city’s 10-year transport programme”.
How much would the equivalent level of funds be which have flowed into Christchurch in the past three years? I think everybody become hypnotised by the discredited $14b figure which was used by the National Government to say how generous they were, and which, for some strange reason, has been repeated by Labour. We need to fight for resources for our horizontal infrastructure. We need to stand up and be proud of our City and to advocate for our rightful share of resources from the State.
What sparked off my thinking, again, of how we struggle for resources from Central Government, was this article in Newsroom https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/22/767057/lecturing-councils-wont-work-for-labour-either
Once again Local Government is a whipping boy for Central Government. The underlying message is that Local Government is responsible for the blocks in development, again, and Central Government are going to solve it.
I have written before that Local Government is a vehicle totally created by Central Government. If the rules which Central Government have put in place aren’t working, don’t blame Local Government.
If an Urban Development Authority is the solution, let it be run from Christchurch, not Wellington. Just think what Wellington has imposed on us so far, Cera, CCDU, Otakaro Ltd, Regenerate Christchurch, DPMC, LINZ. It goes on and on.
It’s time to stand up Local Government leaders and stand proud. This is the People’s Republic of Christchurch and remind Central Government of that as often as you need to.