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Anderton has issues with CCC’s Plan

09 June 2006

Anderton has issues with CCC’s Long-term Council Plan

Progressive Leader and Wigram MP, Jim Anderton made a submission today on the Christchurch City Council's Long-term Council Plan in the Christchurch Council chambers.

"The Garden City has always had a distinctive and friendly reputation. Christchurch has maintained a 'steady as you go, hands-on' style of local government. Opponents have branded Christchurch over the years as the 'People's Republic of Christchurch' to put pressure on the city's leaders to change, to sell up, to devolve, to cut down and to shrink services. Successive councils, have, to their credit, maintained independence from political fads and Christchurch has always had integrity as a caring and well-represented city.

" Recently, we lost representation by reducing the number of city councillors from 24 to 12. Now, we are in real danger of losing touch, not only from community opinion, but reducing our elected representative's ability to be rigorous in their decision-making. The loss of well-respected senior Council officers, and the institutionalised knowledge they have, is a serious loss for our elected representatives ability to make informed decisions.

"This draft LTCCP document is not user friendly. I read a lot of papers and I can see there is a real lack of detailed information – or omissions in this document. Our councillors should know that they must take people with them, if rates are to be substantially raised, to survive, whatever the reasons. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the Council's proposed increases have led to public disquiet.

"I am also concerned about the near quadrupling of the Christchurch City Council’s debt over the next 6 years and have included that in my submission. As a result of careful management by previous Councils, Christchurch’s debt and rates mix are the lowest of all the large New Zealand cities. We should be pretty respectful of the effort that has gone into this feat.

"Housing has been a centrepiece of Christchurch's social conscience. It has helped define Christchurch's unique identity. Housing is a strategic asset – no question – and should not be excluded from the city's list of strategic assets.

"I congratulate the Christchurch City Council on the Aquatic Facilities Plan and the expansion of Jellie Park, and Pioneer Facilities, and the development of new facilities in the west and east. But the gap of ten years between the proposed closures and the development of new facilities is not a good enough resolution. A whole generation of children will miss out on facilities, if a better answer is not found to access and use.

"My submission indicates strongly that the Progressive Party does not support closing libraries, mobile libraries or our public swimming pools. These facilities have been hard-won and I won't be standing by if closure is threatened.

"Christchurch City Council has maintained a high level of service for ratepayers and the people who live in this lovely city. Over time, the city has developed its brand, a brand and way of life we can all be proud of. Any change to the balance between services and development has to be considered in the light of this," Jim Anderton said today.

ENDS

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