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Chch Mayor Garry Moore will not seek fourth term

Media Release 28 September 2006

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore will not seek fourth term

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said today that he will not seek a fourth term as Mayor. He made the announcement at a special Council meeting held at Rapaki Marae.

Mr Moore said he had decided to make it clear now that he was intent on finishing his third term with a firm focus on completing key projects such as inner city revival. Contesting another election would have cost energy and time he preferred went into other activities.

“I also want to give quality candidates lots of time to decide about whether they want to try and take on this utterly fascinating job,’’ said Mr Moore.

In a speech announcing his decision he said he had enjoyed the challenges of a time of major reforms he had started over the last eight years. These had been both political and internal Council reforms.

Councillor numbers had been cut, a new portfolio system had replaced the old committee structure, and Banks Peninsula had joined Christchurch City. Christchurch City Council now also has a new CEO, Dr Lesley McTurk, a new key executive team and a renewed sense of purpose.

He said it had been an exciting time to be at the helm during such significant changes.

“The Council under my lead has addressed big projects such as the new Christchurch Art Gallery which has been constructed, as have three new libraries, new swimming pool projects are planned, central city revival plans have been adopted and the Urban Development Strategy for Christchurch’s future is being undertaken in association with neighbouring Councils Selwyn and Waimakariri.

“The new landfill at Kate Valley has gone through its entire planning and construction process during my time as Mayor, this has changed totally the method of collection and disposal of waste raising our processes to world standards,” said Mr Moore. “This Council has also faced up to the challenge of the Estuary Sewer outfall and has recently accepted a tender to construct a wastewater pipe three kilometres out to sea.

“Our Council has faced up to capital challenges both below the ground and above it,” said Mr Moore

“We have laid the foundations for a great city again. We have passed a wonderful 10-year-plan with our recent LTCCP and my job is to make sure that we implement it properly whilst keeping our rates the lowest in New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Moore plans to concentrate on making sure this sense of impetus and purpose are kept intact during the last third of what would be his final term.

“I still have a year to go and I plan to make the most of it,’’ he said.

--

Mayor Garry Moore, Speech to Christchurch City Council,
Thursday 28th September 2006, Rapaki Marae

Greetings.

The first time I spoke to Council as Mayor I made a promise. That promise was that we would conduct “business as unusual.” It’s a promise that I like to think I have kept. It was also a promise made with a purpose. This purpose was to make reforms that ultimately were aimed at returning Christchurch to its best traditions as a humane and innovative city.

Eight years ago I ran for Mayor because of this vision for Christchurch. It was a continuation of the beliefs that had led me to serve the St Albans community as a Councillor for six years before that. I knew, in that first Mayoral campaign, that we needed to modernise, but in doing so to also renew our social roots and tradition of innovative democracy. This passion has driven me ever since.

I had, and have, a deep commitment to making sure Christchurch keeps its unique qualities and lifestyle.
At the same time, as New Zealand’s major trading city, we need to stay nimble and adaptable to meet constantly shifting economic, social and political changes. These changes are taking place both here and overseas.

Managing our way through these has become part of the job description for modern mayors of major cities.

Back when I ran the first time, I already could see that our way forward called for reforms. It also called for a new breed of “public entrepreneur” willing to forge viable partnerships between the public and private sectors to achieve common good goals. Goals like jobs and prosperity.

It was why I developed ideas the like Mayors for Jobs organisation, which turned into a major force for getting our young people into work and training.

I’d now like to take us all on a short trip down memory lane to when I came to office as Mayor in 1998. It was toward the end of a huge wave of change in local government structure and philosophy that had gathered force since the 1980’s.

Rather than partnerships the other “P” word, privatisation, was in favour. The national, indeed international trend was to divest from public ownership.

It was a trend that many of us here in Christchurch fought against until it was shown as the short term fix that it is.

Christchurch’s core character is as a city that has always been prepared to look after our less advantageous citizens. We were the first city in New Zealand to provide affordable public housing. We did it before central Government and we never wavered in our commitment to providing affordable housing.

We still have not.

There were enough of us then to stand against the tide of flogging off the family silver, including housing, to carry off the goal of holding onto public property. In fact we have grown our stock of public housing in recent years.

We also held onto the rest of our public assets while others sold theirs.

The result? We have a billion dollar plus asset base, which enables us to have the lowest rates of any major city, while offering more services. In investment terms it has more than paid off for the public good.

Internally, the Council faced a different dilemma.

We had slowly become a victim of our own success, praised for years nationally and internationally for innovation and humanity, we had slowly begun to rest on our laurels.

At a time of huge economic and social change we had slid out of the habit of staying ahead of the pack. We had allowed ourselves to become unwieldy and cumbersome.

It was clear to me that to keep true to our traditions the Council needed to go through some major changes. We needed to face the reality that to provide a truly socially responsive Council, able to meet changing needs, required big changes, starting at the top.

This has been a sometimes difficult journey for us all.

Politically, it led eventually to the big changes to wards and to the decisions by the Local Government Commission to reduce Councillor numbers from 24 to 13.

It has led to a system where issues have to make it on merit, not numbers. This has been good for us all.

It has led to a portfolio system rather than the old standing committees of yesteryear. It has also led to the seamless amalgamation of Banks Peninsula Council into this Council.

Change is best led from the top. The appointment of Dr Lesley McTurk as CEO was a pivotal point in our trip toward successful reform.

Lesley was given our clear mandate to transform the Council and has done so by a programme of organisational and cultural restructuring.

For the public perhaps one of the simplest examples of what this means is this; their libraries are now open longer and at times better suited to the public.

For us the evidence of success is starting to pile up. We were the only local government applicant to get a New Zealand Performance Excellence Study Award this year. It was noted at the time of this award that it was also very unusual to win first time. We did win, and Dr McTurk and the reform process deserve a large slice of the credit for this.

We have also got some top notch staff in our new executive.

Councillors will still remember how crisp, coherent and compelling were the papers they provided us to work with in developing our second Long Term Council Community Plan. They were the best I have ever seen.

With these changes we have also been able to enter into productive and progressive partnerships with the private sector.

I take pride in our efforts to keep the Pratt and Whitney Engine Centre firmly tethered to Christchurch. We put in seed money at a time when it was needed and can look with pride on the 450 jobs there and the growing aviation industry presence in Christchurch.

We can look to at our record for fostering high-tech innovators as part of the reason Christchurch is now the high tech hub of New Zealand.

We have become much more of an active trading city in the global market.

Commercially we are extroverts. That requires trade trips and I have been happy to serve as a door opener internationally.

Although we are justifiably famous as the one of world’s best Garden Cities we are also a major trading city.

We have more export activity overseas than we have trading ties with the rest of New Zealand.

We have more than earned our status as the undisputed capital of the South Island. I remain firm in our commitment to ensure our sea port, air port and data ports support strong export growth.

I also take pride in witnessing our central city projects, eight years in the making, building up a powerful head of steam as we work with the private sector.

We have been the broker, not the banker. Sending the right signals has lured in hundreds of millions of dollars of private sector cash to the inner city. We will have an inner city precinct we can all take pride in.

I am also proud of what we have done with the Long Term Council Community Plan. It is a plan that reflects grassroots democracy steering the future direction of our city.

You may have noted today that I have chosen to wear the hefty mayoral chains.

One reason they weigh heavy is because each passing Mayor leaves behind another link in the chain. I can touch these links and be reminded of the vision and aspirations of those who have helped create the city we now enjoy.

These chains of office have a proud history.

They also remind us all of the continuity of a city. How a city is always more than just whoever is at the helm at the time. Of how at the same time those who carry that load can also be crucial to setting the right direction.

The mayoralty is not a role for life.

I believe the time has come for me to prepare to hand these chains on.

After nearly three terms, nine years at the next local body elections, I want to state now that I will not seek re-election as Mayor of Christchurch next year.

I decided to make this announcement today, a year away from the next election, for three reasons.

Firstly, by doing so here I honour and recognise our close and vital relationship with the Tangata Whenua of this place, Ngai Tahu.

Ngai Tahu welcomed the settlers for the knowledge they could bring. It is an old and powerful relationship.

Secondly, by stating my position today, I open the door for other contenders to have time to think about whether they want to meet this challenge. Whether they have what it takes to carry forward our city vision and tradition.

This is not a job for the faint of heart. It takes stamina, optimism and very real belief in the value of active public office.

Thirdly, freed from the demands of an election I will be able to set my sights firmly on those projects that mean so much to me and to Christchurch.

This includes the revival of the city centre, the review of city housing to meet future needs, and getting the 10 year plan off to a strong start.

The new art gallery, the new libraries, QEII becoming a centre of sporting excellence and our aquatics plan are exciting new additions to our thriving city.

This will let me leave, confident that the city is in the best shape possible for meeting the challenges of the future, long after I am gone.

For me that is still what matters.

I look forward to working with you, my colleagues, over the next 12 months. Thank you.


ENDS

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