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Christchurch Protest Committee letter to Hon Dr Nick Smith

1 February 2012

Christchurch Protest Committee letter to Hon Dr Nick Smith, New Zealand Minister for Local Government

To Hon. Dr. Nick Smith
Minister for Local Government
Parliament Buildings
PO Box 18041
Wellington 6160


We, the citizens of Christchurch unite in protest to challenge our dysfunctional Christchurch City Council’s leadership.

Our Mayor, Bob Parker and Chief Executive, Tony Marryatt show no desire to operate with transparency and with proper processes in place. They make unilateral governance decisions without elected councillors’ knowledge. This lack of true leadership and desire to unite councillors is seriously undermining Christchurch moving forward.

The decision to award the Chief Executive a huge pay increase without proper process and in these times of disaster and struggle for ratepayers, and in a time when the council is in budget deficit reveals to the majority of our city how out of touch our Mayor and many on our council are with its citizens. The remuneration decision is but one of many poor decisions in recent times. There have been many other poor decisions in past times. This record clearly reveals the leadership of our council do not have the skills to lead us forward.

Business leaders, lawyers and many in the development industry have also been crying out against the council’s inadequacies in enabling the rebuild to begin. The beaurocratic red tape of council hinders people moving into new homes. Even in these desperate times the council has only three people who can sign off a building consent and one is on holiday as we write.
In comparison, Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils are building five and six times more houses per capita than our council. This is a telling statistic on our level of functionality.

Now more than ever we need highly professional and ‘switched on’ leadership. We need a mayor, CEO and councillors with appropriate skills, ability and a desire to work together as a united council.

We therefore,

1. Call on the Government for fresh mid term elections to enable new leadership to govern our city so we can move into the rebuild phase of recovery.

2. Call on the government to impress on our council to develop a process that will address the issues around the council holding up the rebuild of Christchurch. This will include how and when to fast-track land-zoning changes, sub-divisions and other consents in an open and transparent way, while ensuring that the suitability of the land and the safety of the buildings is assured.

3. Call on the Mayor and the Councillors to commit to transparency and accountability to the people they were elected to serve in the lead up to new elections

We write this from citizens who have united in protest across the city on this day, 1 February 2012.

Signed the Protest Committee,

ENDS

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