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James Macbeth Dann to run for Christchurch Central


Labour activist and founder of the website Rebuilding Christchurch James Macbeth Dann today announced his intention to contest the Labour Party candidate selection for Christchurch Central. Dann has worked with the Port Hills electorate for the last few years, as part of the team that had Ruth Dyson successfully re-elected in 2008 and 2011. He has been Chairperson of the Port Hills LEC since 2010, but has lived in Christchurch Central for most of the last decade, with a brief interruption due to the earthquakes.

Dann has a BSc in Biochemistry and a BA in Classics from the University of Otago, as well as a Masters in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Canterbury. He is currently working on his PhD, on the genetics of endometrial cancer, with the University of Otago, Christchurch. He also works part-time at popular live music venue the darkroom.

Dann was a key player in the water rights movement that sprung up after the National government sacked the ECan council in 2010. He organised a number of large protests and rallies, which influenced the debate, before the earthquakes forced the issue on to the back burner. Immediately after the September quake, he started the website Rebuilding Christchurch (rebuildingchristchurch.wordpress.com), which been an influential site for discussion about issues in the city. This led to his writing being published in the New Zealand Herald, Christchurch Press, and a column in the Christchurch Mail, as well as the site being the only New Zealand entry in the Guardian Cities site.

He is keenly involved in a number of community and transitional organisations that have emerged in the city post-quake. He was the first musician to play at the first Gap Filler, and has been involved ever since, as well as with the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA) and urban farming project, Agropolis. He is a board member of the contemporary arts project space, the Physics Room.


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