Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Brownlee's challenger Raf Manji pitches for 2026 Games

Brownlee's challenger, Raf Manji, pitches Christchurch for 2026 Commonwealth Games

By Pattrick Smellie

July 27 (BusinessDesk) - Christchurch should bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games both as a way to kickstart the city's stalled post-quakes rebuild and to ensure its nationally strategic potential is restored, says Raf Manji, the Christchurch City Councillor who launched his bid today to unseat former Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee in the safe National seat of Ilam.

Manji, a 50 year-old former merchant banker who once moved in the same money market circles as former Prime Minister John Key, has carved out a reputation as a smart financial operator and leader as chair of the council's finance committee.

He is standing as an independent to unseat Brownlee on a ticket seeking to be made Minister of Christchurch Regeneration in the next Cabinet, whoever forms the government, arguing the city is in danger of failing to set itself up for its vital role as "the clear second city of New Zealand, the capital of the South Island and the anchor of the mainland economy".

"Christchurch cannot be allowed to fail," he said at this morning's campaign launch.

Bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games would create momentum and purpose for the rebuild, which he said has lost focus and a sense of direction and "been drifting for the last six months".

Brownlee stepped down as Christchurch Regeneration Minister after last December's Cabinet reshuffle and was replaced by local MP Nicky Wagner, whom Manji did not explicitly criticise.

"Who is holding the vision and who is leading it?" Manji asked. "I would say no one. When John Key stepped down at the end of last year, I really felt we had lost the one person who at least could appreciate the big picture and understood the strategic imperative for a successful recovery of Christchurch.

"Christchurch matters. Our country, one nation, two islands is suffering from a lack of balance, as resources and people are sucked into Auckland, to the detriment of the rest of the country, " said Manji. We have new infrastructure, an oversupply of commercial space, we will have a new range of brand new community facilities and our housing is generally affordable housing as well. This narrative needs to be pushed harder and more explicitly."

The city also had options about how it developed areas as yet unbuilt, with opportunities to review the five year-old post-quake Blueprint for the city and the vision behind it.

"What was the objective? Why reshape the city and engage in the largest compulsory acquisition process in modern times?"

Bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, 52 years after the 1974 Friendly Games, would give the city "something to aim for, something to dream about" as both a demonstration to the world 15 years after the quakes what Christchurch has achieved.

"It can be shaped our way, with Christchurch as the host city, but with the games spread throughout Canterbury and even the South Island. We are building everything we need and we have time to prepare. This will be the icing on the cake, a lofty goal to give us something to really focus on and be excited about."

Manji is backing his call with a specific plan to spend another billion dollars to finish a range of key projects throughout the city, whose future has become doubtful but would complete much of the rebuild, and which he would advocate for in Parliament.

A $400 million Central City Housing fund would build high density neighbourhoods in the city's so-called East Frame, which Manji said had been "clear felled"; $300 million for a Red Zone redevelopment fund, where projects are in development but have no funding; $200 million towards a Multi-Purpose Arena which should be built immediately and well, and a $100 million City Revitalisation fund that could establish a range of new facilities including a marine research centre at New Brighton, an indoor velodrome on the site of Lancaster Park, a national sports museum, a science and innovation centre and an 'epic centre' for youth.

While approached to stand for The Opportunities Party, Manji has chosen to remain independent, meaning he can bring no more than his own vote to the next Parliament, making him a potential partner for National, which may struggle for a majority with its existing coalition partners, the Maori, United Future and Act parties, based on current polling. He would willingly work with a Labour-led government.

Brownlee would return to Parliament as a list MP, having held Ilam continuously since 1996.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>

 

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Mental Health Foundation: 'Positive First Steps'

“The heavy reliance on pilots and targeted approaches in the package announced today makes it plain that additional funding will be needed so that activities that work can be made available throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Robinson. More>>

ALSO:

'Gift' To NZ: Synod Considers Third Christchurch Cathedral Option

Members of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch will consider three, not two, options regarding the future of the ChristChurch Cathedral... The new option is for the Synod to gift the Cathedral building to the Government for the people of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Presser: Labour's Water Policy 'Reckless', Says English

The Labour Party has "bumbled into" its policy to charge for water in a "reckless" way that would put a Labour-led government on a collision course with both Maori and other water users, Prime Minister Bill English said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election