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Andrew Turner's Speech at the Peoples Choice Campaign Launch

Good afternoon.

I know most of you know me, but for those at don't I'm Andrew Turner, currently the Christchurch City Councillor for the Banks Peninsula ward, and the leader of the Peoples Choice caucus of 6 councillors.

I’m going to talk briefly about some of our achievements this last term, our aims for the future, and core policies, before I ask Anne Galloway, our council candidate for Halswell, to talk about our vision for families and young people.

In the 2013 local body elections achieving six at the table was a significant achievement - an increase compared to the three councillors in the previous term. This result was an indictment of the hard work done by our councillors, all of whom were re-elected, and the fact that they stood up for our values and stood against some of the actions of a Council which was largely unpopular coming into the 2013 election.

It is our hope that the 2016 local body elections will also see an increase in our numbers at the table. It is our hope that we will win a majority of seats in this election so that we can really make a difference for the residents of the City in line with the policies that we are announcing today.

We’re also standing candidates for Environment Canterbury. Lan Pham, Steve Lowndes, and Cynthia Roberts will be excellent voices for the environment, for water quality, and for a democratic regional council.

And we’re running candidates for the community boards across our city.

It is timely to look back on the achievements of the Peoples Choice Councillors in this term, a term which has been anything but business as usual and which has presented, exactly as we expected, some unique challenges as we move from recovery to regeneration, and all of the opportunities that presents when handled well and when we envision a regenerated city with the people of Christchurch at its heart.

We have successfully put the case for the retention of the city's assets, in the face of the claims made at the time of the 2015 long term plan that it was necessary to sell down a large proportion of the companies owned by the council through CCHL. We put the arguments for retention of our assets, the arguments against the unprecedented size of the front-loaded capital programme, and the arguments against a budget which we believed contained a level of capital expenditure which was undeliverable. We put those arguments consistently and confidently. This was reflected by the large number of submissions to the LTP from people who agreed with our position, and I'm pleased to report that although we were faced with voting against aspects of the 2015 long term plan, the 2016 annual plan, which we were able to support, has acknowledged that there are ways of releasing capital which don't involve the sale of the companies or the shares in them, has acknowledged that there is not the capacity to deliver the LTP capital programme as originally planned, and that capital spend will need to be spread over the period of the LTP rather than front loaded as originally envisaged. I call that a win for the people of the city, who want facilities and infrastructure repairs, but who don't want that at the expense of selling the very assets that keep our rates lower than they otherwise would be.

We will continue to oppose the sale of assets, and will continue to provide prudent and responsible financial management - responsibility which will balances the needs of today in terms of keeping rates affordable and providing service and funding capital projects, with a level of prudence that keeps our finances in good order for the future, for our children and grandchildren, by not squandering those assets of which we are the current custodians because of good and sensible decision making by those who came before us.

We have taken steps to ensure Council's social housing continues to be provided and continues to be in Council's ownership. I call that a win for our social housing tenants and those who need the security that our social housing provides.

We will continue to ensure that Council provides social housing for those who need it most. housing which is affordable, warm, dry and fit for purpose.

We have consistently supported the repair and rebuild of community facilities, initially focussing on the top 30 facilities for repair and rebuild, and now over the continuing repair and rebuild of facilities to which we remain strongly committed - the new library and community facilities in Sumner, the recently reopened Wharenui sports centre, the rebuilt Norman Kirk Memorial Pool in Lyttelton, the Te Hapua Centre in Halswell, the new Eastern Rec and Sport facility... The list goes on. I also call that a win for the residents of our city who will benefit from these excellent facilities.

We will continue to support the provision of community facilities - libraries, swimming pools, community centres, sports fields, parks and gardens, so that they can become a place where communities can come together and connect, and thrive.

We have consistently kept a focus on the suburbs as well as the central city, appreciating that since the earthquakes, whilst we remain a connected city with the central city at its heart, we are increasingly a city of villages. In addition to our support for quality community facilities which I referred to earlier, we have supported the suburban master plans and their outcomes. Most recently we have supported the new business improvements district policy, which will give increased influence to local business communities where there is the capacity and will for this to happen. We successfully argued for the removal of the monetary threshold in that policy which now makes this very relevant to those "villages" which so need to have a sustainable economy, to provide jobs, to provide vibrant, successful and sustainable suburban centres and town centres, providing opportunity, employment, and good environments for the residents of those areas. Areas like Woolston, Sydenham, Beckenham, Lyttelton, Edgeware, Akaroa, Redcliffs, and others. We remain absolutely committed to thriving suburban centres, we remain committed to supporting the suburbs in addition to the central city, recognising the fact that thriving suburban centres with sustainable local economies will give rise to thriving and sustainable communities.

Our focus in economic development extends to recognition of the value of small and medium sized enterprises to the economic life of the city, the importance of the visitor economy, the importance of employment opportunities that pay reasonable wages to the city's residents, the importance of the manufacturing sector, and the changing face of the city's economy. A vibrant economy is one of the keys to a vibrant community, and we remain committed to taking all steps necessary to guarantee the economic future of the city as a whole, and it's suburban centres in particular.

It has been a pleasure this afternoon to talk about some of the ways we've delivered against our values in the current council term. We look forward to the opportunity to increasingly continue to deliver against our values, our policy platform and our election manifesto. It is my belief that we are offering a stable of candidates who are highly electable, highly capable, highly professional, and highly motivated. I commend them to you, and I look forward to the support of the people of Christchurch, so that we can increasingly continue to deliver that which is important to the people of Christchurch - and that which will ensure a bright future for this amazing City.

Thank you.


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