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Chamber outlines business wishlist for Council candidates

Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce has released a pre-election report that represents a local business perspective in the lead-up to the 2019 local election in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The Local Government Directive provides insights on issues raised by members of The Chamber and the wider business community and includes commentary and key recommendations.

Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the purpose behind the document is to advocate for the new Council to think and act differently and becoming an enabler for business to ensure we have a thriving economic future for the city, that will benefit local both local businesses and residents.

"As the newest city in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have the unique opportunity to leverage our city’s regeneration beyond the bricks and mortar, to create a strong economic base, which will in turn generate cashflow and the flow-on funding for social, and health and wellbeing initiatives in the region.

"To do this, we have set out nine recommendations that would help to deliver a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable 21st century experience for our businesses and residents, and ultimately support the livelihood of our residents."

The Chamber’s expectations of the new Council include:

- An independent review of the Council’s current asset base with a view to exploring opportunities to release more capital in order to prioritise and deliver on the Council’s vision and keep rates and debt at a manageable level.

- Greater focus given to business and people attraction to increase the rate base and raise capital, providing essential funding to meet project specifications and timelines.

- A commitment by Council to become an enabler for business and provide a more consistent customer-centric experience for businesses, with a greater focus on streamlining processes, minimising compliance costs and reducing the burden on business.

- Prioritisation and greater support for businesses and developers in the central city, with increased engagement and clear strategies to deliver.

- A stronger weighting given to the business voice in decision-making to be more representative of the level of private investment and potential impact of Council decision-making.

- Appropriate resourcing and increased support for activation and city promotion, to positively shape perceptions of our city, increase our national and global relevance and ultimately increase visitor revenue.

- A greater focus on ensuring the design of key city assets are fit-for-purpose, future-focused, accessible and affordable to ensure full utilisation and return on in investment, with increased engagement around asset delivery.

- Clear, succinct communication around the implications of global issues such as climate change and how they will impact local businesses, and subsequent risk management.

- Greater alignment and collaboration with local and central government agencies, with greater clarity around agency mandates and collaboration.

Ms Watson says the document is the starting point of a larger conversation with candidates.

"As well as outlining our expectations from the new Council, The Directive is also a call to candidates to outline their position on the issues that matter most to the engine room of our city.

"As an Employers’ Chamber, we remain committed to working in collaboration with local government and being a conduit for two-way engagement with the local business community."

The Chamber will also be hosting a Mayoral Candidate Forum on Wednesday evening, with the three candidates that members of The Chamber and general public have voted they would most like to hear from - Lianne Dalziel, John Minto and Darryll Park.


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