The Minto for Mayor council housing policy launch will be held this Sunday

 25th August
Cecil Courts

Cecil Courts has 20 units which have been progressively closed in recent years because the council refuses to refurbish or upgrade them despite the desperate housing shortage in Christchurch for people and families on low incomes. (Note: Earthquake damage is not the issue here because some of the units were occupied until a couple of years ago)

Another complex of 32 units, which is now also closed, is in Carey Street, Somerfield.

The problem is that the council has a “policy” of refusing to use rates to
maintain council rental housing. This has led to run down council owned units across the city and when they need refurbishment they are simply closed and the number of council housing units available to families in need decreases year by year.

This is a social disgrace under the watch of a council fixated with pouring hundreds of millions of ratepayer money into a multi-purpose rugby stadium.

The council is now well over 400 units (and growing) short of what the city had before the earthquakes.

This shameful situation will be addressed by the campaign at the policy launch on Sunday including how the refurbishment/upgrades will be completed without cost to ratepayers.

Media are warmly welcome.

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Minto for Mayor

Providing Free and Frequent Public Transport

The problem:
Our greenhouse gas emissions need to come down quickly to do our part in preventing climate catastrophe. 53% of Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport – mainly cars and trucks.

Free bus and rail travel in Christchurch City. This is the single most important way Christchurch can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

What would this look like?
Comfortable, modern, low-emission buses, fitted with free wifi, would provide free and frequent travel along transport corridors to all parts of the Christchurch City – up to Rangiora, West to Darfield and South to Lyttelton. A plan for the future development of fare-free tram and train services would be prioritized.

What would it cost?
Taking into account the current bus fares collected by ECAN (which runs the bus service) the initial operating cost of the policy would be approximately $20 million per year. However, it would also require capital investment to double the number of buses over the next five years as residents move to public transport.

Where will the money come from?
From funding already allocated for new road building in Christchurch. This would require negotiation with the government and ECAN but with a strong mandate from Christchurch in the election this would be easily achievable. The policy would lead to a rethink of the hugely expensive and unsustainable roading projects currently being developed for Christchurch.

Why don’t we just build more roads to reduce congestion?
It’s irresponsible to promote roads with the environmental crisis we face through greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Public transport is far cleaner and greener and this policy would significantly reduce Christchurch’s carbon footprint. A person who switches from their car to a full bus has 15 times lower greenhouse gas emissions.

In any case the experience elsewhere has been that new roads just mean getting to the traffic jam quicker. 

Will Christchurch be the first city to do this?
No, but we’ll be the first city in Australasia to run free and frequent public transport.

So where else is it working?
Other cities ahead of us include Tallinn in Estonia, Dunkirk in France and Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province and the fourth largest city in China where many of the main transport corridors run free buses. Germany is considering making public transport free across the country to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the benefits?
  •     EVERYBODY benefits – even those who never use a bus or train will be able to travel on a gridlock-free roading network.
  •    No extra charges for anyone - no rates increases, no extra fuel taxes, no congestion charges, no network charges, no toll roads, no PPPs, …
  •    Improved productivity – roading congestion costs Christchurch tens of millions in lost productivity every year. This policy will release that lost productivity and enable better pay for workers. NOTE: The New Zealand Initiative tells us we need higher productivity to get higher wage increases. Here’s a golden opportunity to pass on these productivity increases to workers in wages.
  •    Faster bus travel as no time wasted collecting fares
  •    Revitalising central Christchurch as more people travel to enjoy the central city, Lyttelton and the city beaches.
  •    Cleaner and greener – this may well be the single greenest policy in the history of New Zealand! -  less pollution, a smaller carbon footprint and big ups to the environment!
  •     Savings for workers and reduced income inequality. The Mayor of Tallinn has called it the “13th monthly salary” because of estimates the policy saves a month’s salary each year for workers using free public transport. People on low and middle incomes spend a higher proportion of their income on transport than those on higher incomes so this will help reduce inequality.
  •    Economic stimulation as workers have significantly more to spend in the real economy.
  •     A tourism boost as tourists relish the chance to see all parts of Christchurch.

Who loses?
The big oil companies and car manufacturers. They make a mint from petrol and diesel burned up pointlessly on our congested roads every day.

Note: John writing on Free and Frequent public transport for Christchurch in 2016 HERE

Darryll Park joins Lianne Dalziel as a privatiser of assets through “opening the books”

The latest contender for the Christchurch mayoralty, Darryll Park is lining up the city for asset sales if he wins.

Park says he is not advocating asset sales “at this point in time” but wants to “open the books” and “carry out a full financial review of the council’s expenditure…” if he is elected.

This is a classic right-wing tactic. It has been used time and again over the past 35 years to justify fire sales of government and local council assets. It starts with “opening the books” which inevitably results in “shock – horror” claims of burgeoning debt which require the sale of assets to prevent double-digit rate increases.

The corporate sector love it. City residents are shafted.

Current Mayor Lianne Dalziel did precisely the same thing when she first became mayor and tried to get council approval for the sale of $600 million of city assets through engaging notorious privatisers, Cameron and Partners, to review the city’s books.

Dalziel failed to get her way, after a concerted community campaign to stop her, but did lead a failed charge to sell the council works agency City Care. Park wants to pick up where she left off.

Thank goodness voters don’t need to choose between them.

Our campaign categorically promises we will not sell out city residents by selling assets.

Our campaign promises are based on a future which makes sense. Our promises will SAVE money for ratepayers while addressing the three critical issues facing the city: our Climate Crisis, Water crisis and Inequality crisis.

Keep Our Assets Canterbury Mayoral Candidate 2019 is John Minto

We have decided to stand John because Christchurch faces unprecedented challenges:
  • Global warming from greenhouse gas emissions has created a climate catastrophe which threatens us all.
  • Our precious drinking water is tainted with contaminants and threatened by nitrates.
  • Deep divisions across the city mean many people struggle on poverty incomes without dignity or self-respect. Housing conditions and social impacts for many are as bad as the 1930s depression.

Our current path does not make sense – it’s not working for us.

The seven policies we will bring to the campaign will show the way to a future which makes sense for all of us.

Policy summary for Minto for Mayor 2019
  1. Dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions with free and frequent public transport – the single most important way for Christchurch to address our climate crisis. It will save money and be paid for from the current roading budget.
  2. Future-proof our water supply and clean up our waterways – plan, lobby and work for swimmable rivers in Christchurch and across Canterbury. One part of this is promoting local neighbourhood responsibility for sections of our city rivers.
  3.  Affordable housing – use $220 million from the government’s $300 million grant to rebuild the 400 council rental houses destroyed in the earthquakes and refurbish the “slum” housing currently owned by council. We will also begin to build a further 600 additional homes to meet the needs of our local community. This will mean putting the multi-purpose rugby stadium to the back of the queue for capital spending.
  4.  Higher wages – pay the living wage for all council work. We will pay a minimum of the living wage ($21.15 per hour) to council employees and those employed under contract to do council work. At the same time, we will set the maximum council salary $176,000 - four times the living wage. This policy will save money over time as we manage down senior management salaries at the council. The council will lead the way for other employers to follow.
  5. Keep rate increases to the rate of inflation – and rebalance rates across the city to make rate payments fairer.
  6. Reject proposals for the sale of our city assets and look for opportunities to bring strategic assets back under community ownership and control. This will save money and help reduce future rate increases.
  7. Create a local zone in the city centre to showcase products and services created here in Canterbury – to be paid for initially from higher rates on undeveloped land in the city centre.

Responding to the Mosque Massacres

Standing Against White Supremacism & Terrorism

A media report from last night’s meeting, sponsored by   Canterbury Progressive Network and EcuAction, can be found here

A video of the meeting itself is here

Donate to the victims and families
The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform for Muslim people) with all funds raised distributed to the victims and families affected by the Christchurch attack. All proceeds will go towards helping with their immediate, short-term needs. 
The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. Victim Support says it will use all donations received to the page to provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. This one has already raised $3 million from everyday New Zealanders, which I think is a bright spot in an otherwise very dark time. 

Responses to the attack
Islamic Women's Council repeatedly lobbied to stem discrimination 
How to combat Islamophobia and white supremacy 
‘I’d rather not breathe the same oxygen as him  
New Zealand must own this terrorist attack

Responding to the Mosque Massacres

public meeting today

Tuesday March 19 


 Cardboard Cathedral
 Latimer Square


The purpose of the meeting is for the public to say how they want to respond to the massacres that occurred last Friday at the Deans Ave & Linwood Muslim Mosques.

  • How widespread are white supremacist views (including Islamophobia) in Canterbury?
  • How really welcome are minority cultures and ethnic groups in Canterbury?
  • Is religion a unifying or dividing force in society?
  • Have the NZ security services paid too much attention to potential Jihadists and too little to white supremacists?
  • Do gun control laws need tightening?
  • Will the Crusaders really face a name change?
  • What needs to happen to build a more cohesive and inclusive NZ society?

The Dean of the Cathedral, The Rev Lawrence Kimberley will welcome all and hand over to the co-conveners of the meeting…

·         Paul Hopkinson of Canterbury Progressive Network (CPN)
·         Brian Turner of EcuAction, a Canterbury based Interfaith network.

Further info from Paul (ph 027-2308439) or Brian (ph 021-1294305)

Keep Our Assets Welcomes City Council's

De-Privatisation Of Mona Vale Homestead

Mona Vale belongs to the people of Christchurch

Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) welcomes Friday's announcement that the Christchurch City Council has forced its lessee, Continental Catering, to reopen the Mona Vale homestead and cafe to the public, having closed both to all but private function guests since October.

This was an effective privatisation of a Christchurch City Council public asset.

KOA is as concerned about our heritage public assets as we are about assets such as Council rental housing, City Care, Enable, Orion, the port and airport companies.

I'm old enough to remember the monumental public fundraising drive half a century ago to buy Mona Vale for the people of Christchurch.

It is a beautiful place that I, along with countless others, have regularly visited and enjoyed in the decades since.

And it was Christchurch ratepayers who paid millions for the post-quakes repair and truly wonderful restoration of the homestead.

That was not done for the exclusive money-making benefit of one private company.

But the reopening comes with restricted hours and access and with a very begrudging attitude from the lessee.

The Council needs to re-tender the lease for Mona Vale and specify that the new lessee is obliged to keep the Homestead open for the public.

After all, it belongs to the people of Christchurch, who have paid for it several times over.

Murray Horton