Dalziel and Cameron

The Mayor & the Neo-Liberal Ideologue

The Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, told residents that their under-insured city is a
billion dollars short of what it needs. Eventually, in 2015, the Christchurch City Council (CCC) resolved to sell assets worth $750,000,000. This does not seem a popular decision, though it’s hard to know, as public discussion has been avoided and the numbers haven’t been explained. From the start of her term, in 2013, the incoming Mayor had warned of money trouble and when she commissioned advice, it seemed a sensible thing to do.

She was also helped by the embedded managerial culture that binds local councils. In keeping with the prevailing political mood, which mandates hypocrisy, the Councillors at CCC are said to exist in a “governance” role. They’re supposed to be a board of governors, rubber stamping the decisions of staffers. In a managerial culture the last thing that’s needed is for politicians to represent the views of those who voted for them. Local government seeks to take the politics out of politics by making the Councillors depend on reports from senior (ambitious) bureaucrats, without which nothing can be done.

In Christchurch the pretence had reached absurdity. As is customary when a new Council gathers, the Mayor talked of unity, contrary views being routinely dismissed as evidence of a “dysfunctional culture”. So, official opinion expressed astonishment when six Councillors, elected as The People’s Choice (obviously Labour) proposed moderate and conventional alternatives to the debt hysteria. The other seven councillors had labelled themselves as the inevitable “independents”, as though they were not connected to other groupings like - let’s leap here - National. To take just one current example of the farcical depths of the double standard - in Auckland there is open and (rightly) unremarkable talk that Rightwing Councillors have been planning strategy with John Key himself.

Read the Rest 

This article, written by Jeremy Agar, was first published in December 2015 Foreign Control Watchdog.   

Vigorous Campaign To Stop Christchurch City Council Selling City Care

 Starts With Picket Wednesday December 9th

A Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) protest outside Christchurch’s main City Care depot next Wednesday (December 9th) will kick off a vigorous campaign to stop the Christchurch City Council selling City Care.

Earlier this week the Mayor Lianne Dalziel announced the Council intends to sell City Care as part of a “capital raising” programme.

Dalziel and seven other councillors have voted to sell $750 million of our assets over three years and City Care is the first one they want to flog off.

The Mayor’s reasons for selling don’t stack up.

The projected budget shortfall in future years would disappear if the Council insisted the Government meet its share of the cost of fixing damaged infrastructure and renegotiated the timeline for building the Government’s so-called anchor projects (which Treasury has declared to be financially non-viable).

The Mayor has frankly admitted she has not asked the Government to consider changes in the building programme for the anchor projects. 

Download the picket Flyer
With the anchor project programme in disarray anyway there is no point in selling in any case.

However it’s clear the Mayor is working for a National government agenda for Christchurch rather than for Christchurch citizens.

KOA is appalled at this short-sighted stupidity.

Wednesday’s picket will be from 4pm to 6pm outside City Care depot at 245 Milton Street,Sydenham.

We will be taking our message direct to the public and the workers employed by City Care whose jobs and/or conditions of employment are on the line. 

Facebook Event page 

Foolish To Sell City Care

OUR Infrastructure Company

Monday’s announcement that the Christchurch City Council will sell 100% of
its infrastructure company, City Care, is foolish in the extreme.

For a city that is undergoing a $46 billion rebuild, this is exactly the wrong time to be flogging off its core infrastructure company.

People from all shades of opinion agree that the guts of local government responsibility are things like roads, footpaths, water and sewerage – the very things that City Care exists to build, repair and service.

Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) does not defend City Care’s empire building up and down the country.

Nor do we defend obscenities like its CEO’s salary.

But we do say that it is absolutely essential that the people of Christchurch own and control what used to be the City Council’s Works Department.

To those who say “what’s wrong with passing public assets and/or services to private owners?” I give a one word answer – Serco (to give just the most current example of what is wrong with privatisation).

The people of Christchurch can expect to see City Care’s new owner go down the old familiar privatisation path of staff cuts, price hikes and quality decline.

KOA and its constituent groups and parties will fight this and any subsequent selloffs (tipsters pick Red Bus to be next).

This will be a major issue at the 2016 local body election, particularly as no City Councillor has a mandate to sell our assets.

The subject was never mentioned at the 2013 election.

We repeat our central point that the motivation driving this, at both central Government and City Council level, is ideological, not financial. 

The quake rebuild costs provide a convenient excuse for what is a classic example of disaster capitalism and asset grabbing.