Behave like a Parliament

not a Board of Directors

 Open government is fundamental to democracy

Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) has it in writing from Christchurch’s Mayor, Lianne Dalziel, that the agenda for the City Council meeting this Wednesday (November 2nd) will include a decision on whether to restore Enable to the Council’s strategic assets list.

Enable is the Council’s broadband infrastructure company and is in charge of the ultra-fast broadband fibre optic cable rollout in the city.  When the Council voted (8-6) in 2015 to sell $750 million worth of publicly-owned assets over three years (a figure reduced to $600m in 2016), it only retained three assets on its strategic assets list: Orion (the electricity lines company) and the Christchurch Airport and Lyttelton Port companies.

Enable was quietly removed from that list, meaning that it could be sold without further notice (companies on the strategic assets list cannot be sold without a public consultation process).

In the course of the recent Mayoral election campaign Ms Dalziel was challenged about Enable by KOA’s candidate, John Minto.

This forced her to promise that putting it back on the strategic assets list would be on the agenda of the Council at its first post-election meeting.

So it is and KOA has it in writing from Mayor Dalziel that she will vote to restore it to the list (which is good news but only highlights that Enable should never have been removed from that list in the first place).

KOA has also learned that this Wednesday’s meeting will vote on whether to put City Care (the Council’s infrastructure and maintenance company) on the strategic assets list.

That will be an interesting debate and vote because the Council, with Mayor Dalziel to the fore, has just recently spent the best part of 18 months trying to flog off City Care as the first of the city’s public assets to be put on the block.

And KOA spent 18 months vigorously campaigning against that proposed sale

The Council failed to sell it and withdrew it from sale in August, in a stunning reversal for those Councillors hellbent on the privatisation agenda (so KOA 1; asset sellers nil).


KOA has no indication which way the Mayor will vote re City Care on Wednesday.

Nor are we, or anyone else, likely to find out.

Because the Enable and City Care items on the agenda are being held in a public excluded portion of the meeting.

Why? Does the Mayor not want the public and media to know which way she and the other Councillors who voted to sell City in 2015 will vote this time around?

KOA urges Councillors to put both Enable and City Care onto the strategic assets list.

Furthermore, we demand that the Council renounce plans to sell any publicly-owned assets. Permanently take that whole discredited and outdated 1980s’ relic off the Council agenda.

And stop these secret meetings, discussions and votes. These are our assets; the people of Christchurch are entitled to know the full details.

KOA says that the Council needs to behave like a Parliament, not the Board of Directors of a private company.

Remember that you are public servants, accountable to the public who pay your salaries.

You are not a business answerable only to shareholders

Open government is fundamental to democracy

Launching a housing advocacy group for Christchurch

Monday November 7th


WEA Hall

59 Gloucester Street

Special Guest Speakers:

  • ·         Vanessa Kururangi – Convenor of the Tauranga Housing Group which is fighting government plans to sell state houses in Tauranga
  • ·         Alan Johnson – Salvation Army housing spokesperson from Auckland
  • ·         Rev Sheena Dickson - convenor of the Church and Society Group at the Christchurch Presbytery.

This meeting will discuss the housing crisis for families on low incomes and will launch a Christchurch housing advocacy group.
This is an exciting development and not to be missed.

All welcome.

Sign-on for the mail list (opposite)

Facebook Event Page 

Thank You

Kia ora to the campaign team and campaign supporters

Thank you

A very heartfelt and personal thanks to everyone who helped out in so many ways on the Minto for Mayor campaign trail.

We were all surprised and delighted at the fabulous support through generous donations of money and expertise, many hours delivering leaflets, time on corners waving placards and help in so many other ways.

In total we raised about $20,000 in donations which enabled us to -

  • Print 65,000 leaflets which were delivered to homes across Christchurch
  • Produce and distribute 300 fence placards (100 each of three messages)
  • Produce a small number of large billboards
  • Broadcast dozens of 15s advertisements on commercial radio in the last two weeks of the campaign
  • Produce badges, bumper stickers and T-shirts
  • We were pleased that 12,500 Christchurch residents showed their trust and confidence in our campaign for me to lead the city.
We set out for the mayoralty with the modest objective of making asset sales a major election issue here in Christchurch and on this basis I stood as the Keep Our Assets Canterbury candidate.

I think the major success of our campaign has been to make it extremely difficult for the mayor and council to restart their asset sales programme. Our campaign has raised the political price for selling assets – in other words it is now an even more unpopular policy which I think the mayor and councillors will want to avoid.

We have also made other gains on issues like getting the government/council cost-sharing agreement out in the open and pledges from the mayor the city will be able to debate it.

Similarly we have helped change the public dialogue on other issues such as swimmable rivers, the living wage, high salaries for senior council managers and public transport.

These are all significant gains from the campaign and only possible because of your support.

Once again - Thank you all.

John Minto

Mayoral Candidate
KOA (Keep our Assets Canterbury)

Read the latest Newsletter 

Silence is Golden ?

The Mayoral contest and open debate

Dalziel Team Try To Stop Minto Representative Speaking To Grey Power Meeting

On September 21st I spoke, on John Minto’s behalf, to a Christchurch Grey Power meet the candidates meeting. John is a high school teacher and can’t accept daytime engagements during term time.

He offered to send me along as his representative as the Keep Our Assets candidate and Grey Power accepted that.

Shortly before the meeting was to commence I was informed, by a Grey Power organiser, that Mayor Dalziel’s team had requested that I not be permitted to speak as “he’s not a registered candidate” (nobody had ever pretended that I was).

When I objected that it was rather late in the piece to be pulling this kind of stunt, Grey Power assured me that they had declined the Dalziel team’s request and that I was welcome to speak, as previously arranged. I duly spoke, and was well received by the well-attended meeting.

I bet Donald Trump is kicking himself that he didn’t think of that angle when President Obama filled in for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail when she was on sick leave recently: “Hey, wait a minute, that guy’s not a candidate”.

Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) thanks Grey Power for the invitation.

We know that they are proud of the role they played in the national Keep Our Assets campaign a few years ago and we value their support of Keep Our Assets Canterbury now. We know that Grey Power represents a key demographic, one which takes a keen interest in local government and which votes in large numbers.

 Lianne Dalziel: getting rattled that John Minto and KOA are raising subjects she’d rather not acknowledge?
What is Lianne Dalziel afraid of?

Is she getting rattled that John Minto and KOA are raising subjects she’d rather not acknowledge?

Is it all getting a bit too embarrassing for the Big Business candidate, who seems to assume that re-election is hers as of right?

Her claim that the Christchurch City Council, under her leadership, has increased its portfolio of assets is a classic example of a politician saying black is white.

Never once in this campaign has she uttered the words “City Care”.

Yet she and the seven other Councillors who voted for asset sales spent all of 2016 trying their damndest to sell it.

When the sale was abruptly abandoned, the only reason given was that a satisfactory buyer couldn’t be found at the right price.

Mayor Dalziel says that the Council has taken back 100% ownership of the Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) and delisted it. Sounds good.

But history suggests other motives. In 2006, under Garry Moore, the Council tried to sell LPC to a Hong Kong-based transnational corporation. LPC was then a listed company and the only thing that stopped that sale was Port of Otago buying just enough shares to thwart it.

By buying Otago out and delisting LPC, it makes any future sale that much easier – by ensuring that nobody else can do what Otago did.

The Council voted (by 8 votes to 6) to sell $600 million of assets over three years (originally, it was $750m) and KOA firmly believes that, if re-elected, Dalziel will resume trying to do just that.

She has given no commitment that she won’t.

If it wasn’t for KOA and John Minto, she would have been re-elected (virtually) unopposed.

If it wasn’t for KOA and John Minto, she would never have been forced to ever address the issue of asset sales in this election campaign.

The only way to ensure that the Council does not sell our assets is to elect John Minto as Mayor.

Murray Horton

Keep Our Assets-Canterbury

A People’s Christchurch

rather than a corporate Christchurch - decisions by us, for us, made here!

Vote MINTO For Mayor 

Minto Vs Brownlee

Christchurch deserves a full and frank explanation

Christchurch mayoral candidate John Minto is challenging National MP Gerry Brownlee to a public debate on the government’s payout of $595,000 each to four of the minister’s wealthy constituents when they were entitled to just $20,000 each from EQC.

The payments were made for land remediation following the September 2010 earthquake.

While other properties were to be covered by a $140 million fund National’s cabinet agreed to pay five landowners on “isolated properties” (four in Fendalton) individual pay-outs of eye-watering sums which other Christchurch residents with similarly damaged land could only dream of.

The government’s explanation has been weak and unconvincing. Christchurch deserves a full and frank explanation with the opportunity to question the minister.

Hence this challenge issued by email to the minister today.

Another win on the Campaign Trail

Enable to go back on the strategic assets list

First City Care now Enable 

Christchurch Mayoral candidate John Minto is delighted at the announcement by incumbent mayor Lianne Dalziel that the council’s fibre broadband company Enable will go back on the council’s strategic assets list after the election if Dalziel remains mayor.

We are very pleased the mayor has had a change of heart.

Enable was quietly removed from the strategic assets register last year so no consultation would be needed for the council to sell it.

Under pressure on the election trail the mayor made the announcement at a candidate meeting in St Albans Uniting Church on Friday night.

“I challenged her about Enable being dropped from the strategic assets register so it could be sold without consultation. The mayor responded that she’d be happy for it to be reinstated because the council now owns 100% of Enable. 

She repeated this later saying it would be reinstated after the election should she win.”

“It’s clear the mayor wants to neutralise the issue of asset sales during the election campaign with the abandonment of the sale of City Care and reinstatement of Enable.”

“The problem for Christchurch is that without a change in city leadership these assets will be back on the block for sale after the election.”

Our assets help future-proof the city against rate increases which are already too high.

No more council sellouts

before the election

With just two months before we elect a mayor and councillors it would be a travesty of democracy were the current mayor and council to sign off a new cost-sharing agreement with the government.

And yet this seems to be underway with secret negotiations behind closed doors last week with an end date of mid-August for agreement.

It appears Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee wants to pressure the out-going council to sign-off on a new agreement stacked with government priorities for spending of ratepayer money. 

Brownlee did the same thing in the dying days of the previous council under Bob Parker. 
With just two months before the election it would be a travesty of democracy were the current mayor and council to sign off a new cost-sharing agreement with the government.

That left the city with huge bills for the so-called anchor projects (which are a government priority rather than a Christchurch priority) and a timeline which ensured many on council would adopt a Brownlee-inspired asset sale programme.

Christchurch has suffered enough body blows to its local democracy in recent years without the mayor and council signing off on this latest outrage.

Mayor Dalziel quite rightly heavily criticised the previous council for doing deals with the government behind closed doors to hobble an incoming council. Now it appears she has allowed herself to become trapped in the same position.

These negotiations must be put on hold till a new council has got its feet under the table.

NOTE: It’s worth remembering the government of the day paid the entire bill for the 1931 Napier City rebuild when it wrote off the council’s government loans in 1938. Prime Minister John Key said the government would pay “whatever it takes” to rebuild Christchurch – we should insist he keeps his word.

Team Minto joins with

Striking Stickman

The first full day of campaigning kicked off this weekend with John and a small delegation attending the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration, at the Peace Bell in the Botanic Gardens. 

A small group of 10 went to support the First Union Pak’n Slave Stickman picket before heading out to the Lyttelton Farmers Market while the rest hit their distribution sectors.
 Pak’n Save workers in Christchurch are paid a minimum of $15.25 while their  Auckland colleagues minum is $17.95. 

One policy victory – five to go
Earlier in the week we achieved our first policy victory with Council announcing that it would not proceed with the sale of City Care.  

Our candidate described the decision as "a victory for the people of Christchurch who have always been overwhelmingly opposed to the sale of city assets”

The sale of city assets was sprung on the people of Christchurch after the last local body elections. It was never raised as a possibility before the election by the Mayor or any of the seven councillors who supported her initiative to sell assets.

We want a mayor and council elected who will pledge not to sell assets.

In the meantime we are chalking up one policy victory with five to go. 

The other policies we will be fighting to win through the campaign are:
  • Free and frequent public transport (as far out as Rangiora, Darfield and Rolleston) to be funded from the money saved by rescheduling the big roading projects
  • The living wage paid as a minimum for all council work (funded by managing down the salaries of senior council managers)
  • Swimmable rivers across Canterbury
  • 1000 new council homes for rent and rent to buy over the next three years
  • End the corporate stranglehold on the rebuild with stiff rate increases on undeveloped land in the CBD.
If you are keen to join the team flick us an email.

The merchandise 
And don't forget the merchandise 
  • Badges $2 each 
  • T-shirts $25 each S, M, L, XL and XXL
  • Bumper Stickers  $2 each 

                                               Order here

Campaign Newsletter 1
 If you missed the first Campaign Newsletter you'll find it here 

Campaign Newsletter #1 

Minto for Mayor

Organising Meeting

Saturday July 23rd

10.00am ~ 12.00pm

WEA Hall

For a peoples’ Christchurch ~ Decisions by us, for us, made here 

Last week KOA (Keep Our Assets Canterbury) announced well-known political activist John Minto as their mayoral candidate for the upcoming local body elections. 

KOA is not standing a candidate to “wave the flag” on asset sales. We are standing a candidate to win the mayoralty and to win with a progressive, people centred, programme.

Key policies include –
  • Stop asset sales
  • Free and frequent public transport
  • The living wage as the minimum for all council work
  • Building 1000 additional council homes for rent and rent to buy in 3 years
  • End the corporate stranglehold on the CBD rebuild
  • All Canterbury rivers to be swimmable

The success of this campaign will depend on how many activists and supporters are able to give time and energy to support the campaign leading up the election on 8 October.

We are inviting all KOA supporters and those in the wider progressive movement to come to this campaign planning meeting to hear from KOA and John Minto and join the campaign.

Note: Campaign material (T-shirts, badges, signage etc) will also be for sale at the meeting.

Minto For Mayor
·         on the web
·         on facebook
·         donate

Don’t tie the hands of the incoming council –

stop the sale of City Care

Mayoral candidate John Minto is calling on the outgoing mayor and councillors to halt the process to sell the council’s works company City Care.

“We are now less than three months from the local body election and councils should not be making major decisions which tie the hands of an incoming council.”

This is especially so in Christchurch because neither the Mayor nor any of the seven councillors who voted to sell City Care had an electoral mandate to do so. There was no proposal to sell assets and no public debate at the time of the last election. Instead it was sprung on the city well after votes were cast.

The sale of City Care was to have been completed by the end of June but this deadline passed and a special general meeting of the council to approve a sale late last month was cancelled.

“It’s time for Christchurch voters to have their say”

“Let’s put democracy ahead of repeating the failures of the 1980s and 90s when our national assets were privatised by successive Labour and National governments.”

Christchurch City Council Must

Restore Enable to Its Strategic Assets Register

The recent decision by the Christchurch City Council to buy the Government’s share of Enable Services Ltd would be commendable if it wasn’t for the fact the Council took Enable off the Council’s strategic asset register in 2015.

Now that it owns 100%, there is no impediment to the Council doing a backroom deal to sell Enable, which is doing the broadband rollout in Christchurch

The question arises – for whose benefit are the large sums of public money being pumped into Enable? 

Is it for the people of Christchurch, who own it? 

Or is it to prepare it for sale to a private (quite possibly overseas) corporate buyer? 

Selling Enable is the digital equivalent of selling the roads or water
 – a ridiculous idea and bad economics.
 If the latter, the people of Christchurch demand an explanation as to why their money is being used to make Enable a more attractive buy.

Enable is the basic infrastructure for the broadband network. 

It is vital digital infrastructure that needs to be owned by the public. 

It is as important as electricity.

Selling Enable is the digital equivalent of selling the roads or water – a ridiculous idea and bad economics.

Keep Our Assets Canterbury calls on the Christchurch City Council to restore Enable to its strategic assets register without delay.

Being on that register (along with Orion, the airport and port companies) doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be sold. 

But it would mean that Enable could not be sold without a process of public consultation.

Currently it can be sold without any input from the people of Christchurch who own and have paid for it.

Help us take back control of our City 
Join the 
Minto for Mayor Campaign