emissions targets delusional:

Repurposing the Christchurch Convention Centre will be required sooner rather than later in response to climate change

The Minto for Mayor campaign is warning the not-yet-completed, half-a-billion-dollar Christchurch Convention Centre will need to be repurposed sooner rather than later in response to climate change.

The government-funded building depends for its success on flying tens of thousands of people from all over the world every year for conferences. Despite this massive carbon footprint, the City Council has not included this impact in its target for the city to become carbon-neutral by 2045.

This huge hole in the council’s plan cannot be filled by planting more trees. On a global scale there is simply not enough land on the entire planet to grow the number of trees required to offset carbon emissions.

Christchurch must focus on cutting emissions. The convention centre does the opposite.

The council’s current targets are delusional without including the impact of international air travel.

Media Release: 
25 September 2019

Bubble wrap for council tenants -

$15,000 rates rebates for luxury apartments in city centre

The problem
  • There is a huge housing need for tenants and families on low incomes. We have a waiting list of over 1000 in Christchurch for council/state housing.  Canterbury also has the second highest percentage growth in need for council/state housing (48% increase from March 2018 to March 2019 - Press 1 July 2019)
  • Approximately 300 council houses were destroyed in the earthquakes and well over 100 more have been lost since then as the council has closed and demolished units rather than repair/refurbish them. Cecil Courts and the council’s housing complex in Carey Street are the latest – the removal of another 52 units.
  • Council now is working to “transfer” 428 council housing units to the Otautahi Community Housing Trust – out of sight, out of mind. The last thing the current council wants to talk about is its legacy of neglect and indifference to the suffering of families on low incomes.
  • Council housing has been run down over 40 years of neglect and underinvestment with enormous levels of human misery as a result. People have been left to suffer in quiet desperation. Congratulations to the courageous tenants who have spoken out last week about the lack of insulation on their cold, damp units.
  • The council has bowed to pressure and adopted a corporate-inspired policy saying no rates money will be used for council housing BUT tens of millions has been spent on rates rebates for new private housing in the city centre – many of them luxury apartments. Assuming she buys a new apartment, the current mayor will be a beneficiary of this policy when she moves into the city centre next year. (Our OIA request shows $8.5 million in city centre residential rate rebates from 2014 to 2018 – an average rebate of $15,000 per unit)
  • The current council runs a policy of callous indifference and shameful neglect towards council housing while forcing less well off ratepayers to subsidise wealthier ratepayers moving into new apartments in the city centre. So it’s bubble wrap on the windows to keep out the cold for council tenants but $15,000 rates subsidies for luxury apartments in the city centre.

Minto for Mayor Solution
  • Use $220 of the $300 million grant from the government to rebuild and refurbish the council housing portfolio – we would have 1000 additional units to what we have at the present time. This additional supply would reduce rents across the city to the benefit of low and middle income earners.
  • This means no rate increases to pay for the rebuild and upgrade but it does mean spending on the proposed new covered rugby stadium would go to the back of the queue (the current council wants to spend the $220 million on a stadium)
  • End rates rebates for new housing in the city centre.
Under Minto for Mayor every child in Christchurch will have a warm, dry home BEFORE the rugby union gets a new stadium.

Minto For Mayor on the web 
Minto for Mayor on Facebook 

Keep Our Assets~Canterbury  on the web
Keep Our Assets~Canterbury on Facebook

NOTE: This media release was embargoed until the  policy launch held today, 25 August, 2pm at Cecil Courts, Cecil Place Waltham.

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 MintoforMayor.nz campaign at the policy launch on Sunday including how the refurbishment/upgrades will be completed without cost to ratepayers.

Media are warmly welcome.

Support the Campaign

Minto For Mayor on the web
Minto for Mayor on Facebook

Keep Our Assets~Canterbury  on the web
Keep Our Assets~Canterbury on Facebook

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