Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has complained about Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) being “disrespectful” because, for the first hour of today’s City Council meeting, we silently held up a banner and placards naming and shaming the eight Councillors (including her) who voted to sell publicly-owned assets, starting with City Care.
She complained that it was “disrespectful” to do so during the public participation session at the start of the meeting. Let’s leave aside the obvious irony of the Mayor condemning public participation during the time set aside for it.
If we had made any noise, disturbance or scene whatsoever, she (and those members of the public) may have had grounds for complaint. But, no, our protest was entirely silent and took place behind the backs of those members of the public presenting to the Councillors. They would not have even known we were there if the Mayor had not raised the subject. The fact that she did shows that she is starting to feel the heat on the issue of asset sales. And so she should, along with the other seven Councillors named and shamed on our placards – they were the targets of our protest, for which we make no apology.
Nor do we think that Christchurch people who come along to speak to a Council meeting are of such a delicate constitution that they might faint at the sight of silent protestors holding up a banner and placards speaking truth to power.
On the subject of disrespect, KOA wants it put on the record that twice recently we have written to all Councillors on the subject of asset sales and in neither case have we received so much as a formal acknowledgement from the Mayor. A case of the disrespectful pot calling the kettle black, perhaps?
But the real disrespect here is from those eight Councillors, including the Mayor, who, despite having no mandate from the 2013 election (when the subject was never mentioned), voted to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of publicly-owned assets, starting with City Care. That is disrespect for the electorate and disrespect for the overwhelming majority of submitters to the Long Term Plan who demanded that the Council not sell assets (of those who made a submission on asset sales, 83% were opposed to them).
KOA has no intention of letting those sellout eight Councillors off the hook on this issue.