What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch and how will you support the arts?
The arts serve to interpret for us what has happened to Christchurch post-quake. Whether the performing arts or other genre, they can speak into our experience, touching on the sense of loss, hope, grief, new life many of us have experienced.
The most powerful symbols are those we participate in (Carl Jung) e.g. Peter Majendie's white chairs, and the arts offer that. By virtue of what they are, they enable us to become participants in what they offer, enabling us to be active, rather than passive. Because of that they move us and seek to have a profound effect on us.
I will continue to support the arts through funding in the Council's long term and annual plans and by my attendance and therefore participation in, the arts.
What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
One of the values of social enterprise is it's potential for partnerships amongst and between the community and the Council. In this respect, it's about the community doing it for themselves, in association with the Council, rather than the Council doing it to them. Recently, I promoted a social enterprise venture through the Council in the form of local South New Brighton leaders seeking funding to transform an old church into a community hub. They had already undertaken much of the work themselves, including attracting pro bono and other contributions through an award winning application to SmartLift. This social enterprise partnership is also being hailed by the Council as a template for future possibilities. I will continue to promote and support social enterprises at Council.
What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post earthquake?
The gap-fillers would still be gaps! Vibrancy, initiative would be lacking. We wouldn't be able to see the city's soul.
If we excluded any economic measures how would you value the contribution of the arts to our society, our city, our community?
I would value the contribution of the arts to our society, city and community as an integral part of Aotearoa New Zealand's maturing as a people and peoples. The arts tell us about ourselves, they hold a mirror up to us. They show us who we are and who we're becoming. Their role is to provoke and speak out and move us to respond.
Christchurch is fast becoming the social enterprise centre of New Zealand, reflected in the fact we are hosting the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum. What seems common practice in UK city councils is for these governance bodies to prioritise social enterprises in all tendering processes to encourage local economies. What are your thoughts around bringing similar policies into CCC?
I developed the Council's tender (procurement) policy in 2012. It didn't have one prior to that. I promoted it due to questionable contract awards over the Council's own central city plan. While the driver of it then was transparency and includes 'buy local', we could consider adding a social enterprise dimension to it. The current and I suspect future Council, might well have an appetite for that.