Raf Manji (Waimairi Ward)

What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch, and how will you support the arts?
Arts is part of the social and cultural fabric of Christchurch. The CSA has been going since 1880, The Christchurch Group exhibited from 1927-1977, and we have produced numerous great artists and writers. It's part of the City's DNA. Based on our history, I'm keen to support a new "Christchurch Residency", where we provide 10 scholarships annually to artists and writers. Using a social enterprise model, the scholarship could be a mixture of cash and studio support. 

What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
I see government as a social enterprise, especially at the local level. I'll encourage that way of thinking and hopefully realign council operations to be more flexible and look at different ways of working with the community and delivering services. We have a $12b balance sheet, which we can use to leverage better community outcomes. 

What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post earthquake?
Given the impact of the Blueprint and its focus on big ticket items, it's hard to imagine where we would be without the contribution of the transitional movement. As the Anchor projects have become mired in budget, design and execution difficulties , the small, unique and quirky projects have really captured people's imagination, not just here but overseas. Small is beautiful. 

If we took all economic factors out of the equation, how would you value the contribution of the Arts?
The value can be measured in how people respond to and feel about the arts. Does it inspire them, get them out of their homes, bring people together, provide joy and nourishment. I think the answer to that is resounding yes. 

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'm fortunate to be attending the 2016 SWEF in Hong Kong and looking forward to bringing the event back to Christchurch next year. We now have a great opportunity to try new ideas in our space, and launch these at next years forum. This will be an important focus for the Council, as we examine how social enterprise can help deliver great community outcomes. It's time for us to be flexible, bend the rules and experiment. Local procurement should definitely be at the top of that list.