What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch, and how will you support the arts?
The Arts have both social/cultural and economic value in Christchurch for the makers as well as the viewers and need supporting through what is a difficult time. We need the shared cultural history that the arts provide for us and building upon it for future generations is important. Continuing current levels of support and talking with the sector to see how we can improve our support will be a good start.
What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
There is so much potential in the social enterprise movement to do ‘good business’. I have already instigated a change in Council policy so that social enterprise as well as not-for-profits and community groups can have a discounted rate for leases of both Council land and buildings, something that had been only applicable to sports groups until now. I would also like to see Council’s procurement policy include a standard criteria for ‘community outcomes’. It has had enormous success in Scotland. The Local Government Act allows Councils to do this, but we currently don’t and need a policy put in place to enable it.
What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post-earthquake?
Bereft. The transitional movement has enabled residents to stay engaged with the central city and to feel some ‘ownership’ while decision making has been out of our hands. It has also had huge economic benefits as it has become the biggest drawcard for tourism. It is our ‘point of difference’ and the challenge will be how to maintain the creativity and engagement it has brought as large developments take over.
If we took all economic factors out of the equation, how would you value the contribution of the Arts?
Cultural identity: the arts take many forms and vary in scale, but there is no doubt that although individual pieces may be controversial, as a whole they help us understand and show who we are as a city.
Wellbeing: there is something in the arts which gives us time to pause and to reflect. This occurs both in the viewing and in the making. Organisations such as Otautahi Creative Spaces actively promote wellbeing through art making and having public art, free for everyone to view, is a great societal equaliser.
Lastly - Creativity Attracts Talent: talented people in any area are drawn to cities which are creatively active and this leads to benefits in many areas.
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?
See above – there is enormous potential in having ‘community outcomes’ as one of the criteria in a procurement process. Having guidelines for suppliers/contractors which include ways of incorporating community outcomes, including using social enterprise, community groups or the arts sector, is an important first step to take. Really looking forward to SEWF 2017!