1. What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch and how will you support the arts?
The arts have a huge value. Arts and culture are important to the vibrancy and life of any city. In our case, arts and culture have played an important place in our recovery and regeneration; they have helped keep our creative people in Christchurch; they have brought many people into our city to see those creative forces; and they have played an essential part in promoting our city’s image.
In practical terms, both I and the People’s Choice team would support the arts by ongoing City Council funding, and by supporting the Council’s role in providing and supporting the needed venues (Town Hall. Art Gallery, suburban performance spaces).
I for one would want to engage the arts communities on this last point. We need to hear your voice on what you think ‘works’ to promote art; rather than try to make those decisions ourselves. Ongoing conversation is essential.
2. What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
I am firmly committed to social enterprise. It empowers communities, enhancing their resilience. I look at the Trust my church runs, and its impact on the Riccarton community. We have seen grass-roots leaders rise up, empowered to grow their community in ways they did not even conceive of.
As a result, our Community Trust has grown, as has the capacity of the people and structures surrounding it. We have seen many supposedly unemployable people find their place, moving past being recipients of support to being providers of the same.
To that end, I will support ongoing funding to Community social enterprises. I want to see local Community Boards have even greater powers of delegation in this regards. And I will argue for additional funding – paid for by the reduced impact on Council infrastructure that results when social enterprises grow their own way at their own pace.
3. What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post earthquake?
There would have been less opportunity for the creative communities, less attraction for residents and less activity creating a positive image of the city's recovery activity. The transitional movement created some of our city's defining images post quake. This in turn kept many of our creative people here, and encouraged new people to join us.
The transitional projects in many cases gained international interest and added to a positive city image. Transitional projects activated the central city and some suburban areas faster than would otherwise have happened, and even led in some cases to positive permanent outcomes (eg Albion square in Lyttelton).
The transitional projects brought people together in their creation and communities together in their use. Without this activity the city would be much worse off creatively, socially and economically, and would have progressed more slowly. Frankly, the wider rebuild process could have learned much from the way transitional creative projects helped our city through these dark hours.
4. If we excluded any economic measures how would you value the contribution of the arts to our society, our city, our community?
It is my view that the least important benefit has been economic. That is not to say there have been no economic benefits, but by far the greater value has been in increased community resilience, in stronger community connections, in binding people more closely to the future of our city – and in seeing people become happier.
Again, we need to measure more proposals in our city against a wider yardstick than simply a neo-liberal obsession with money.
5. 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 excited we are hosting the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum. I’m pleased we are committed to this event.
My personal measures are three ‘goods’: is an idea good for the environment? It is good for the city? Is it good for the community I represent? I believe prioritising social enterprises can meet all three.
To that end, I’m committed to ensuring that we have a much broader commitment to our social enterprises in our tendering. If elected, I’ll explore how we do this in a practical way, and I’ll commit to making this broader approach work in Christchurch. Empowered communities are always more resilient communities. That makes them comfortable with greater diversity, which itself produces higher levels of engagement across the board. All of this benefits our people.