Deon Swiggs (Central Ward)

What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch and how will you support the arts?
Creative New Zealand survey stats show that nine out of ten adult New Zealanders (88%) agree the arts are good for them and eight out of ten (82%) agree that the arts help to improve New Zealand society. In Christchurch this is especially true with the disruption to our everyday society since the earthquakes. The activities, the sense of community, the interesting ideas developed and so much more have made the city interesting, accessible and lively which I’ve seen has created lasting positive impact for people. It has also generated international exposure for the city that helps create a positive image for our recovery. 
On top of this in 2014 the survey tested a range of statements including:
• 86% say they learnt about different cultures through the arts
• 85% think New Zealand arts are of high quality
• 78% of people think the arts help to define who we are as New Zealanders
• 74% of people believe the arts should receive public funding
• 69% of people believe the community would be poorer without the arts
• Only 66% of people feel as if their community has a broad range of arts and artistic activities that can be experienced or participated in.
• 64% feel the arts improve how they feel about life in general.

For these reasons and more I place a high degree of value in the arts and will like to see the continued support of the arts from the council. I would like to see an increased scope for the council to bring events to the city that would benefit the arts and the city residents combined. Christchurch deserves things to help communities and the people in them feel good. 

An area of interest here for me is seeing that only two thirds of people believe that they have a broad range of activities in their communities. This is where I would like to see effort from the council to help communities identify gaps and empower community boards to support the creative sector to bring solutions to those communities. 

What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
Firstly I am very excited that Christchurch is hosting the global Social Enterprise Forum next year! This is very exciting. I am keen on Social Enterprise, its in my DNA and makes up many of my values. My recent MBA I had to do out of Adelaide, I wanted my who MBA to focus on social capital and the value business can give to community. No university in New Zealand got what I wanted straight away. And to me that wasn’t good enough. Social capital is the way of the future but it is not well understood in the current system. Rebuild Christchurch which I founded with a business funding the charity operations and all donations going back to the community is a good example that I have done. 

I want to see the council place an increasing value on social capital and what social enterprises do. To do this we need to be able to find ways to account for the value in which social capital can be valued against so that accountability can retain its integrity for the wider society.  

What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post earthquake?
There would be a lot more people who have not participated in the post disaster city building. Without engaged people there would be less overall confidence in the recovery which has a flow on effect. The transitional movement has brought life and heart back to the central city and beyond. I’ve participated in this in many different ways through Rebuild Christchurch. One of my favourite activities was leading the creation of a footsel pitch in what was the red zone, Now where the BNZ centre is. This project bought much happiness with St Michael's Church School using it daily for their students. Happiness cannot be underestimated after such a shock, and the transitional movement provided a good bunch of that. 

If we excluded any economic measures how would you value the contribution of the arts to our society, our city, our community?
The value of arts, and social enterprise to the city should be measured in how people feel and how involved, proud, and engaged in the city they are. People should feel good about giving back to society, some of the activities arts provide and social enterprise delivers this.  

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?
A saying I like, think local, act global. This means look after your people and play on a big scale. I agree that we should be placing value on social enterprise in the tendering processes for jobs. We live in a transitional movement in this space and there are still many who don’t yet see the value in social enterprise. Many see it as a risk to traditional employment. However, the reality is with the exponential advancement in technology and the move toward autonomous operation of nearly everything, employment is already at risk. 

The city council, government and beyond have a great opportunity to harness these advancements to reduce costs and increase revenue for the city and country, while at the same time give more people opportunities to get involved in their city or surroundings through social enterprises which contribute to society not in a financial way but on a happiness level. There is much that could be achieved in our future, and we must be looking to take chances and opportunities now.