Chris McKenzie (Chair of the Horizontal Infrastructure Governance Group), Onno Mulder (Chair of SCIRT), Ian Campbell, General Manager of SCIRT, the 5 contractors who make up the SCIRT Alliance and all the SCIRT team
I have come to congratulate you at this half way mark in your current work schedule for the work you have done and to encourage you as you commence the second half.
People forget they came last in the very first Super 12 competition back in 1996. They rewrote their plan, they took risks, they invested in players from outside the region, as well as developing local talent, and they built up the infrastructure a professional team would need.
They became a champion team.
They defined themselves with these words: "An understated, ruthless pursuit of excellence; leaving nothing to chance, by attention to detail, courage under fire, innovation and risk taking, all in red and black!"
I am as inspired by those words today as I was when I was quoting them back in 2013. They tell me that anything is possible when you have the right recipe – a plan, taking some risks, investing in talent – local and imported, mixing it up with excellence, innovation and courage.
If a department within our council has followed that recipe it is building control – and look at the results – from one of the worst to one of the best in the country.
When we as a city reflect on our experience of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and the lessons learned – the contribution that SCIRT made will be a lasting legacy of excellence, innovation and courage.
People don't often use the word courage in a context like this, but it does take courage to do things in ways they haven't been done before; and it takes courage to front up to a community under stress, day in day out.
I'd like to say the worst of it is over, but that would be to ignore the international evidence about how hard years 3-5 are.
I don't measure the years from February 2011 either – I measure them from the end of the year. That 23 December earthquake was for me the most demoralising because I like many others thought it was all over with the June aftershocks. For many people the beginning of 2015 is the beginning of year 3 of the recovery. We must be alert to that.
I have worn my road cone earrings and my road cone broach (the latter a Christmas gift from the Deputy Mayor), because they have become symbolic of SCIRT's work. I have deliberately changed my mindset, so when I see road cones, I say to myself that this is a sign that our city's infrastructure is being repaired. My wearing them tonight is about saying thank you for the progress they represent.
And there is another thank you - for fronting up to the community when called upon to do so. I will always remember the nervousness about the Bridge Street Bridge meeting and how it would go, and the gentleman who stood up and spoke for so many when he said – "I came here to have a go at you, because I didn't think you had cared about the inconvenience the one-way closure would cause us – but you have tried everything to avoid this happening – and I thank you for doing that".
My personal experience is that you have been willing to find solutions and to ameliorate the inconvenience that is inevitable when digging up roads and mending bridges.
So thank you for what you have done and what you will do over the next two years...and maybe beyond that. Who knows whether SCIRT will actually fold at the end of this programme or whether it will simply change fashion – a mini-SCIRT or a maxi-SCIRT.
What ever the future holds, you have laid the foundation for a resilient 21st century city and provided us with choices that we didn't have before. The Mayor of Chicago when he was the White House Chief of Staff said never let a serious crisis go to waste – it's an opportunity to do things you didn't think you could before.
Thank you for doing things we didn't think we could do before. We now know we can and that is a great legacy for our city and other cities that may be confronted with disaster in the future.