I love Christchurch and am confident for our future
We have laid the foundation for a modern, sustainable, resilient 21st-century city.
The next term provides the chance to build a legacy for generations to come.
Before I speak to that legacy, there are some immediate priorities I want to address, all of which are about keeping the momentum going. We cannot afford to hit pause.
We need to continue to invest in our infrastructure, at the same time that we need to continue to bring rates increases down. Our pristine aquifer fed drinking water supply can be delivered safely without chlorine - and I will continue to fight mandatory chlorination - that will never be the answer for Christchurch.
A vibrant central city is vital - having secured $300M for Christchurch, the stadium will be delivered as a multi-use arena. I am very open to exploring different financing options and have raised with government the possibility of a public-private partnership. I have already contacted the chair of the newly announced NZ Infrastructure Commission.
I fully back our central city developers who have led the way - and I want to make sure they reap the benefits of the confidence and the courage they have shown.
I want the potential of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor to provide the chance to establish an Eastern alliance of contractors to get the work done in the east.
I want our city to be sustainable - I am committed to reducing our carbon footprint to achieve net-zero emissions. And I want to work alongside communities to help them prepare for the impacts of climate change.
These are all building blocks that we will collectively leave for the future.
So fast forward to 2030, the date we have set for our council to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
We have the most vibrant and dynamic central city in the country, and our population has really taken off.
But first let’s turn on the tap - water straight from our aquifers - we haven’t had chlorine in our water since we won the fight against mandatory chlorination imposed by the government in the wake of the Havelock North incident.
The Arena is home to the best provincial rugby team in the word and is a fantastic venue attracting world-class performers and events.
Inner City apartment dwelling has taken off, with a mix of young people with their first apartment, and older people (like me) downsizing and coming in from the suburbs.
There are more apartments being planned for the increase in international students, especially postgraduate students, with the tertiary alliance of Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago Universities and the Ara Institute of Canterbury.
They are offering applied courses and research opportunities linked to business and social enterprise in the heart of the city.
We are known as the innovation and creativity capital of New Zealand.
We have corporate head offices vying for space here after the central government moved some of its head office capability into the city - starting in 2020 with the NZ Institute of Skills & Technology.
The Otakaro Avon River Corridor has been hailed internationally as an outstanding urban park, offering innovative solutions for housing, community and tourism ventures, as well as contributing to the carbon offset through the native forest.
The landings along the Green Spine have become microcosms of private and social enterprise and the wetlands have reinstated ecological values to the river once more.
New Brighton is thriving as a result of becoming the destination at the end of the riverside path from city to sea. The investment made in the infrastructure through the Eastern Alliance 10 years ago has really paid off.
Artists have found a natural environment to both produce and sell the fruits of their talents.
The hot saltwater pools are busy all year round.
Several major tourist attractions have put Christchurch on the list of must go to places in the world, including the godwits experience.
Which takes us back to the central city where the Cathedral reinstatement project has been completed - we have our heart and soul back - and it has become even more of a tourism attraction than it ever was.
And the city is thriving. With a fully integrated rapid transit system in place, there has been an appreciable reduction in the number of cars on the road - with kids cycling safely to school.
Christchurch is a great place to get around.
With Hagley Park and all the facilities, we are a city of wellbeing and are bucking the national trends towards obesity, staving off the massive health bill being forced on other areas as the diabetes epidemic takes hold.
Our international gateway status to Antarctica has also put Christchurch on the map, and we have become known for our global leadership on climate change, with scientific discovery entwined with the principles of Kaitiakitanga and our underlying promise Kia atawhai ki te iwi – Care for the people.
Coastal communities across Christchurch and around the Peninsula have developed their own adaptive management plans to ensure that they are able to respond appropriately to the impacts of climate change including sea-level rise.
This is not a dream - it is the reality that we can claim - with the right decisions being made now.
We always come together when we face challenges - we know we don’t elect a Mayor to make decisions for us - we elect a Mayor to stand with us, to speak for us when our collective voice is needed and to embrace all of us in good times and in bad.
I have never felt more proud to represent Christchurch as your Mayor, than in responding to the terror attacks of March 15.
Our city has become an international symbol of coming together in the wake of such an atrocity. An act that was designed to divide us, united us as one. The expressions of peace, love and compassion, together with the most powerful expression of forgiveness, rang across the world.
In my role as Mayor, it is not for me to know all the answers, but to help us work through our problems, so we can solve them together, and to use the power to convene - to bring different points of view together - to focus on the issues - not on what’s best for me, or what’s best for you, or what’s best for business, or what’s best for one place over another - but to ensure the focus is always on what’s best for Christchurch.