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.
30 July 2019
Lianne Dalziel to lodge bid for Mayor
Christchurch mayoral candidate Lianne Dalziel says she offers stable leadership in what she describes as uncertain times.
Dalziel will formally register as a candidate for October’s local body elections on Wednesday. She is seeking a third term as Mayor, nominated by former Cabinet Minister Philip Burdon and Aranui Community Trust manager Rachel Fonotia.
Dalziel said she had led the city through unprecedented challenges. With many major projects delivered and the city building momentum, Christchurch was emerging as one of New Zealand’s most liveable cities.
But the job was not yet done, she said
“If we are going to be truly sustainable, tackle the challenges that climate change poses, meet our net carbon neutral goals and remain prepared as a city for any eventuality, there is much we need to do”, she said.
“We need to develop a much better understanding of risk and the investments that we make in resilience, both at an infrastructure level and at a community level.
‘’We also need to ensure that the environment is right for businesses and residents to thrive.”
Rates increases also needed to be sustainable, balanced with the need for continued investment in infrastructure. Dalziel said she was committed to fighting mandatory chlorination after the council was forced to chlorinate last year in the wake of the Havelock North Inquiry.
Though it was satisfying to deliver major projects like Tūranga and the Christchurch Town Hall, Dalziel said her biggest source of pride over her two terms as Mayor remained the way Christchurch’s people instinctively reached out to support each other in times of need.
“Every time we are faced with a challenge we come together. This makes Christchurch the special place I feel honoured to serve as Mayor.”
Memorial service for terror attack victims, Husna Ahmed, Tariq Rashid Omar, Matiullah Safi and Abdukadir Elmi
As-salumu alaykum, Peace be Upon you
May I acknowledge all the dignatories here today.
Hon Megan Woods, Hon Jenny Salesa, Hon Peeni Henare
Local Councillors Phil Clearwater, Tim Scandrett and Anne Galloway
Karolin Potter chair of the Community Board and other members who are here.
Imam Gamal Fouda, Masjid Al Noor; Shagaf Khan, President Muslim Association of Canterbury; Dr Mustafa Farouk, President of FIANZ; Sheikh Mohammad Amir, Chief Religious Advisor FIANZ; Representatives of Hillmorton High School and members of the wider community of Hillmorton and Hoon Hay
I am here today to speak on behalf of the people of Christchurch to offer our aroha and love to the families of the Shaheed from this area, Husna Ahmed, Tariq Rashid Omar, Matiullah Safi and Abdukadir Elmi.
In coming together to pay tribute to those whose lives were so cruelly taken from their families, we also acknowledge the impact on their local communities, and here today we feel the enormity of the loss, so keenly felt by the Hillmorton and Hoon Hay communities, and I hope that this memorial service contributes to your healing as well.
I have been asked by many people about the response to the events of the 15th March. I have said there were three elements that came together. One was the response of our Prime Minister. The authenticity of her empathy and compassion resonated across the world in everything she said and did.
The second was the response of the people of Otautahi Christchurch, alongside Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and Ngai Tuahuriri, who came together in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters under the banner of Ko Tatou Tatou - We are One. This outpouring of love, compassion and kindness was also felt across the world as people of all faith stood side by side with their Muslim communities to stand together as one.
However it was the third element, which, had it been missing, would have made the whole response incomplete.
And that was the response of our Muslim brothers and sisters. We all recall the words of Imam Gamal Fouda ringing out across Hagley Park and reverberating across the world that we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. You spoke of love and unity and the determination not to let anyone divide us. You said: ‘We are broken-hearted but we are not broken.’
And Farid Ahmed - your words amplified these messages of love and peace. I am reminded that the word for courage comes from the same word for heart, and you spoke with your whole heart in a way that captured the world’s attention. You spoke of choosing peace and love. However it was the expression of an infinite capacity for forgiveness that comes from a place of true faith that inspired everyone.
The world heard the message that Islam stands for peace.
And we all heard the message that there is a better way, not only in how we respond to atrocity, but also in how we live our lives every day - as one. In communities like this we can see what that means, as we come together as one.
We do so to pay tribute to those whose lives have been taken from us, and to say to their families, the people of Christchurch will be there for you always.
Ko Tatou Tatou - We are One. We commit to make this real every day of our lives, creating a lasting legacy, a tribute, in memory of those so tragically taken from us on 15 March this year.
Acknowledge the dignatories: Hon Megan Woods, Hon Nicky Wagner, Crs Jimmy Chen and Anne Galloway.
And thank you Mike Fowler, Principal Hagley Community College, not only for being our host today, but for all the work the College does to be such a welcoming and supportive environment for all.
More importantly I want to acknowledge you Ahmed Tani. Your unwavering support of refugee communities over many years saw you acknowledged in the New Year’s Honours List. Your resolve could have been tested by the atrocity that occurred on March 15, but there you were leading once more. Leading with compassion and kindness, and of course with courage.
I found a speech I gave at a Christchurch celebration of World Refugee Day 12 years ago. I said that New Zealand's response to the needs of refugees reminded us that we have the capacity for goodness and kindness in a world that is not always good and not always kind. I said New Zealand's commitment to welcoming refugees is part of our identity as a nation – it illustrates our humanity, our generosity, our sense of justice.
I say that again today. We have seen that in the incredible response to the atrocity that was March 15, where we came together in unity, inspired by the phrase ‘we are one’, and even more inspired by the expressions of peace, love and forgiveness that we heard from our Muslim brothers and sisters. We remain so proud of our Prime Minister and her leadership, however, for me, it will always be the expression of humanity from our Muslim communities that helped us through one of our darkest of days.
I mention the response to March 15 today, because so many of those worshipping that day in Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre were former refugees.
Refugees flee their homes due to “a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. I know many of the stories behind what made people refugees. They are salutary reminders of the cruelty and inhumanity that can be imposed on people.
I have met parents who fled their homes, because they wanted their children to grow up free from fear, to live a good life, not hiding in the shadows, but living lives of purpose – and always giving back.
It hasn’t been perfect for everyone who has sought refuge in New Zealand. However, for many it was a safe haven – paradise on earth.
I will do everything in my power to reinstate that sense of peace and safety; and not just from those who would commit such atrocity, but also from those, whose prejudging or bias might not allow former refugees and their children to seize the opportunities our city offers to be the best that they can be.
We have just become a refugee resettlement location after an eight year hiatus post-earthquake. As a council we advocated for that.
I’m told that the first families (21 people from Afghanistan and Eritrea arrived on 1 March) and another 19 in May. One family arrived only yesterday from Eritrea, on World Refugee Day. And I understand they are here today – so welcome, what a special day to arrive. And there is another family coming next week.
On World Refugee Day we are invited to walk in the shoes of refugees – I have talked about the importance of getting to know the stories that lie behind the journey to Christchurch. And the UN is taking steps too, literally. Over the next year, the world is invited to measure their steps. Refugees walk 1 billion miles to safety each year. So the opportunity is there to feel those steps every time you walk, run or cycle: #StepWithRefugees.
Finally can I acknowledge the role of volunteers as we come to the end of National Volunteer Week. Without our volunteers the refugee resettlement programme would not extist. I always think of these as first friends for our refugees. And I thank you all on behalf of the city on this special day.
I wish to begin by acknowledging Farida Sultana and Shakti for hosting this important conference, and for inviting me to participate.
I also acknowledge the NZ Minister, Jenny Salesa and Australian Senator, Mehreen Faruqi, Parliamentarians from all sides of our Parliaments, and human rights practitioners on both sides of the Tasman.
I am glad that this is a Trans-Tasman event, as I believe it is essential that we work across borders to tackle issues like racism and discrimination, and to identify what needs to happen to promote active citizenship across all communities regardless of where we are born or what faith we practice.
I committed to today, because I have been questioning myself and others about how we take on these challenges, when racism and discrimination are so insidious and, to someone like me, almost completely invisible…until now.
There is nothing that could have prepared me for what happened on the 15th March this year. I was born and raised in Christchurch; I have lived there all my life. As I have said many times, I still cannot believe that such an atrocity was committed there.
When I speak about this time, I prefer not to talk about what happened on the day, other than to honour the 51 lives that were taken, those who were injured and the countless witnesses to the horror that unfolded at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
I prefer to talk about how we responded. Because it is in the response, that I believe we may have found some of the answers the world is looking for.
As a city and as a nation, we instinctively rejected hatred and said no to division – we embraced each other as one.
And we said to the world: peace, unity, love, compassion and kindness, these are our values – these are who we are.
That message reverberated across the world, and with it the image of our Prime Minister wearing a scarf – her pain and her compassion visible to all – embracing a Muslim woman. “They are us and we are them” were her words. Peace be upon all of us was the message to the world.
The aftermath of this atrocity could have been different if there had been an angry, hostile and divisive response. But there was nothing of the sort. And in this regard I must speak of those who spoke for the Muslim communities with such humanity and grace.
When Imam, Gamal Fouda, said at the Call to Prayer a week after the attack: ‘We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken. We are determined to not let anyone divide us’, we were both humbled and inspired.
And at the National Remembrance Service we heard of an infinite capacity to forgive. Farid Ahmed, whose wife was killed at the mosque, said “I want a heart that is full of love and care and full of mercy, and will forgive lavishly, because this heart doesn’t want any more life to be lost”.
And with these expressions of humanity, came a simple truth, this is how to respond to terrorism - not with retribution, but with generosity of mind and spirit, as we build bridges between communities across our cities.
Reflect on what the Prime Minister said the night this occurred.
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days."
"They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.
"The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in NZ. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented acts of violence."
"The people who were the subject of this attack today, New Zealand is their home. They should be safe here. The person who has perpetuated this violent act against them, they have no place in New Zealand society."
The response was instinctive and intuitive. Everything that followed had a firm footing:
- The visit to Christchurch the next day, where she shared the grief of the nation with the local Muslim communities
- Calling out the shooter as a terrorist
- Announcing changes to gun laws and enacting the ban on military-style semi-automatics before the gun lobby could intervene as occurred 27 years ago when the law should have been changed
- Establishing a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the work of our security services prior to the attack
- The Christchurch Call signed off by countries and tech companies - a significant step to the change we need to see in the internet platforms that can instantaneously disseminate extreme violence and hate
Every step of the way there has been intention. I remember telling one of the reporters that she had real empathy, and steel in her spine. She wasn’t afraid to show her emotion, and she wasn’t afraid to make the hard calls.
This is the kind of leadership the world has been looking for.
Imagine if this had been the response to 9/11 instead of waging a war on terror. Imagine the kind of world we might be living in today.
I say this because there has been so much that has confronted me since the 15th March. So much I hadn’t noticed about my home town.
The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, when she came, said much of the west’s perception of Islam and Muslim people since 9/11 has been viewed through the lens of extremism. This has helped promote an unholy war, not founded on faith, but on hatred of ‘others’ - those that are not us. And it has skewed our view of people we may never have even met. The narrative was one of extremism, not of peace.
The opposite of what we heard and saw from our Muslim brothers and sisters in the wake of what happened.
As I delved into what inspired this attack, I started to learn of the dark places on the worldwide web where extreme misogyny, racism, religious intolerance, bigotry and prejudice add fuel to an already corrupt and perverted view of the world that could allow such a monstrosity to occur.
I remember saying at the time that the shooter was not from here, that his hatred was neither born here nor nurtured here. He came with hate in his heart and with intent to kill already fixed in his mind.
A nagging set of questions were left hanging, what if he had been born and raised here, could he have formed these extremist views, could he have learned to hate others in this way, could he have found others who would provide him with comfort for his extremism?
The answer to that question is yes.
When I found myself having to answer questions about white supremacism, overt expressions of racism and religious intolerance within my own city, I was found wanting. I had literally dismissed the skinheads and the pathetic few, who rallied under the NZ National Front banner, as an irrelevance. This was not good enough. I started asking questions.
The first was about the experience of racism in Christchurch. The obvious was pointed out to me - I’m white - I’m not a minority. I will never experience racism anywhere in New Zealand, in exactly the same way that a man will never experience misogyny. I have no lived experience of racism, and never will.
I have been told my duty is to ensure that those who do experience racism are able to share their experience and to do so safely, and that voice be given to that experience. We need to shine a light on what is really happening, so we understand what it feels like to experience prejudice.
I have read the words of some of the participants today whose words have hit a chord. I have heard those same words in Christchurch. There are those who, for whatever reason, cannot speak out. We must stand together so no one stands alone, when they speak truth to power.
I asked another question - should I use the word racism - it might put people’s backs up - can I talk about inclusion and diversity instead.
A Maori woman gently explained why. She said to me that if she didn’t teach her children about racism - that there would be people they would meet who would judge them because of the colour of their skin - then when they experienced racism (as they would) - they wouldn’t know that it wasn’t about them personally, and that it was nothing to do with who they were as a person.
It struck me as incredibly sad that there are parents who have to teach their children to be prepared for racism. No parent would want that for any child.
I have started to use these answers as the basis to start conversations about racism that I never thought I could. I spoke at a Rotary Club the other night and I could see that by inviting them to see the impact of racism through the eyes of an innocent child being prepared by a loving mother for the skin deep assessment they would be judged by, well there is no answer to that. It is dehumanising and through the eyes of a child it is stripped bare, because no one would want that for any child.
It’s often overlooked that Islamaphobia doesn’t mean hatred of Islam and xenophobia doesn’t mean hatred of strangers – phobia means fear. And fear comes from ignorance, and together they fuel prejudice.
I read somewhere recently that the most multicultural parts of the UK voted to remain in the EU and that the least multicultural parts of the UK voted for Brexit.
People who live, work and play in diverse communities get to know people with a range of backgrounds.
And that’s why promoting active citizenship is so vital. We need to find ways to ensure that we get to know each other better. We learnt that after the earthquakes, and we need to relearn it now.
If people feel isolated and alone, and are not connected to their community - either where they live or a wider community of identity or interest - then it is unlikely that they will participate in activities that make a community. I always use Lyttelton as an example of a fantastically connected community. They have Project Lyttelton, which includes community gardens, a Saturday market and most importantly a Timebank where people value each other’s time hour by hour not dollar by dollar.
Neighbourhood by neighbourhood that’s how we do this. Reaching out to our neighbours and getting to know more about each other.
I have the honour of conducting citizenship ceremonies every month, and I always especially acknowledge those who have given up their citizenship of birth to become NZ citizens. I say: None of you gives up anything of who you are and where you are from. You do not sever your ties with with your country of birth. You bring your language, your culture, your history, your faith and you nurture them in your children. And we here in NZ are enriched by all that you bring, and you have another place to stand and call home.
I make the point that everyone who lives in Aotearoa New Zealand or their forbears made a journey to make this their home - whether they came by waka, by ship or by plane, each one of us has a story of those journeys, and it is in sharing these stories that we create enduring relationships.
And that’s what builds successful and resilient communities.
I remain very proud of the way our city and nation have responded to this terrorist attack. The bravery and professionalism shown by the Police, emergency services, hospital staff and many others; and the compassion and sense of shared humanity demonstrated by the people of our city, our nation and communities across the world, have shone a light through our darkest of days.
What happened in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, March 15, 2019 will never define us. It is the response that says who we are.
However it is time to reflect on what we want to be in the future. Do we go back to where we were - complacent about racism - or do we boldly step forward?
We have already shown we can be a place that leads social change in the world. I am not wearing my Kate Sheppard broach for nothing.
We can be that again, because there is a better way, and we know it. And it all starts in our neighbourhoods and communities. Governments can set the tone and I fully support the work they are doing, but we need to make it real on the ground. Wellbeing cannot thrive in a racist place - where a mum has to prepare her child for what we must say is unacceptable here. We can and should be the springboard for the change we want to see in the world. And we honour the lives that were lost and shattered on that day when we do.