How did It’s Our City get started?
The idea for It’s Our City, Inc. was started about five and a half years ago when I had coffee with two people who have been involved and followed local politics for over thirty years. Our conversation dealt with how Christchurch had changed and how it appeared to be moving more and more away from public participation and rapidly towards some kind of corporate model where participation was being replaced by dictatorial edits from a handful of people at the top.
We agreed that three factors had come together to form the Perfect Storm.
These factors are Arrogance, Apathy and Amnesia.
Arrogance appears to have seeped into some of the decisions made by senior staff as illustrated by the handling of the Henderson Bail Out. Why did they make the councillors separate the voting decision of the $17.0 million deal into under $5.0 so they didn’t have to seek public consultation? Why didn’t they use their own paid CCC property evaluation team? We agreed this happened because of the arrogance of power.
Most of the councillors seem to be suffering from Amnesia. This sad illness seems to have stricken many of the presently elected councillors who have completely forgotten to whom they are responsible – the people who elected them! These councillors work for the people of Christchurch who elected them, not the overpaid senior staff. One councillor has publically stated she regards it as unwise ever to go against recommendations of senior staff.
Voter apathy is clearly apparent when 6 out of 10 voters didn’t even bother to vote. Part of this is understandable when it is clear they feel totally left out and helpless to ever be heard or have influence. Nevertheless, not voting does nothing more than that it empowers the wrong people. When good people stop voting bad people get elected.
It’s Our City and its members will make every effort to bring back councillor responsibility, accountability and transparency and make sure these virtues are practiced by elected and non-elected CCC people at every level.
It’s Our City, Inc.