6 Aug 2019

Veteran activist John Minto launches second attempt at Christchurch mayoralty

5:48 pm on 6 August 2019

Veteran activist John Minto has announced his second bid for Christchurch mayoralty today.

Veteran activist John Minto has announced his second bid for the Christchurch mayoralty.

John Minto announcing his mayoralty bid. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

He has released seven policies focused on tackling global warming, cleaning the city's water and reducing inequality and said he hoped other candidates would be willing to put forward "big ideas" for debate, as well.

Mr Minto lost the race for mayor in 2016 with about 60,000 less votes than Lianne Dalziel.

But at a press conference this afternoon he promised he was "in it to win it" this year, with ideas that could transform lives in a deeply-divided Christchurch.

If elected, Mr Minto pledged to build more council housing, clean up water ways, offer free and frequent public transport and create a "local zone" in the city to showcase products and services made in Canterbury.

He would also pay the living wage to all council employees, but cap its maximum salary at $176,000, keep rate increases to the rate of inflation and reject proposals for the sale of city assets.

"But my policies are similar in many respects to what we had before because they focus on public transport, council housing and basic infrastructure and that's the main things every council does," he said.

Mr Minto said his mayoral bid was in part motivated by the "slum conditions" which he had seen council tenants living in, and by the revelation that the new chief executive of the council was being paid $100,000 more than the starting salary of the last CEO, while other council workers were on less than the living wage.

He said there had also been a distinct lack of action following Christchurch City Council's climate emergency declaration.

"Last time I stood I'd been in Christchurch for 18 months and I was a carpet bagger from Auckland coming down to tell the Cantabrians what to do," he said.

"I think now I've been here longer and I think people are more focused on climate change and I think they're focused on a council which is out of touch."

Lianne Dalziel is the mayor of Christchurch

Lianne Dalziel. Photo: Supplied

He joins incumbent mayor Lianne Dalziel, Darryll Park, Stephen McPaike, Adrian Schonborn and Robin McCarthy in the run for mayoralty.

Ms Dalziel said she welcomed the announcement of another challenger.

"I welcome his careful consideration of what issues are important to our city. I always think he comes with a good heart and I'm really fully prepared to debate the issues with him," she said.

Minto for Mayor's seven Policies:

  • Dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions with free and frequent public transport - to be paid for from the current roading budget.
  • Future-proof the city's water supply and clean up waterways - including by promoting local neighbourhood responsibility for sections of city rivers.
  • Affordable housing - use $220 million from the Government's $300 million grant to rebuild the 400 council rental houses destroyed in the earthquakes and refurbish housing currently owned by the City Council. Also begin to build a further 600 homes by putting the multi-purpose rugby stadium to the back of the queue for capital spending.
  • Higher wages - pay the living wage for all Council work. At the same time, set the maximum Council salary to $176,000.
  • Keep rate increases to the rate of inflation - and rebalance rates across the city to make rate payments fairer.
  • Reject proposals for the sale of city assets and look for opportunities to bring strategic assets back under community ownership and control.
  • Create a local zone in the city centre to showcase products and services created in Canterbury -to be paid for initially from higher rates on undeveloped land in the city centre.

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