Watch: Christchurch mayoral candidates face off in debate

11:58 am on 11 September 2019

Christchurch mayoral candidates Lianne Dalziel, John Minto and Darryll Park get asked the tough questions by Morning Report's Corin Dann in RNZ's second mayoral debate.

Contenders for the Christchurch mayoralty have drawn battle lines in a fight for the city's future.

In a live studio debate on Morning Report today, incumbent Lianne Dalziel, veteran activist John Minto and businessman Darryll Park, clashed over rates, assets, social housing, the proposed multi-use arena and the name of the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise.

Mr Park, who is campaigning on zero rates increases, said the Christchurch City Council will need to cut $100 million dollars in money spent on non-essential services to achieve his goal.

When pressed about what those non-essential services were, Mr Park ruled out libraries, but said he would not be drawn further on what would be cut.

Debate moderator and Morning Report host Corin Dann, challenged Mr Park to provide people a rough idea of what would be cut.

Mr Park then said community spending like neighbourhood barbecues would be cut.

Ms Dalziel, who was not ruling out rates rises, said it would only cost a "couple of thousand dollars" for communities to come together to have a barbecue.

She said her council is committed to bringing the budget down.

As for the Crusaders name change, Mr Park, who is on the board of Canterbury Rugby, said it was not an ethical issue.

But both Mr Minto and Mr Dalziel believed the name should be changed.

On the issue of social housing, both Mr Minto and Mr Park believed the current council had failed to protect the city's most vulnerable people.

"We are now going backwards with social housing, just the numbers of social houses, for example. Yes, we lost some in the earthquakes but every time a council rental housing complex needs upgrading or renovating, it is just boarded up and closed down," Mr Minto said.

Meanwhile Mr Park, said the council is not acting as a good landlord.

He said he would also improve the council's social houses.

"It is a must have. It is a human right to have dry, appropriate accommodation if you are the landlord and you are supplying it."

Ms Dalziel said the current social housing situation is not something she is happy about.

"We were left in a difficult position by successive governments, two governments now, coinciding with the earthquakes they took away our right to access income related rental subsidy," she said.

Last night, Checkpoint hosted a debate between Auckland incumbent mayor Phil Goff and challenger John Tamihere.