Christchurch council votes to leave Local Government NZ

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jun 19, 2024 |
The Christchurch City Council has voted to leave Local Government NZ.

Councillor Sara Templeton voted against the move, expressing concern that Christchurch was “slowly but surely” losing any relevance and influence on the national stage.

“We need a strong voice, and as those of us who’ve been members of unions in the past will know, there’s strength in numbers,” she said.

She also highlighted the personal development training that councillors received as members of Local Government NZ.

Councillor Victoria Henstock acknowledged the benefits of membership for smaller councils but argued, “We’re a metropolitan area, and I just don’t see it adding value to us in that same way, and certainly not advocating for us in Wellington.”

Councillor Jake McLellan supported the decision to leave LGNZ, stating, “Fellowship and the training in local government doesn’t need to come with such an expensive executive overhead.

“We don’t need to invest in a multi-million dollar organisation to still have opportunities to connect and to have training.

“I also reject the idea that this is a union. It is not a union. It is a professional services body like chartered accountants or the Automobile Association. Unions stand up for workers who don’t have any other choices and very little power in their employment situations; they fight for basic health and safety and workers’ rights. This is entirely different.”

Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter warned that leaving LGNZ would cause reputational damage. “For the second biggest city in New Zealand not to be supporting Local Government NZ, I think we would regret this decision,” she said.

Councillor Andre Moore criticised central government cuts, saying, “Central government’s got local government by the balls.

“If councils start disbanding from one another and lobbying for things that contradict one another, nothing will ever change.”

Councillor Melanie Coker expressed her disappointment saying “Are we just trying to send them all a big FU, that we don’t care about working with other councils? If that’s the case, I’m very disappointed with councillors who decide to vote to leave LGNZ today.”

Councillor Tim Scandrett said council’s primary responsibility was to Christchurch ratepayers.

“To say that two reasons why we should stay are because we owe it to Sam Broughton and a conference every two years is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

“I think there’d be a lot of ratepayers out there questioning why they’re paying for our personal development. When we choose to stand for council, when we chose to stand for community boards, we chose from an educated position.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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