Councillor accuses Dalziel of shutting down debate “you’re taking away my right to speak on behalf of the public”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Sep 12, 2021 |

Screen shot of council zoom meeting

A heated exchange over Christchurch’s long-awaited hospital car park took place at a council this week, with one councillor accusing the mayor of “shutting down democracy.”

Councillors Aaron Keown and Yani Johanson requested an amendment wanting the “council to urgently set up a working group between the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury District Health Board and Ngai Tahu Property to work on a hospital parking design that will meet the needs of the hospital and community.”

The request was made during a council zoom hearing on road marking changes “giving Ngai Tahu Property certainty” during the resource consent process for the car park.

Construction is expected to start before the end of the year and the building should be open in the second half of 2022.

During the debate, Keown, who is also a Canterbury District Health Board member, said “I realise that some councillors would rather just bully through the motion and not go through any democratic process.”

Mayor Lianne Dalziel interjected. “No, no I’m not going to accept that, I’m sorry that is an insult, I’m sorry Aaron I’m not going to accept this.”

Keown hit back saying “the motion that was put for those that are confused, was put by Yani and myself, and we are aware that the car park that is being built is not fit for purpose. It is half the size of what’s needed for the hospital on the hospital campus, and the people of our community.”

Dalziel interrupted again saying “I’m sorry Aaron, could you just please mute yourself. I just wanted to make it crystal clear that we are debating this document, and by simply debating an amendment that I’ve ruled out of order is actually not respecting my ruling and I think that the most appropriate way to deal with this is for you to accept that and to allow us to get on with the approving of the road markings and signage that are in front of us that have been moved and seconded.”

She went on to say “you can debate the motion, but you cannot debate the measures that you’re raising, they weren’t relevant to this council, they’ve never been relevant to this council and they’re not relevant to the debate today, so if you want to raise it at the Canterbury DHB, then, by all means, that’s where it should be raised.”

The mayor then said she wanted to adjourn the meeting to seek advice.

Keown said “Please seek advice, as you’re taking away my right to speak on behalf of the public.”

Proposed hospital car park design: Image: Supplied

Ngai Tahu Property is constructing the car park building, consisting of eight floors and 471 car parks.

Proposed hospital car park design

While the car park is proposed to be a public facility, it is intended to primarily serve patients and visitors to the hospital precinct.

460 spaces will be contained in seven floors, plus the ground floor including six spaces located outside the entrance to the building.

The facility will be open 24 hours, 7 days a week for the wider public.

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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