Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Christchurch ratepayers have voiced their discontent with the council’s spending during a public meeting in Avonhead on Wednesday night.

The gathering, hosted by Councillor Sam MacDonald and Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger, drew a crowd of approximately 200 participants.

Following the meeting, MacDonald pointed out the dissatisfaction among ratepayers on additional allocations for climate initiatives, cycleway projects, and the council’s overall project delivery efficiency, specifically criticising the execution of the Ilam Road and Harewood Road Cycleways.

Both Mauger and MacDonald urged those present to contribute their views on the Long Term Plan.

“Securing a significant number of submissions is essential for reducing the projected rate increase” MacDonald said.

Attendees raised serious concerns about the council’s competency, fiscal discipline, and a perceived reluctance to operate within its means.

“Particularly for residents on fixed incomes, the prospect of a substantial rates hike poses a grave threat to their financial stability, exacerbating the pressure from existing living costs and interest rates” MacDonald said.

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“The resounding message from our community was clear: the council must curtail its expenditure to alleviate the financial burden on its citizens.”

Attendees also expressed dismay over the council’s borrowing plans for the next decade and the skepticism over its repayment capability, stressing the need for a more conscientious approach to public funds.

Others criticised the council’s climate change initiatives, labelling them more as revenue-generating schemes than as efforts to effect genuine, sustainable change.

An attendee sharply criticised the decision to assign the Climate Change portfolio to Councillor Sara Templeton, highlighting her lack of scientific background as a significant oversight.

The former meteorology professional shared her personal engagement with Templeton on the subject. ““I have actually spent 45 minutes talking with her and I’m not criticising her for that. We had a great conversation, but she does not understand what she is dealing with.

On top of that, we have a New Zealand Minister of climate, who is from a finance background.”

Another attendee rejected criticism of council’s climate policies saying they were important for her children.

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