Sister cities make worthy relations

LIANNE DALZIEL: Looking to extend ties with the United Kingdom.
LIANNE DALZIEL: Looking to extend ties with the United Kingdom.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel has returned from her trip to the United Kingdom convinced that Christchurch should retain its links with its English counterpart.

Dalziel was flown to London this month by the World Bank to attend an international forum on disaster risk reduction, and used the trip as an opportunity to visit England's Christchurch, which is one of our sister cities.

She was the first sitting mayor to visit and was struck by how much the sister cities had in common.

Dalziel said that while the sister-city relationship did not deliver the economic and cultural benefits of the sister-city relationships Christchurch had with cities in China, Japan and the United States, she believed it was important the connection be retained.

"It's a longstanding and important relationship," the mayor said.

Under a policy approved by the previous council, the mayor is supposed to visit Christchurch's sister cities once every three years but Dalziel indicated yesterday that policy could be revisited shortly so that trips would take place only on significant anniversaries, such as the upcoming 40th anniversary of Christchurch's sister-city relationship with the Gansu province in China.

The mayor is due to visit Gansu in September and will use the trip to lobby for direct flights from Gansu and to press Christchurch's case for being used as the gateway for China's Antarctic operations.

The Press