Bob Parker to be Global Ambassador?

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 07/01/2014
Parker
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
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Prominent Christchurch figures like Sir Bob Parker and Sam Johnson are among the "talent" Mayor Lianne Dalziel wants as global ambassadors for the city.

Dalziel wants to use recognisable faces to promote the city and the rebuild.

Johnson backs the idea and yesterday said "we need champions for the city".

It is not clear if those picked would be paid, but it is understood they could be asked to include brief speaking engagements and other events in their travel itineraries when they happen to be abroad.

Dalziel first mooted an ambassadorial role for Parker when he announced he would stand down as mayor last year. Parker attracted global media attention for his public leadership after the Canterbury earthquakes.

His knighthood in the New Year's honours has raised that profile. Yesterday, Dalziel said she was "certainly keen" for Parker to play some kind of ambassador role for the city "because he has been a tremendous advocate for the city and he would be able to do considerable good for international relations and speaking for the city".

Dalziel also wanted others to take on ambassador roles, citing Johnson as one example. She was "looking to engage other talent" across the city.

Johnson said Dalziel had asked him to do a couple of small city promotional activities when he was in China late last year and he would be happy to repeat the effort.

His Volunteer Army Foundation co-founder, Jason Pemberton, is speaking at a conference in Israel this week and Johnson has several overseas speaking engagements this year including visits to Australia, India, China, Ireland and Hong Kong.

Those trips and others taken by other identities could be used to help "get the best leverage" for Christchurch at the same time, he said.

"It's about making the most of people who travel overseas to ensure we get maximum coverage."

Johnson said he would not accept any money for the work, but believed the appointed people should report back to the council "so the community feels there is value to it".

Parker could not be reached for comment.

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- The Press

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