Dalziel's passion offers hope for council unity

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 14/10/2013

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OPINION: There will be some cautious excitement about the make-up of the new Christchurch City Council and rightly so.

It is still very early days and the class of 2013-16 has yet to be sworn into office but already there is a good vibe.

A political cleanout happened on Saturday with a new broom sweeping massive change across the city.

Gone are the "A" and "B" team.

This new council could be dubbed the "D (Dalziel)" team but you get the sense, for them, failure is not an option. The mood at Dalziel's election night party on Saturday was one of euphoria, excitement, but also a sense that the new council is clearly up for it.

Dalziel's speech was just 10 minutes long and full of passion, and promised big changes at the council.

Several of the new council were there and seemed to readily accept Dalziel's challenge to strive for excellence and to engage the community every step of the way.

At times, it felt like Dalziel was addressing an American-style political rally. She spoke from the heart and it was clear she meant business.

Some later said they had shivers running down their spine during that speech - it was pitched perfectly and clearly hit a nerve.

Nine, count them, nine new faces round the council table and a new mayor at the top seat.

The city clearly wanted change and change is what they have been given.

The risk with any wholesale changes is the loss of experience but this council seems, at first blush, to have a solid mix of enthusiasm, experience and drive to take this city forward.

The return of former mayor Vicki Buck will please many and gives serious credibility to the team. Fresh faces like Raf Manji, Pauline Cotter and Ali Jones bring their own skill-sets from strong financial nous to deep community connections.

There is always a chance of factions developing but unlike the 2010 result where clear divisions started forming early, there appears to be a determination not to go there this time.

All councillors were voted in to block out the past and get the city back on track.

The mandate was clear - stop fighting and start fixing.

Dalziel spoke about the need to find new ways to engage people in the political process and decisions that affect them.

She said the new council would create an "unstoppable momentum" as it helped build the newest city in the world.

First impressions of the new council suggest they have a great shot.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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