Manji insists on financial rigour

MIKE YARDLEY
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
RAF STD
NEW APPROACH: Raf Manji.
Opinion poll

Is the Buskers Festival worth ratepayer funding?

Absolutely, it's brilliant and we should pay what it takes

Yes, but within reason

No, it should sink or swim on its own

Vote Result

Relevant offers

Mike Yardley

Yardley: City's rebirth is mostly still on paper Leaders' debate another catastrophe for Cunliffe Let's party, but responsibly Too many miscarriages of justice over sex allegations Yardley: Investment welcome, but at what cost? Late-night passengers delayed at customs Rates rises unavoidable and asset sales Hothouse of youthful zeal bodes well for rebuild Mike Yardley: Rail out but email in Town Hall rebuild on shaky ground

OPINION: He's the bolter, the bloodhound, the big-hitter. And he is fast stapling his presence on to the city's consciousness.

Cr Raf Manji, the most impressive newcomer to council, wasn't elected to office with a pasteurised set of opinions from party central or enslaved to a rigid ideology.

He is an independently minded raging pragmatist, spearheading the drive for better performance and fiscal restraint.

The hear-no-evil, see-no-evil culture of conceited mediocrity is what sunk the previous council regime. Its prime adversary was the fearless first-term tiger, Cr Tim Carter.

Manji appears to have picked up the baton from Carter, bringing the same financial rigour and razor-sharp scrutiny to the table.

Take the past fortnight, for example. Manji has publicly grilled council staff for failing to adopt any measures against feckless freedom campers.

The council has had the power to regulate freedom camping for two years. Two years, amigos! Manji has blasted their "dithering" as "just ridiculous".

Virtually every South Island territorial council has actioned freedom camping bylaws, except Christchurch. You'll notice the signs when you're road-tripping around the island.

Queenstown-Lakes District Council has struck the right balance. Freedom camping in non self-contained vehicles is banned outright. Wicked campervans and their dubious ilk must go to holiday parks and camping sites.

Yet self-contained campervans can freedom camp in designated areas, which are generally away from town centres and residential areas. Since the bylaw was actioned in December 2012, Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown have spectacularly tackled the blight of fouling freedom campers.

Meanwhile, in Christchurch, the cheapskates will park up overnight by the Peterborough St Library, dump their filth and sponge off the free wi-fi. In addition to demanding staff get cracking on freedom camping, late last week Manji took aim at the council's lack of "financial discipline" in the events business.

Jodi Wright, artistic director of the World Buskers Festival, is an immensely likeable and savvy operator. But the previous council sure swallowed the bait when she dangled the possibility of the event and her expertise being snapped up by another city.

Reportedly, the ratepayer forked out $400,000 to "buy" the festival.

Yet, for the past 14 years, Auckland stages the International Buskers Festival straight after our gig, with many of the same faces popping up. So what exactly did we buy? And why indeed does the Buskers cost so many millions to stage? Christchurch residents love this summer festival.

Ad Feedback

A sacred cow it may be, but why should the council continue being auto-pumped like a cash cow, for ever-demanding funding support? Manji is the embodiment of refreshingly good governance.

- The Press

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content