Dalziel says Park 'doesn't have a clue'

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Photo: Getty Images
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Photo: Getty Images
The battle for the mayoralty heated up yesterday with Lianne Dalziel challenging one of her main rivals to front up over how he would cut $100 million from the council budget.

Ms Dalziel issued a media statement late yesterday afternoon questioning why Darryll Park would cut spending on things like neighbourhood barbecues if he was elected mayor in October’s local body elections.

She said Mr Park ‘doesn’t have a clue.’

The statement came after Ms Dalziel, Mr Park and another mayoral candidate John Minto locked horns in a Radio New Zealand debate yesterday morning.

Ms Dalziel’s media statement appears to be a shift in the campaigning and a signal it is heating up.

She said Mr Park’s pledge to cut $100 million from the council needs to be spelled out to ratepayers.

“They need to know what will be sacrificed given his statement that all community funding was in his sights,” she said.

Mr Park was asked on RNZ to specify where he would make cuts. He said all community spending was up for grabs, including neighbourhood barbecues.

They are funded by community boards to celebrate Neighbourhood Week.

Darryll Park says he will cut $100 million from the council budget. Photo: Supplied
Darryll Park says he will cut $100 million from the council budget. Photo: Supplied
Said Ms Dalziel: “Apart from the tiny impact this would have, it completely ignores the significance of community boards playing an important role in enabling communities to come together.

“The relationships forged around a barbecue were the backbone of the post-earthquake response, and using Neighbourhood Week reinforces how important they are all year round.”

Ms Dalziel said Mr Park’s response to the question was “panicked” and “shows he doesn’t have a clue.”

Mr Park told The Star he was not panicked at all during the interview.

He said there were a number of areas that Ms Dalziel should be panicking about, such as water.

“It is all very good to say the government has shifted the goalposts, but we still have busted pipes and water mains and until they are improved I don’t think our water safety plan will be approved,” he said.

He said he stood by his plan to cut $100 million from the city council budget to achieve zero rates.

Mr Park told The Star he would apply a zero-based budget across all parts of city council business, reprioritise capital projects, stop the next phase of the cycleway project and consider selling under-performing assets to achieve zero rates increases.

Ms Dalziel said Mr Park’s plan to stop the Templeton to Christchurch cycleway was beyond mayoral control as it was an approved project.

“The truth is he needs a majority around the council table for any decision he wants the council to make – he doesn’t get executive power in the role.”

It was easy for “inexperienced candidates” to make wild promises about spending. The reality once inside council was different, she said.

“My commitment to bring rates rises down to the level of inflation is based on experience, knowing that I need to work with all councillors and a deep knowledge of what the council still faces in the wake of the earthquakes.”

Ms Dalziel challenged Mr Park to what was going to be cut in his plan to achieve the $100 million savings.

It would not be achieved by cutting barbecues or cycleways , she said.

“He would need to make dramatic cuts to the capital programme to get anywhere near that number, and yet there is work to be done getting the chlorine out of the water, maintaining momentum in the CBD and getting our roading and footpaths up to scratch.”

Ms Dalziel said Mr Park’s call to open the council finances was odd. She said the information was readily available.

“If anyone needs to open the books it’s Darryll Park. Show us exactly what the city has to give up to achieve his promises, and then show us how he’s going to persuade the other democratically elected councillors, because the mayor only has one vote, not executive powers.”

 

 

 

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