Christchurch Super City

25 JUL 2022
I wonder - if someone lives in Rangiora or Rolleston - what do they tell people where they live when they are asked by people outside the region. Do they say "I'm from Rolleston" and get blank looks. Or do they say I'm from Christchurch.

This is not an idle question - I'd really like to know. I certainly remember as a child living in Waimairi County that I never considered that political boundary any real definition of where I lived. Waimairi was amalgamated into Christchurch City Council in 1989. So why are Selwyn's Rolleston and Lincoln, and Waimakariri's Rangiora not part of a Super City as was formed in Auckland in 2010?

A recent article - Is a Christchurch super city a good idea? - in Stuff discusses the problem of, opportunities for, and attitudes towards a Christchurch Super City.

One thing that would not be lost is accountability. The local wards within a Super City would still represent local concerns, and accountability goes two ways. Why should those that live in the exurbs enjoy the benefits of Christchurch roads, and services when they don't pay rates? But of course those in the Exurbs say they don't want higher rates to pay for the larger city either.

But I believe it comes down, not to money, but to planning and efficiency. The notion of subsidiarity is that "the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level." - but the converse is also true. There are times when decisions and roles are much better managed at a higher level in order to better coordinate decisions, and achieve some cost savings due to scale.

I've mentioned the notion of a national light rail strategy in a previous post but city planning and coordination is another.

Christchurch has grown in a lopsided manner since the earthquakes - more development in Selwyn and Waimakariri has strained relations... and increased traffic on the roads into the city from North and South - with consequential knock effects on St Albans, and Addington/Sydenham communities. These external forces are out of the control of the representatives of these communities. It is a question of fairness and equity.

Population growth could be better managed with a wider horizon the encompasses the whole city - including the densification of our suburbs, and a better more coherent development of a mass public transit system.

There will always be those that want to drive their cars from a large plot of land on the outskirts of the city - fine - but let them pay for the amenities that they use when they commute. And it may well be that development patterns might not change overly much - after all Christchurch has enabled a lot of greenfield development in Halswell that is causing similar congestion along Brougham Street.

The Christchurch City Council wants a say - but all it can do is lodge objections. Christchurch city has already lodged objections to some of the rezoning plans in front of Selwyn council, citing their potential impact on city roads from other districts’ ratepayers, and loss of productive farmland. There is no coordination, and no alignment of interests and incentives.

A Super City makes a lot of sense - we're in this together - we should act together instead of in opposition.
By Hab3