The much-anticipated appointment of Christchurch City Council’s new CEO, Dr Karleen Edwards, is great news and important for the whole of Canterbury, not just for Christchurch.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly welcome Dr Edwards to Canterbury and to the local government sector.
We are sometimes reluctant to admit it, but the way Christchurch is led and how it performs affects how well Canterbury functions as a region.
This is not to say we are dependent on Christchurch but rather that there are close links between our regional hub and the supporting districts around it with inter-dependencies that run deep.
For example, the specialised business support services that only a city the size of Christchurch can offer are extremely valuable for our district’s farmers and other businesses. By the same token, Christchurch needs and values the extensive produce and dairy products that make up the backbone of our district.
Like many towns, we have a strong symbiotic relationship with our regional centre where each place provides the other with different things that the other one needs in order to function effectively. It is by no means a one-way relationship.
As Canterbury’s business hub, Christchurch has managed to keep going despite being under considerable pressure, but I think it is worth remembering that all of Canterbury’s towns and districts play a part in how successfully the region operates and grows.
As mayor of Ashburton and a long-standing farmer, I am proud of what our district can provide for Christchurch, as well as the contribution we make to the overall success of Canterbury.
Our council has strong links with Christchurch City Council, working together in various ways such as the Mayoral Forum which sees councils from throughout Canterbury coming together every two months to discuss issues of importance to the region.
CEOs and staff from councils throughout Canterbury also meet on a regular basis to address common concerns, how we can improve services and to talk about developments happening across the region.
I am looking forward to meeting Dr Edwards and seeing how she puts her own stamp on the city and the region.
I think we are fortunate to have someone of her calibre joining Canterbury’s wider leadership team.
In this next phase of the re-build of Christchurch, Dr Edward’s experience and knowledge will be crucial in taking Christchurch and Canterbury into the future.
On behalf of the Ashburton District Council and the residents of the district I welcome Dr Edwards and wish her well in what will be a challenging role.