Christchurch City Council

Last updated
Christchurch City Council
Christchurch City Council Logo.jpg
Chief Executive
Dawn Baxendale
First-past-the-post (FPP)
Fide condita, fructu beata, spe fortis
Meeting place
Christchurch Civic Offices, Worcester Street frontage.jpg
Christchurch Civic Offices, Worcester Street frontage
A view of part of Christchurch's central business district, showing former civic offices (building on lower right corner) and the former New Zealand Post office, which was updated in 2009-10 by the architectural firm Ian Athfield and Associates to become the new civic offices (large white building in centre right rear). The Avon River flows through the city centre. OxfordTerraceChristchurch13June2008.jpg
A view of part of Christchurch's central business district, showing former civic offices (building on lower right corner) and the former New Zealand Post office, which was updated in 2009–10 by the architectural firm Ian Athfield and Associates to become the new civic offices (large white building in centre right rear). The Avon River flows through the city centre.

The Christchurch City Council is the local government authority for Christchurch in New Zealand. It is a territorial authority elected to represent the 388,400 people of Christchurch. [1] Since October 2013, the Mayor of Christchurch is Lianne Dalziel, who succeeded Bob Parker. [2] The council currently consists of 16 councillors elected from sixteen wards, and is presided over by the Mayor, who is elected at large. The number of elected members and ward boundaries changed prior during the 2016 election.

A local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state. The term is used to contrast with offices at state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government and also to supranational government which deals with governing institutions between states. Local governments generally act within powers delegated to them by legislation or directives of the higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises the third tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government, often with greater powers than higher-level administrative divisions.

Christchurch City in South Island, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand's third-most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.

Territorial authorities of New Zealand wikimedia list article

Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. There are 67 territorial authorities: 13 city councils, 53 district councils and the Chatham Islands Council. District councils serve a combination of rural and urban communities, while city councils administer the larger urban areas. Five territorial authorities also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are unitary authorities. The Chatham Islands Council is a sui generis territorial authority that is similar to a unitary authority.



The coat of arms of the City of Christchurch, New Zealand. Chch COA.JPG
The coat of arms of the City of Christchurch, New Zealand.

As a result of the 1989 local government reforms, on 1 November 1989 Christchurch City Council took over the functions of the former Christchurch City Council, Heathcote County Council, Riccarton Borough Council, Waimairi District Council, part of Paparua County Council, and the Christchurch Drainage Board. On 6 March 2006, Banks Peninsula District Council merged with Christchurch City Council.

1989 local government reforms

The 1989 local government reform was the most significant reform of local government in New Zealand in over a century. Some 850 local bodies were amalgamated into 86 local authorities, made up of regional and territorial levels.

Heathcote County was one of the former counties of New Zealand. It covered the southern parts of Christchurch.

Councillor Yani Johanson campaigned since 2010 to live-stream council meetings for more transparency. Whilst the technology had been installed well before the 2013 local body election, it has only been used since the change in mayor. [3]


The Council is elected every three years using the first-past-the-post voting system. The vote is conducted by postal ballot. The most recent elections, in 2016, had a turnout of 38.3% down from 42.9% and 52.2% in 2013 and 2010 respectively. [4]

First-past-the-post voting system of voting in which voters indicate the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins

A first-past-the-post electoral system is one in which voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. This is sometimes described as winner takes all. First-past-the-post voting is a plurality voting method. FPTP is a common, but not universal, feature of electoral systems with single-member electoral divisions, and is practised in close to one third of countries. Notable examples include Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as most of their current or former colonies and protectorates.

Prior to the 2004 local elections, there were 24 councillors in Christchurch. At that election, the number of councillors halved to 12. [5] For electoral purposes, Christchurch was divided into six wards from 2004, and seven wards after the amalgamation with Banks Peninsula in 2006. The six metropolitan wards each elected two councillors, with the remaining councillor elected for the sparsely populated Banks Peninsula ward. The 2016 representation review by the Local Government Commission has resulted in 16 wards, with each ward electing one councillor, i.e. an increase in three councillors. [6]

Triennial elections for all 74 cities, districts, twelve regional councils and all district health boards in New Zealand were held on 9 October 2004. Most councils were elected using the first-past-the-post method, but ten were elected using the single transferable vote method.

Party politics are much less influential in elections to the Council than is the case for the House of Representatives. In 2007, the Mayor and a majority of Councillors were elected as independent candidates. Political groupings represented on the Council are the centre-right Independent Citizens [7] and the centre-left 'The People's Choice' (formerly Christchurch 2021). [8]

New Zealand House of Representatives Sole chamber of New Zealand Parliament

The New Zealand House of Representatives is a component of the New Zealand Parliament, along with the Sovereign. The House passes all laws, provides ministers to form a Cabinet, and supervises the work of the Government. It is also responsible for adopting the state's budgets and approving the state's accounts.

An independent or nonpartisan politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. There are numerous reasons why someone may stand for office as an independent.

Council members


Based on preliminary results, the composition of the council for the 2019–2022 term is:

Ward / roleCouncillor(s)
Mayor Lianne Dalziel (Best for Christchurch)
Deputy MayorAndrew Turner (The People's Choice)
Banks Peninsula WardAndrew Turner (The People's Choice)
Burwood WardPhil Mauger (Independent)
Cashmere WardTim Scandrett (Independent)
Central WardJake McLellan (Labour)
Costal WardJames Daniels (Your Vote – Your Voice Independent)
Fendalton WardJamie Gough (ICitz – Independent Citizens)
Halswell WardAnne Galloway (The People's Choice)
Harewood WardAaron Keown (Independent)
Heathcote WardSara Templeton (Strong Community: Healthy Environment)
Hornby WardJimmy Chen (The People's Choice – Labour)
Innes WardPauline Cotter (The People's Choice)
Linwood WardYani Johanson (The People's Choice – Labour)
Papanui WardMike Davidson (Independent)
Riccarton WardCatherine Chu (ICitz – Independent Citizens)
Spreydon WardMelanie Coker (The People's Choice – Labour)
Waimairi WardSam MacDonald (ICitz – Independent Citizens)


The election held via postal vote on 8 October 2016, was the first to use the new wards as a result of the representation review.

Key features of the Local Government Commission's final decision included:

16 councillors, plus the Mayor, with one councillor elected from each of the 16 wards (a change from the current 13 councillors elected from six wards, each with two members, apart from Banks Peninsula, which current has a single member) Banks Peninsula Ward stays as it is Six urban community boards One Banks Peninsula community board Overall, the number of elected members stays the same as present, at 54.

Ward / roleCouncillor(s)
Mayor Lianne Dalziel (Best for Christchurch)
Deputy MayorAndrew Turner (The People's Choice)
Banks Peninsula WardAndrew Turner (The People's Choice)
Burwood WardGlenn Livingstone (The People's Choice – Labour)
Cashmere WardTim Scandrett (Independent)
Central Ward Deon Swiggs (Independent – Let's Get It Done)
Costal WardDavid East (Independent)
Fendalton WardJamie Gough (ICitz – Independent Citizens)
Halswell WardAnne Galloway (The People's Choice)
Harewood WardAaron Keown (True Independent)
Heathcote WardSara Templeton (Strong Communities for a Stronger Christchurch)
Hornby WardJimmy Chen, (The People's Choice – Labour)
Innes WardPauline Cotter (The People's Choice)
Linwood WardYani Johnson (The People's Choice – Labour)
Papanui WardMike Davidson (The Right Choice for Papanui & Christchurch)
Riccarton Ward Vicki Buck
Spreydon WardPhil Clearwater (The People's Choice – Labour)
Waimairi Ward Raf Manji (Independent)


Five of the thirteen councillors did not stand for re-election in 2013. [9] Another four councillors failed to get re-elected (deputy-mayor Ngaire Button, Helen Broughton, Claudia Reid, and Aaron Keown). Hence, only four councillor were returned for another term (Yani Johanson, Jimmy Chen, Glenn Livingstone, and Jamie Gough), to be joined by nine new members plus a new mayor. [10] For the 2013–2016 term, the composition of the Council is as follows: [11]

Ward / roleCouncillor(s)
Mayor Lianne Dalziel (One City Together)
Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck (A Vote for me is a Vote for You) [12]
Banks PeninsulaAndrew Turner (The People's Choice)
Burwood-PegasusDavid East (Independent), Glenn Livingstone (The People's Choice – Labour)
Fendalton-WaimairiJamie Gough (iCitz – Independent Citizens), Raf Manji (Independent)
Hagley-Ferrymead Yani Johanson (The People's Choice – Labour), Paul Lonsdale (Independent)
Riccarton-Wigram Vicki Buck (A Vote for me is a Vote for You), Jimmy Chen (The People's Choice – Labour)
Shirley-PapanuiAli Jones (Independent), Pauline Cotter (The People's Choice – Labour)
Spreydon-HeathcotePhil Clearwater (The People's Choice – Labour), Tim Scandrett (Independent)


During the 2010–2013 term, the composition of the Council was as shown in the table below. The Press in an editorial described the situation during the three years as often "tumultuous" and there were many calls for a cleanout of elected members at the 2013 local body elections. [13] During the term, the government appointed an overseer to council (Kerry Marshall) and "came within an ace of sacking the council completely." [13] Five city councillors (Sue Wells, Barry Corbett, Sally Buck, Tim Carter, and Peter Beck) and the mayor (Bob Parker) did not stand for re-election. [9]

Ward / roleCouncillor(s)
Mayor Bob Parker (Independent)
Deputy MayorNgaire Button (IC)
Banks PeninsulaClaudia Reid (Independent)
Burwood-PegasusGlenn Livingstone (The People's Choice), Peter Beck (Independent)
Fendalton-WaimairiSally Buck (Independent), Jamie Gough (IC)
Hagley-FerrymeadTim Carter (Independent), Yani Johanson (The People's Choice)
Riccarton-WigramHelen Broughton (IC), Jimmy Chen (The People's Choice)
Shirley-PapanuiNgaire Button (IC), Aaron Keown (Christchurch City Vision)
Spreydon-HeathcoteBarry Corbett (Independent), Sue Wells (Independent)


Mayor, council and committees

Under most circumstances, the Council is presided over by the Mayor. At its first meeting after a local election, the Council elects from among its members a Deputy Mayor, who acts as Mayor in the absence and with the consent, or in the incapacity, of the Mayor. The Deputy Mayor also presides at meetings if the Mayor is not present. The Deputy Mayor is recommended by the Mayor and is either confirmed or replaced in a vote of the first council meeting.

Councillors also serve on a number of committees. As of 2008, there is one Standing Committee, eight Standing Subcommittees, seven Joint Standing Committees and Working Parties (so called because they involve members of other local authorities), and 14 ad hoc subcommittees and working parties. The Council can delegate certain powers to these committees, or alternatively they can consider matters in more detail and make recommendations to the full Council.

Community Boards

The Council has established eight Community Boards. These Community Boards deal with matters delegated to them by the Council, act as representatives and advocates for their communities, and interact with community organisations and interest groups. General tasks typically delegated to local community boards are the locations of Council rubbish bins, traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrian crossings; Also rubbish collection, local disturbance review and relaying information to the main council from their Ward area through the Councillor who has a right to sit on the Board within their ward.

Some Community Boards, like the Council, have created committees for specific purposes.

Banks Peninsula Local Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Janis HaleyIndependent – Akaroa
Pam Richardson (Chair)Independent – Akaroa
Tyrone FieldsThe People's Choice (Labour) – Lyttelton
Christine WilsonIndependent – Lyttelton
Felix DawsonIndependent – Mount Herbert
Tori PedenIndependent – Wairewa

Coastal Burwood Local Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Tim BakerThe People's Choice – Burwood
Linda StewartIndependent – Burwood
Tim SintesIndependent – Coastal
Kim Money (Chair)Independent – Coastal

Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Linda ChenICitz – Harewood
Jason MiddlemissICitz – Harewood
Mike WallIndependent – Waimairi
Shirish ParanjapeICitz – Waimairi
Bridget WilliamsICitz – Fendalton
David CartwrightICitz – Fendalton

Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Mark PetersIndependent For Hornby – Hornby
Mike MoraThe People's Choice (Labour) – Hornby
Andrei MooreThe People's Choice – Haslwell
Debbie MoraIndependent - Community Focused – Halswell
Helen BroughtonICitz – Riccarton
Gamal FoudaThe People's Choice - Labour – Riccarton

Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Sally BuckIndependent – Central
Michelle LomaxLabour – Central
Alexandra DavidsYour Positive Voice For Linwood – Linwood
Jackie SimonsThe People's Choice (Labour) – Linwood
Tim LindleyFor Communities You'll Love To Live In – Heathcote
Darrell LathamIndependent – Heathcote

Papanui-Innes Community Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Emma NorrishIndependent – Papanui
Simon BrittenThink Papanui – Papanui
Pauline CotterThe People's Choice – Innes

Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board

MemberAffiliation and subdivision
Callum Stewart-WardThe People's Choice (Labour) – Spreydon
Karolin PotterThe People's Choice – Spreydon
Lee SampsonThe People's Choice (Labour) – Cashmere
Keir LeslieThe People's Choice – Cashmere

Organisational support

The day-to-day administration of the City of Christchurch is carried out by a large team of Council staff. Indeed, in everyday usage, the term the council is extended to include not just the Mayor and Councillors, but the entire local civil service. The professional head of the civil service is the Chief Executive, who is appointed by the Council under contract for up to five years. The Chief Executive is assisted by eight General Managers, each with his or her own portfolio. [14]

In early July 2013, CEO Tony Marryatt was put on indefinite leave on full pay over the council losing its accreditation with International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) to issue building consents, one of council's core functions. [15] General manager Jane Parfitt was appointed acting CEO. [16] Karleen Edwards was chief executive from June 2014 to June 2019. In July 2019, she was succeeded by Dawn Baxendale. [17]

Mayor and executive team

Mayor Lianne Dalziel
Deputy MayorAndrew Turner
Chief ExecutiveMary Richardson (acting)
General Manager of Citizens and CommunitiesMary Richardson
General Manager of Consenting and ComplianceLeonie Rae
General Manager of City ServicesDavid Adamson
General Manager of Corporate ServicesAnne Columbus
General Manager of Finance and CommercialCarol Bellette
General Manager of Strategy and PlanningBrendan Anstiss

Christchurch had surprisingly few town clerks, later called general manager and today chief executive, since the establishment of the role in 1862.

List of town clerks, now Chief Executives

1862–1875G. Gordon [18]
1875–1901F. T. Haskins [18]
1901–1924H. R. Smith [18]
1924–1940J. S. Neville OBE [18]
1940–1961H. S. Feast OBE [18]
1961–1967C. S. Bowie [18]
1967–1973M. B. Hayes [18]
1973–1989John H. Gray CBE [18] [19]
1989–1993John H. Gray CBE
1993–2003Mike Richardson [20]
2003–2007Lesley McTurk [20] [21]
2007–2013 Tony Marryatt [15] [21]
2013–2014Jane Parfitt (acting) [16]
2014–2019Dr Karleen Edwards [22]
2019-PresentMary Richardson (acting)

Responsibilities and services

The Council is vested with a power of "general competence" for the social, economic and cultural well-being of Christchurch. In particular, the Council has responsibility for a range of local services, including roads (except State Highways), water, sewerage, waste collection, parks and reserves, and libraries. Urban development is managed through the maintenance of a city plan and associated zoning regulations, together with building and resource consents. The Council has been given extra powers to regulate certain types of business operations, notably suppliers of alcohol and brothels.

Building consents

One of the core functions of the council is to check and approve building consents. With effect from 8 July 2013, Christchurch City Council has been stripped of its accreditation for issuing building consents. This comes in the middle of a rebuild period following the devastating February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. [23] City Councillors found out earlier in June through the media that International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) had written to Council and threatened to withdraw accreditation, with Council's chief executive officer, Tony Marryatt, replying that mayor "Parker and other councillors were kept in the dark because he was confident staff were addressing issues raised by IANZ, and that the June 28 deadline would be met." [24] A Crown manager, Doug Martin, has been installed to reform the council's consenting department. [25] Marryatt lost his job over the affair, but will stay on the payroll until November 2013 and will receive a total of $500,000 before he leaves. [26] Parker, who had backed the controversial CEO over the years, took his part of the responsibility and decided not to stand for re-election for a third term as mayor. [27]

Kerbside waste collection

Christchurch has a wheelie bin kerbside collection system, which replaced their previous system. The previous system required the resident to put a black rubbish bag out every week to the kerbside, along with a green recycling crate. With the current system, residents are given three wheelie bins: One 240 litre bin (recycling), One 140 litre bin (rubbish), and one 80 litre bin (organics). Each week, residents can put two of the three bins out. The 80 litre organics bin goes out every week and the 240 litre recycling and the 140 litre rubbish alternate.

Christchurch City Libraries


The Civic in 2009 The old Civic Chambers.jpg
The Civic in 2009

The Christchurch Municipal Council, as it was originally called, was using the Christchurch Land Office, the first public building erected in Christchurch in 1851. [28]


On the same site, the council had the so far only purpose-built council chambers constructed, designed by Samuel Hurst Seager in a Queen Anne style. The building became known as Our City and is registered as a Category I heritage building with Heritage New Zealand (NZHPT). [28] [29]


Council purchased the burned out shell of the former Canterbury Hall and built new civic offices in Manchester Street. Later known as the Civic, the building was registered as a Category II heritage building with the NZHPT, [28] [30] and was demolished after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.


Council bought the former Miller's Department Store and moved to 163 Tuam Street in 1980. [28] This gave rise to the occasional metonymic use of Tuam Street to refer to the municipal government. The building was registered as a Category II heritage building with the NZHPT, [28] [31] and was demolished after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

2010 to present

In August 2010, [28] the Council's new offices were officially opened in a refurbishment of the former Christchurch Mail Sorting Centre, designed by the Ministry of Works in 1974. The redevelopment was supervised by Wellington-based architect Ian Athfield.

The council also maintains service centres in the suburbs of Fendalton, Linwood, Papanui, Riccarton, Shirley, Sockburn and Sydenham, and in the towns of Lyttelton, Little River and Akaroa.

See also

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