From your mayor - Positive gains from efficiency
We have just found out how to make our water and wastewater services more efficient and cost effective for Christchurch.
As a result of this review we have freed up $3 million that can be put to better use for the benefit of the entire city.
It has been a process that I was keen to get going. It started when I moved an amendment in Council to get a review under way. The idea of getting Orion in to take a fresh look at how we ran this area was seconded by Cr Denis O'Rourke, another keen advocate of getting the most from our resources.
Along the way, the review triggered some hilarious rumours including one that privatisation of water services was on the menu. No thanks.
I've already pledged to die in a ditch for public ownership of the waste water systems and our water supplies - and I'm not ready to pass on yet. What the Orion review, and the ensuing response from Council staff, got us in the end is the situation where we can free up $3 million a year for more constructive use.
The whole exercise has been a good reminder that, as a Council, we should always be prepared to look at reviewing ways to ensure that ratepayers are getting the best possible return on their money.
The Council must take care to always ensure it makes the best possible use of its staff and resources. One of the strongest messages I have got from the recent annual survey of citizens by the Council is that one area where you are keen to see increased action is in that of job creation. Over the next few months I will talk more about how the Council can help to create new jobs by investing in a sustainable future for Christchurch.
Along with that support goes a firm desire on my part to make sure that our efforts to increase our job base is well-grounded and based on economic reality. It is an area where the City Council, the Canterbury Development Corporation and the private sector have built up an enviable record of achievement.
During our last big push to create jobs for young unemployed people through subsidising their new jobs for a set time, we found that the majority ended their subsidised time with real jobs. I have never made any great effort to conceal my belief that unemployment is a scourge on our society and that we have to make a concerted effort to solve it. In no area is this truer than in that of youth unemployment.
I think that the money we have freed up through this recent review should be put to good use in reinvestment in building up our human capital for the good of individuals and also for the good of the general community.
This is a goal I will be pushing hard in the next few months.
With a growing export sector, combined with strong growth in areas such as tourism and new technology, Canterbury is heading into a window of opportunity to again increase jobs. A continued push for efficiency in Council operations will help to power that process of positive growth for all of us.