18 Aug 2023

Christchurch City Council’s fresh approach to engaging with the public has resulted in plenty of food for thought as it starts planning for the coming decade.

The Council’s ‘What Matters Most?’ campaign ran from 6 July to 13 August, and offered a new range of online tools and in-person activities as it collected feedback from the community about what it sees as the city’s priorities for the next 10 years.

The campaign resulted in more than 3300 online submissions, along with a similar number of participants in the nearly 80 in-person activities – community events, meetings, focus groups and displays in library and service centres – throughout Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

“The tools and activities were more fun and engaging than what we’ve used previously, and let people allocate different points to different services that the Council delivers,” says Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.

“It’s painting a much fuller picture of what people want to see the Council focus on, and what they want Christchurch to look like in the future.”

The feedback will be used as the Council develops its Draft Long Term Plan 2024–34 (LTP), which will go out for public consultation in early 2024. The LTP will set out the Council’s activities, services and budget over the next decade.

“There’s a lot to digest and we’re still working through the huge amount of data. We’ll reveal what each community has told us in the coming weeks,” Mrs Baxendale says.

“In an exercise like this, and with a big population, there can never be 100% agreement on what the different priorities should be or views that don’t conflict with one another, but our staff and Councillors appreciate this tension and will take the results on board accordingly.

“This is just one of the tools they’ll use in their decision-making. Once we have a clearer understanding of what the individual and collective priorities are, those long-term discussions can get underway in earnest.

“There’s going to be a lot on our city’s agenda over the course of the next decade, and the more context people have about what each of us value, the better the outcome.”