As well as surveying each of the mayoral candidates, Generation Zero and 350 Christchurch co-hosted a mayoral debate between Lianne Dalziel and John Minto on Thursday 22nd September. Both candidates displayed unique strengths and weaknesses, but after some deliberation we have declared Lianne the overall winner of the debate. The debate was given the same weight as each section of our questionnaire, and the difference in performance was not enough to cause a difference in total score.
Lianne demonstrated a clear understanding of what could be achieved in the role of mayor, as well as practicable ideas that reflected that understanding. Lianne generally understood the urgency of dealing with climate change and what part the Council has to play in that, although we felt she could have been more ambitious in pushing the envelope of what Council could achieve.
John had strong ambitions about what he could achieve as mayor, and overall by the Council. He challenged the status quo approaches to both transport and economics, with laudable policies such as free public transport and a promise to challenge central government on its subsidies to the dairy industry. However, where John fell short was in his understanding of the mayor’s role and what is achievable in that role, and his inability to directly answer some of our questions.
Overall, both candidates performed adequately, but ultimately we felt that Lianne’s experience and better understanding of local governance trumped John’s more ambitious vision.