History of Christchurch 2021

In 1995 a small group of Labour City Councillors began to discuss the need for a broader political group to participate in local government in Christchurch. The Labour Party had been active in local government in Christchurch for many decades and hundreds of Labour candidates had been elected to public office over the years. However, the little think-tank had observed that there were many community-minded people with a strong interest in social justice and the environment who did not put themselves forward for election because they were not members of the Party, or who, if they stood as independents, were seldom elected. The think-tank saw a need for an umbrella group that would embrace the Labour Party, other parties whose policies at a local government level were compatible, and individuals who were not members of any political party but who shared a strong sense of social justice and commitment to the environment.

The desirability of such a wider group was readily accepted by members of the Labour Party but it took several months of discussion to arrive at a structure which would allow independents genuine freedom and allow Labour and other parties to comply with the rules set out in their respective constitutions.

Eventually there emerged the concept of a Vision Statement as a basis for cooperation for all who joined the proposed umbrella group. All candidates, whether independents or members of a political party, would be required to endorse the Vision Statement. The Vision Statement would contain principles of social justice, inclusiveness, local democracy, community development, and environmental sustainability. Political parties, if they so wished, might develop more detailed policies, but such policies had to be consistent with the Vision Statement. Independents, likewise, could take initiatives to advance projects and programmes, subject to their being consistent with the principles of the Vision Statement.

It remained to choose a name for the umbrella group. The twentieth century was drawing to a close; vision and strong leadership would be required to enable our city to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. A vision is ongoing, but some target date was needed to provide the necessary sense of urgency, and a quarter century seemed a reasonable period over which the vision might be implemented. Hence the name “Christchurch 2021” to denote a group committed to lead Christchurch from the one century to the next and to implement and its vision by the year 2021.

Since its debut at the 1995 local elections, there has been an average of 30 Christchurch 2021 elected members each term.  They have held office as Mayor, City Councillors, Community Board Members, Regional Councillors and District Health Board Members.

Christchurch 2021 Elected Positions at CCC since its inception
Christchurch 2021 was formed in time for the 1995 local government elections. Representation on the City Council since then has been:

Years Christchurch 2021 Councillors Independent Citizens Councillors Independent Councillors
1995-1998
9
9
6 + Mayor
1998-2001
12 + Mayor
7
5
2001-2004
13 + Mayor
7
4
2004-2007
1
3
8 + Mayor
2007-2010
2
4
7 + mayor

Over the years Christchurch 2021 councillors have moved towards achieving the Vision by having a council that focuses on social justice and community well-being, and achieving an environmentally sustainable Christchurch.