Mayor of Christchurch
Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: Setting the scene for exploring the opportunities that arise from disaster
Lianne Dalziel is serving her second term as Mayor after serving for 23 years in the New Zealand Parliament, the last four terms as the Member of Parliament for Christchurch East. Lianne served as a Cabinet Minister in the fifth Labour Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Helen Clark (1999-2008).
During that time Lianne held a number of portfolios, including Immigration, Commerce, Food Safety, Women’s Affairs & Senior Citizens and associate roles in Education and Justice. She chaired the Commerce Select Committee from 2008-2011.
Given the impact of the earthquakes on the Christchurch East electorate, Lianne researched as much information as she could to ensure that she could inform her constituents about what was happening and also to help her understand what lay ahead in terms of recovery.
"Because I wanted to understand how other places had recovered from disasters, over the last couple of years I have read everything I could lay my hands on and attended every conference that was going. Some amazing international speakers have come to Christchurch starting with the locally organized TEDx and the International Speaker Series, which was part of the Share an Idea campaign.
"They opened up my eyes to the possibility of what we can learn from each other and that we here in Christchurch do not have to reinvent the wheel. The offers to help us on our journey have been heartfelt, which shows how much understanding there is between places that have been struck by disaster.
"What I learned early though is that it’s not a paint by numbers exercise and that even with all of the offers of help, the future of Christchurch is one we will create for ourselves."
Lianne was invited to join the UNISDR’s Parliamentary Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2012. With this background, Lianne has become a champion of resilience, with Christchurch selected as one of the first tranche of cities to participate in the 100 Resilient Cities Network pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
"Resilience is a journey, not a destination. My aspiration for resilience is based on the belief that governments - central or local - cannot do as well as can properly resourced and supported communities do for themselves in determining their own destiny. It is about being well-informed, adaptive and able to work collaboratively to co-create that future."
Lianne is committed to Christchurch remaining New Zealand's Garden City, but at the same time seizing all the opportunities we now have.
"Christchurch is a city of opportunity - we are open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things - a place where anything is possible."