Material relating to a Transitional Cities project, titled '100 Days to Rebuild Democracy'. The project description reads:
In the wake of the quake we went back to the roots of a remarkable democratic movement that began here in Christchurch. Led by Kate Sheppard, New Zealanders came together to successfully petition for universal suffrage in 1893, making New Zealand the first country to give women the vote.
We called for a rebuilding of suffrage, and launched a new online petition VOTE CANTERBURY KIDS to draw some links between three widespread community concerns and the way democracy and inclusive, transparent decision making are central to healthy community recovery and future. These concerns included:
- The decision to suspend regional elections with no prior warning or community consultation, let alone democratic or constitutional justification.
- The sudden central government announcement of a major reorganisation of Christchurch schools, effectively trying to 'consult' an already strained and fragile community at a time when schools are central to recovery yet cannot engage in meaningful dialogue because we have so many immediate issues to face in a post disaster situation; real community voice needs time.
- The sweeping aside of our elected city council, effectively rendering their role redundant. Major decision-making is led by CERA, a central government department that cannot be a substitute for transparent, responsive and elected local decision making.
To fully recover from a disaster we also have to recover our ability to make decisions collectively and democratically as a community. The Suffrage rally highlights a call all over the city for a return to decision-making by elected processes, so we can determine the future for our schools, our city and our region with our vote.
As we recover from the earthquakes, let's do so in a way that restores Kate Sheppard's remarkable democratic legacy to the children of this city.