Christchurch's Mayor Garry Moore is to hold public debates in Cathedral Square from the first Friday in February. He
says he will go to the Square each Friday from noon until 2pm "to talk to the people of the city."
There will be no agenda. "People can raise any issues they like. I might have to get a soapbox though," he says. "I
think something like this is necessary. The Square should be a place where the people come to debate issues that are on
their minds. I think it is important that the people can come and talk to the Mayor," Mr Moore says. He says he has
spoken to the Wizard about a possible clash but Mr Moore says the "Wizard loves the idea."
A Speakers' Corner exists and so I will be using it," Mr Moore says. He says he has had the idea for some time. But he
will not be the first Mayor in the world to hold sessions in public with the public.
In Norway, the Mayor of Ringerike, Kolbjourn Kvaerum, has done much the same for six years. He sits on a red bench in
the town's square whatever the season and the weather.
Sometimes people have to queue for a chat with the mayor who believes in the importance of open dialogue with the
citizens. In a nearby town the mayor there has copied the idea but moves around, setting up her bench in a different
place each week.
Christchurch City Council http://www.ccc.govt.nz