Sister city junkets

June 10th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

China, Australia and England may be on the itinerary of Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel this year.

Councillors are being asked to approve ratepayer-funded visits by the mayor and elected members to each of Christchurch’s six once every three-year term, including three trips this year.

This isn’t a criticism of Dalziel, who inherited them, but I’m sceptical about most sister city relationships. the major benefits seems to be regular junkets for Councillors.

Where there is a strong trading relationship, I think there can be benefits. But mostly, they’re of no benefit.

I live in Wellington. I don’t know off hand who are sister cities are. I doubt most businesses know. The only people who know will be the Councillors who get to travel there.

Here’s the total number of sister cities, NZ cities and districts have:

  • Australia – 26
  • Belgium – 1
  • Canada – 2
  • China – 33
  • Denmark – 1
  • Fiji – 1
  • France – 4
  • Germany – 1
  • Greece – 1
  • Ireland – 2
  • Italy – 1
  • Japan – 44
  • Netherlands – 1
  • Pacific Islands – 3
  • South Korea – 3
  • UK- 9
  • US – 21

Imagine all the junkets as each city gets at least one visit a turn.

And which NZ Councils have the most sister cities. The top 14 are:

  1. Auckland – 19
  2. Christchurch – 7
  3. Gisborne – 6
  4. Wellington – 6
  5. Rotorua – 5
  6. Taupo – 5
  7. Hutt City – 4
  8. Matamata-Piako – 4
  9. Ashburton – 4
  10. Dunedin – 4
  11. Napier – 4
  12. Porirua – 4
  13. Thams/Coromandel/Whitianga – 4
  14. Timaru – 4

Maybe have a limit of 2 per city!

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27 Responses to “Sister city junkets”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    This is just another case of getting someone else to pay for your big family.

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  2. Peter (1,685 comments) says:

    Let’s see how important sister cities are if councillors have to fund their own visits from salary.

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  3. prosper (146 comments) says:

    Sister cities are for junkets only. Business is not the business of local council. Council should be focused on basic services, zoning, roading, and sewage and water. The last two they have subcontracted out so they are not even doing that.

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  4. Simon (725 comments) says:

    Mostly white or Asian cities looks like racism.

    The racism must end & these countries must be added. It is about fairness and equality for all.

    Pakistan Somalia Iraq Ivory Coast Venezuela Yeman Afghanistan & Burkina Faso.

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  5. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    Wow! Paris & Monte Carlo are still up for grabs!

    Pants Down Brown appears to have fallen asleep at the trough there.

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  6. srylands (404 comments) says:

    “This isn’t a criticism of Dalziel”

    Why not? She could ditch the whole nonsense.

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  7. RRM (9,745 comments) says:

    I bet Lower Hutt, New Zealand’s sister cities all proclaim that fact loudly and proudly – probably even have it on their “Welcome to…” signs as you drive into town :-)

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  8. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I live in Lower Hutt and thought she only had two sister cities – Tempe, Arizona and Minoh, Japan.
    On checking, I see there are two in China that I’ve never heard of.

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  9. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    You’d also be pretty chuffed if you were on the Whitby UK Council and got a ‘Sister City’ junket trip to sunny Porirua!
    Mugged in your ‘Sister City’..

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  10. Rich Prick (1,645 comments) says:

    Take the junkets out of it and you’re left with a trinket exchange programme and possibly some warm fuzzies.

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  11. themorgan (10 comments) says:

    I agree this looks like little more than a recipe for pointless junkets, but it’s a bit tough to suggest Auckland should only have the same number of sister-city relationships as, say, Taupo, when Auckland’s population is larger than every other “city” on your list combined. If they can all have 2, we should be able to have 26, and we have fewer than that.

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  12. woodburner (29 comments) says:

    The Sister City relationships tend to be useful for opening doors, particularly in Asian destinations where heirachal connections carry a great deal of weight. Other than that, it is very difficult to realise benefits from these relationships. However, from experience many of these relationships exist on paper only and are not actively promoted or funded.

    In regards to funding, although often ratepayer funded, I have seen several SC relationships funded via a trust in which key beneficiary’s (eg business clusters) of the relationship fund which is in turn “administered” by the local authorities for the sole purpose of giving credibility or prominence to the relationship. This, to my mind is quite a good model and tend to give the best return as it is more targeted.

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  13. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    She is proving to be a little bit useless to be honest, maybe the new CEO might help but so far Dalziel has achieved little aside from keeping The Press onside.
    Hard to see the benefits of a sister city when ours is still a bit broken and needs a bit of attention.

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  14. jp_1983 (201 comments) says:

    What no Kampuchea, Pyongyang, Modigishidu or Bagdhad as a sister city?

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  15. Jack5 (5,001 comments) says:

    Sister cities – phooey! Junket-trip cities would be a better description.

    Dalziel hasn’t shaped up so far as Christchurch Mayor. We have seen in Christchurch another layer of senior bureaucrats.

    Then there is the PR layer on everything. One of the initial responses to the suburban flood basin was to send out questionnaires to householders in the region. When the latest storm was headed for Christchurch one response was a slot on TV showing how the council was preparing.

    In the meantime the council does not yet have consent processing up to speed.

    Council staffs were once led by specialist accountants and engineers, and the councillors were often retired or near-retired business people or trade union organisers. Now councillors are often politicians or ex media people, often from radio. While local body staffs have mushroomed you can bet the proportions of engineers, tradies, and accountants to total staff have fallen.

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  16. gravedodger (1,541 comments) says:

    Pongo, what would a socialist Mayor have to do to earn the ire of the “Peoples Daily”.
    The Press came after Parker because he hid his socialist leanings, Dalziel is the “Peoples Mayor” so that is a get out of jail card.

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  17. shoreboy57 (137 comments) says:

    Auckalnd’s sisters:

    Tonga, Pacific Islands
    Samoa, Pacific Islands
    Cook Islands, Pacific Islands
    Nadi, Fiji
    Pohang, Yeongnam, South Korea
    Kakogawa-shi, Hyōgo, Japan
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Los Angeles, California, United States
    Pusan, South Korea
    Galway, Ireland
    Hamburg, Germany
    Tomioka-machi, Honshu, Japan
    Utsunomiya-shi, Honshu, Japan
    Shinagawa-ku, Honshu, Japan
    Fukuoka-shi, Honshu, Japan
    Qingdao, Shandong, China
    Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
    Taichung, Taiwan, China
    Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

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  18. Tarquin North (244 comments) says:

    I can’t believe Whangarei doesn’t have half a dozen sister cities. Our leaders are experts at wasting money. They’re currently trying to set us up for a $30 million Hundertwasser arts centre and they can’t even get the roading right.

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  19. JeffW (324 comments) says:

    Just a rort, a disgrace and an insult to ratepayers.

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  20. Maggy Wassilieff (313 comments) says:

    Not sure where the information for the top 14 came from…. but Gisborne District Council seems to only acknowledge 3 sister cities
    http://www.gdc.govt.nz/sister-cities/

    Gisborne Bot Gardens hold 3 separate sections devoted to their sister cities….. rather nice too.

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  21. Bad__Cat (140 comments) says:

    Tarquin, I looked it up, we only appear to have one (Redmond, Oregon, USA) should be nice at this time of year.

    BTW, have you noticed the thundering silence since their survey indicated a 2:1 preference to can Hundertwasser? I’m afraid they are scheming to try and get their pet project through by some other means.

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  22. dirty harry (446 comments) says:

    “I live in Lower Hutt”

    lol…explains a lot..

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  23. noskire (837 comments) says:

    You forgot to mention Invercargill’s sister city, which is Invercargill.

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  24. Griff (7,195 comments) says:

    $30,000 for the hunderwaste flags at langs beach.
    When there are no footpaths and the toilets are lit by one old dim 60w bulb.
    Loved the banner some wag placed between the flag poles a few summers back.
    First time I realised what the stupid things were supposed to be.
    One of the most beautiful beaches in the north defaced by some council knob with to much power and a healthy disrespect for the value of the rate payers cash.
    Almost as good as kaipara council and the fifty mil they lost on an engineers wet dream.

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  25. TM (99 comments) says:

    When I was in the UK I knew some people who lived in a village with a sister village in europe. As they were on the committee (or whatever) they had the odd trip there, but they were billeted in local homes and had to pay for all travel. They should do that here.

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  26. Steve (North Shore) (4,538 comments) says:

    I missed something here, where are the ‘brother’ Cities?
    Is this ‘sister’ City something for the feminazis, transistors and metros?

    Please, please stop wasting my Taxes, you troughers

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  27. hubbers (231 comments) says:

    Troughers

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