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Christchurch City Council candidate Matt Morris

Mon 24 Sep 2007 In: Hall of Fame View at Wayback View at NDHA

Matt Morris Matt's a gay 'greenie' in the Shirley Papanui ward, who says he's keen to assist Christchurch become a sustainable city, create more grassy spaces, and help set up a queer-friendly space for young people. We asked him a little about himself and what he's bring to the 'Garden City'.   Why did you decide to stand for Christchurch City Council? I have stood for Council before, in 2001. Then, as now, I felt the urge to stand because I am so passionate about making Christchurch a 'green city'. This means one which is environmentally sustainable - a huge issue that all urban centres need to get on with, and in a hurry - but also one which is socially sustainable. Although Christchurch is already a great city, there are some huge social problems - drugs, violent crime, poverty, stress, isolation - that need lots of attention. I always feel you can't have one sort of sustainability (this includes economic sustainability) without the other. For example, where neighbourhoods are weak and people don't know each other or even live in fear of what's around them, things can be radically changed for the better if there's a community garden or some other communal, safe 'greenspace' provided. A lot of the answers to big problems are often quite simple, but there has to be the political will to make it happen. I want to contribute my voice to that political push. What skills do you feel you possess which would make you effective on the council? I have strong analytical skills, I can absorb and understand lots of information quickly, I have a good business sense and I am able to get on with lots of different types of people to achieve a common end. I have chaired and facilitated plenty of meetings (I was the provincial co-convenor for the Green Party, I am president of our local branch of Soil working to create a positive environment for young gay and lesbian people to come out into, making it safe, is more important than anything else I can think of. All of the legislation around developing equal citizenship rights for LGBT people is, to my mind, part of a broader picture of making it OK or normal to be queer. Which LGBT people do you most look up to? Locally it's Tim Barnett. I'm a Green, you know, but he's very cool. I actually stood for parliament for the Green Party in 2002, in Christchurch Central, which is Tim's electorate. I think he described it as a double act. But he has achieved so much and remains so nice! I also have lots of respect for some of the courageous young queer people I work with. I don't know they'd want to be named, but man, they're very inspirational. What's your worst habit? I talk about myself too much. Oh, and sometimes I dash off to Greek and Bulgarian monasteries during election campaigns. Which books are you currently reading and recommending? The Karamazov Brothers by Dostoyevsky: Great big nineteenth century Russian classic about a dysfunctional family and the hard lives of the peasantry. The End of Oil: Excellent discussion of why there will be an oil crisis soon and what its implications will be. A History of Food: Beautifully written book about all the icky things people have eaten over the centuries. Your favourite music at the moment? I've rediscovered Coldplay's 'A Rush of Blood to the Head'. Fantastic! Your favourite movies? My favourite film is 'The Garden' by Derek Jarman. That guy was a genius. Oh yeah, he's one of my LGBT heroes as well. Your favourite TV programmes? Since I was a kid I wanted to be Doctor Who, which I think is partly why I did a doctorate. On a plane recently I caught the episode of Extras with David Bowie. Laughed till I cried. Your favourite websites? I am shockingly useless at visiting websites. I tend to dive in looking for particular pieces of information and get out again. I think this is because I just don't get time. I'm also lots happier in the garden than in front of the computer. Who in the world would you most like to have a coffee and a chat with and why? Siouxsie Sioux. But she would have to make the first move. Without wanting to put too much onto her, I'm sure she single-handedly rescued me in adolescence. She did this by being unbelievably cool. Actually, she was already old-hat by the time I was a teenager, but her contribution to culture, to music and to the women's movement is enormous. I'd just like to say 'Cheers, thanks a lot.' I think the big project, in a way, was a critical evaluation of suburban modernity and the idea of what's normal. That was really empowering stuff for us when we were trying to find our voices. If you could have one wish granted what would it be? Honestly, I wish there was more love and less fear in our world and in our communities. - 24th September 2007


First published: Monday, 24th September 2007 - 3:43pm

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