2015 CAN AGM: Chairman’s Report

2015 CAN AGM: Chairman's Report

1. What CAN does
Broadly speaking:

  • Advocating behind the scenes with politicians, public servants and stakeholder groups.
  • Providing a consistent and informed media presence that presents the societal and personal benefits of cycling and the needs of people on bikes.
  • Supporting local groups in their advocacy (although the relative importance of this role has dropped since the 2013 CAN Do in Auckland).

All of these activities aim to "get more people on bikes, more often".

2. Three achievements and three challenges

The achievements:

  • The mainstreaming of everyday cycling, from being a voice in the wilderness just a few years ago.
  • The ongoing success of the Safer Journeys project, both within itself and as a platform for broader engagement with interest groups.
  • Broadened range of stakeholder engagement (e.g. AA, RTF).

The challenges:

  • Membership numbers and diversity.
  • Communications with local groups, members and the wider public.
  • Maintaining financial sustainability.

3. Financial sustainability

  • As you will see from the audited accounts, CAN showed a surplus of $47749 for the 2013-2014 financial year and has $167574 in the bank.
  • As part of a desire to use funds rather than simply store them up, we have increased the Project Officer's hours from 0.6 FTE to 0.8 FTE. This has resulted in a corresponding increase in Patrick's activity.

4. Representations to and meetings with stakeholders and politicians

Participation on the Cycling Safety Panel, and we now have Glen Koorey on the advisory panel for the Urban Cycleways Fund.

Written submissions, including:
o Draft GPS.
o Research topic submissions to NZTA.
o Draft report of the Cycling Safety Panel.
o Auckland Skypath Resource Consent.

Developing relationships with the trucking industry (mostly via the Safer Journeys project) have led to the presence of a HGV at several cycling events, including (most recently):
o Bike the bridge (Auckland), 2Walk & Cycle Conference (Nelson), Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, Go By Bike Days, Wellington & Christchurch; Carnivelo, Nelson; Rotorua Bike Festival.

Meeting with politicians:
o Highlight was a most supportive meeting with Transport Minister Simon Bridges in February. Among other things, he is committed to implementation of the findings of the Cycling Safety Panel.
o Making sure this happens is one of CAN's challenges for 2015.

Stakeholder groups
o Organised Cycle Friendly Awards (Walking & Cycling Conference, October).
o Regular meetings with MoT, NZTA, NZ Police have continued, involving both committee members and volunteers.
o We are now passing our priorities and policies through groups such as RTF and AA, so that they know what we are thinking and vice versa.
o We have been surprised by the support these groups have given to CAN's advocacy.

5. Involvement with local groups

Since the 2013 CAN Do, the emphasis is now on local groups supporting each other, with a particular role for the large groups in the main centres

Involvement of CAN with local groups occurs through:
o Direct contact between the Project Manager and the various local groups, by email and by personal visits, although (as just noted) this has decreased.
o Visits on an opportunistic basis by CAN committee members to places outside their area.
o Informally, through having a member of your group on the CAN Committee - the most cost-effective and efficient method.

6. The Road Safety Trust project

The project is a joint project with Cycling NZ (formerly Bike NZ).

It has 7 key outcomes; 4 of which CAN has to deliver:
o Determine what road user workshops should be delivered and models for delivery.
o Deliver 12 Road User Workshops, 12 Workplace Sessions and develop appropriate resources.
o Create a road user working group with the heavy vehicle sector and facilitate meetings.
o Determine CAN's role is within the road user workshop sector beyond 2015.

The initial phase of the programme had most success with bus operators, but we are now seeing increasing involvement with trucking operators. A steady programme of workshops and displays at cycling events has been undertaken.

Worth emphasising that the profit we make from contract work provides a significant part of the money needed to maintain our other activities.

Richard Barter took over from Jena Niquidet-Western as manager of the RST project in mid-2014.
o We formally thank both Jena for her work setting up the programme and Richard for successfully stepping into Jena's shoes.
o The success of the RST Project is totally dependent on the personnel leading the workshops and we are fortunate to have Jena, Richard and Rose Dovey in Dunedin as dedicated and capable staff and they have a number of contractors that assist with the project's delivery.

7. Communications

The way organisations communicate with each and with the wider public has changed dramatically since CAN's inception in 1996.

CAN's approach to communications has not kept up, and the offer at the end of last year by communications company Upshift to put together a Communications review was timely:
o Web-based surveys sent out February 2014, to individual members and local groups.
o We are looking forward to receiving their Preliminary report in time for the CAN Do.

Website system upgrade:
o This was commenced in 2014. There is a new website sitting in the wings waiting for content adjustments following Upshift's recommendations.
o Once the content has been adjusted, theming will be applied.
o The role of the website has changed, so that it is no longer the main electronic face of CAN - this role is taken by Facebook.
o Following the rise of Facebook, the CAN website has become more of a workhorse for CAN's administrative processes.

Social media presence:
o Following the 2013 CAN Do, our Facebook presence is now a major component of the Project Manager's work.
o If you don't already, I strongly recommend that you "like" the CAN Facebook page and follow Patrick's pretty-much daily postings.

eCAN electronic newsletter:
o Adrian Croucher has faithfully put out this valuable newsletter every month or so, focusing on advocacy news from around the world and key research findings.

o When CAN began, a paper newsletter was the main way that CAN communicated with its members, alongside the annual CAN Do.
o The October 2014 issue was the final issue delivered in hard copy.
o The March 2015 issue has been distributed as a PDF; we will likely follow this format for the rest of 2015.
o The fit of Chainlinks into CAN's overall communications strategy will be worked on through 2015, following Upshift's report findings.

8. Policy development

Policy or "position statement" development is important for CAN's credibility as a national organisation:
o Inconsistent messaging to the media destroys credibility
o A solid base of policies minimises the reliance of an organisation on a single individual and decreases vulnerability should something happen to that individual. Example: Patrick Morgan handles much of our media work, and he is on leave May-August. The policy base makes the job of his stand-in much easier and less likely to create inconsistent messaging.
o Policy development informs new areas of advocacy.

During the year:
o In response to the growing number of e-bikes, Alastair Smith organised a survey and used the results in a draft policy that formalises CAN's position. If media ask us, we need to have a consistent response around the likes of power limits (EU vs USA limits), where e-bikes can be used (OK on the Heaphy Track?), and whether they should count as bicycles on public transport and age limits for operators
o Finalised an updated "Health & Wellbeing Through Cycling" Policy, with current resources that can be used by local groups in their advocacy
o Identified uncertainty about how people walking and people cycling on cycleways and shared paths should interact with each other. The policy currently under development combines this issue with issue of road and cycleway user behaviour generally, and has the potential to drive discussions with government agencies

Maintaining our policies in an up-to-date form has been a challenge in the last few years.

The Kapiti group kindly helped out last year.

9. Membership growth

Paid up memberships have stayed static over the year; we have over 400 direct members and over 250 with the two groups that administer their own memberships; Wellington and Auckland. Supporting membership has stayed steady at 25.

There is a need to increase the diversity of CAN membership; we are predominantly middle-class, middle-aged Pakeha!

CAN joined the "Love to Ride" programme in late February 2015.

Priorities for 2015-2016:

There is a need to increase the diversity of CAN membership and increase our membership numbers. Correspondingly with this is a need to increase our income from donations and maintaining our charitable status helps with this through donors being able to claim back against their income tax a portion of their donations to CAN.

The 2013-2016 strategy developed back in 2013 will continue guide our operations. Including in this is furthering the engagement with the Government, the National Cycling Team in the NZTA and other central government departments plus NGO's.

Maintaining a voice in the national media and providing informed comment and stories through our national office will be an ongoing activity.

There is work that is necessary to meet our current commitments; the RST Project has targets for each of the three years it runs, so supporting Richard and the people delivering that contract on behalf of CAN is essential.

Implementing an updated website and communications systems with our members and supporting organisations following the work by Upshift will be a focus for the new committee.

There is a clear need to increase the geographic, gender, ethnic and age diversity on the committee:

o The only comfort we have is that voluntary organisations everywhere face the same issues. The small numbers on our committee limits what we do.
o More committee members = more advocacy at a national level; more diversity = better representation of the interests of those who cycle (or would like to)

It is worth going through what the Committee does:
o Provides a framework for employment of CAN's staff. The media presence we get from having a person readily available to answer queries is one of the most important parts of CAN's activities.
o Policy development. As above, this informs the future directions of CAN's advocacy as well as providing consistent media messaging.
o Consider joining!

We did not do an annual appeal in 2014 hence the level of ongoing donations and the contribution from our major donor is trending downwards. However, there are number of regular donors who help fund our work and I would like to thank all those who donated money to help CAN. The money from donations is vital in maintaining a paid presence in Wellington. It is having this presence that has ensured CAN responds quickly and effectively to media inquiries.

I would like make a special acknowledgement of CAN's staff for their work during 2014 and 2015; Patrick, Jena and Richard have been great to work with and have been patient with a voluntary organisation employer.

Thanks very much to those who have been on the National Committee for their great work throughout the past 12 months, juggling this with their busy lives. These people are:
 David Hawke (secretary)
 Don Babe (treasurer)
 Stephen Wood
 Alastair Smith
 Will Andrews

There are a number of people who volunteer or who have volunteered work for CAN in the national arena, I would like to acknowledge them and they include:
 Jacqui Irwin (committee)
 Elaine Richardson (financial administrator). We are about to farewell Elaine who has been our financial administrator for several years
 Adrian Croucher (membership & e.CAN editor)
 Miriam Richardson & Claire Pascoe (Chainlinks production)
 Ruth Lewis (mail outs) We also need to highlight the contribution of Ruth who has faithfully mailed out Chainlinks for many years
 Christine Cheyne (submission writing)
 Lyneke Onderwater (merchandise)
 Glen Koorey (MoT/NZTA/Living Streets/Cycling NZ meetings)
 Jane Dawson (meetings coordinator)

I would like to thank Spokes Canterbury for offering to organise this CAN Do. David and others from Spokes Canterbury have made a great effort to host us all. Next year we will be in Hamilton with Cycle Action Waikato.

Lastly thanks to CAN members at the front line of cycling advocacy around New Zealand: working with councils, businesses and the community to achieve new cycling infrastructure, safer traffic speeds, improved cycle parking, cycling skills training and education programmes. Your commitment and financial support help all New Zealand.

Is this the last word from me?
Having taken over being the Chair of CAN early in 2010, it has been a very satisfying 5 years for me as the head of a national organisation and working with great people. I hope to hand over the reins at this year's Annual General Meeting but I intend to stay in the picture and hope to provide a Vice-Chair like supporting role to the new Chair and incoming committee. I have enjoyed working with you all towards a better New Zealand.

25th March 2015