David Farrar thinks it’s ‘ghastly’ to discuss how to pay for rebuilding Christchurch, since the obvious answer is by reversing the tax cuts rich people like him have pocketed. Well, I think how the poor eastern suburbs of Christchurch have been forgotten is ghastly. Fortunately, communities are organising themselves, without government.
Desperate and unsettling stories are emerging in the poorest communities of Christchurch. Residents of the Eastern suburbs, especially Avonside, are still without water, and contact with state aid services has been zero. Housing New Zealand residents — neglected after the September 4th earthquake — are once again angry at the lack of help in their blocks, and are struggling to get through.
Members of Beyond Resistance and the strong community centred around Gilby Street have been door knocking and distributing food in the wider Avonside community. Using cars, bikes or on foot, they have managed to take prepared food and water out to those in need. Often they are the first contact with the outside world for Christchurch East residents, and their efforts have been very appreciated. Bottled water, soup, vegetables and gas canisters for cookers have been the main items of need.
However efforts to get these basic needs out to neglected residents are being hindered by bureaucracy and heavy-handed policing. On more than one occasion, Allister from Beyond Resistance has been profiled and stopped by Australian Police patrolling the area, while motorists and sight-seers snapping photos drive pass unchecked. Stockpiles of food and water controlled by the Salvation Army would not be released to the Gilby Street community, even after repeated explanations that such food and water are desperately needed in the greater Avonside area and would be distributed by them.
In a clear exposition of the illogical system we live in, the local Stanmore Road supermarket is closed and protected by security — despite being full of food and supplies. Earlier in the week a man was beaten at the same supermarket by security for trying to access food and smokes. He had no money, and no power to access food stamps or support funds.
The immediate redirection of aid and supplies are needed in the suburb of Christchurch East. Food and water needs to be made available free of charge and to anyone who needs it, regardless of membership in an aid organisation. Now is not the time to profit from the sales of food and water (not that there ever is an ok time for such exploitation). The free movement of residents and their supporters is essential in the aid effort, and should not be hindered by out-of-town Police positioned to protect property rather than people.
Just a quick update.
The Super Market mentioned was New World in Richmond, further up Stanmore Rd. I actually witnessed the same type of incident a week earlier, before the quake at the Stanmore Super Value over a box of tea bags and cask of wine.
The New World is still open. The Super Value is not, but it’s guarded and full of food. I bought bread and newspaper there seconds before the quake hit.
Also the Starvation Army were more receptive today and we were able to fill our station wagon full of bottled water which went straight to people in Avonside.
The kitchen has been feeding members of our own hood, plus others, daily and preparing food to distribute. Doing two water drops a day.
Things that are in most need are water (obviously}, gas cookers/gas, food, porta loos are in great demand (some peeps in Avonside can’t dig long drops as the water table is only a spade or two depths under the surface. These items are mostly impossible to get locally so having to rely on peeps bring them in. Which is sporadic.
Roads are real congested, so having to work our way out. Roads are either fully congested or impassable. Have a dude from Kaiapo in a 4×4 bringing about 250L in everyday. He and I are doing regular drops in certain areas, building relationships as we go.
Edith, and the Gilby st crew are working daily preparing food, digging toilets for people unable to, plus many other things.
We are sourcing food from gardens and anywhere we can get it. Heaps of meat being eaten at the gilby st kitchen as at times, with freezers out of action, it has to be eaten or it goes off.
Sorry would write more but need to get some sleep.
It’s useful for some to remember that anarchy doesn’t mean ‘chaos’ it means ‘without government’. The Christchurch anarchists are showing the will and organisation to help keep their communities going while the resources of the government appear focused elsewhere.