Update: since I wrote this post last night, Key and Brownlee’s double act has continued, with Brownlee making up an excuse for Key’s comment that 10,000 houses will be bowled. Brownlee claimed the number came from an EQC aerial survey at about the same time as Key was admitting he pulled the numbers out of his arse and had no official advice to base them on.
Usually, when I write a post about National it’s too expose and ridicule their failings. But writing this post reminds me of writing posts criticising Labour or the Greens because I’m doing it in the sincere hope that they’ll pick up their act.
We have gone into this with the government we have, not the ones we might want, and we need them to perform. The people of Christchurch need and deserve better than they are getting and, for now, John Key and Gerry Brownlee are the men who must deliver.
Key and Brownlee are the two most powerful men in the country right. In their actions and in their words they hold the hopes of tens of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down and the future of a major city. That’s why this Laurel and Hardy impersonation has to stop.
It would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. The classic comedy duo doing and saying outrageous things, trying to wriggle their way out of it, blaming each other … and then doing it again. They even look like bloody Laurel and Hardy but they’re our Prime Minister and our de facto Dictator.
With great power comes great responsibility.
You cannot, must not, speak off the cuff about destroying the entire architectural heritage of a city.
You cannot, must not, declare you are seizing control of the operation to the exclusion of the local community’s leaders.
You cannot, must not, pronounce out of the blue without consultation or advice that whole suburbs will have to be bowled and quake-devastated families relocated to who knows where (oh and not have any plan on where they would be re-located). And you cannot then say these families are “really lucky” because there’s undeveloped land to relocate them to. Or pretend there was official advice when there wasn’t.
Random announcements that are taken back hours or days later only make life harder for the displaced and distressed families. They do nothing to instill confidence in the government. And we need confidence in our leadership right now.
Key and Brownlee need to sit down together and take a few deep breaths. They’re excited and nervous – this is their chance to really leave a legacy, to literally reshape a major city as they wish. And I believe they do genuinely want to do a good job. But they are not doing a remotely good job. They need to hit the restart button.
Key needs to stop trying to pander to the media by giving in to their clamour for numbers and definitive statements. When he doesn’t know something, there’s no harm in saying so.
Brownlee. Well, Brownlee needs to be replaced. He’s basically a big, stupid bully. Completely the wrong person to be overseeing the careful stitching together of shattered lives in a shattered city and thoughtful planning of its future.
And we need a road-map. Not all the details. But the major steps in the government’s plan: what is wrong, what will be done to fix it, how will it be funded, how it will create a better Christchurch. We mustn’t rebuild in a rushed, chaotic way. We need a deliberate plan, led by an apolitical commission of urban planners and developed with the local communities brought on board, that we can see and have faith in.
Is there such a plan? Because right now it looks like our leaders are just floundering from one prat-fall to the next.
This is not the leadership we need.