Is the power of CERA going to Brownlee’s head a bit? Seems he’s using it to intimidate Christchurch building owners:
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee wants the owners of dangerous, earthquake-crippled buildings to act faster, with a “veiled threat” that they could be punished. Clarendon Tower property manager Mark Youthed, of Knight Frank, said he received a call from Brownlee on Wednesday, and was told to “get on with it”.
“He [Brownlee] said that under the new (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery) Act they had the ability to fine [Christchurch] building owners who are impeding things in terms of opening the city,” Youthed said. Brownlee was not happy about reports the building could take up to 10 months to “make safe” because it would impede plans to open up the City Mall before Cup and Show Week in November, he said.
“It was a bit of a veiled threat, but I understand that. We don’t want to be holding things up either.”
Veiled threat? Seems like a pretty naked threat to me.
Yesterday, Brownlee confirmed he had called a number of owners of “distressed” buildings, but would not comment on their discussions. “They are confidential conversations.” However, he said there needed to be faster action to either stabilise or demolish dangerous buildings, and some owners’ time frames were unacceptable.
“We are very much making it clear that time is not a luxury available to distressed building owners,” he said.
We all want Christchurch rebuilt, and everything within reason should be done to facilitate that. But here we have Nat mentality in a nutshell. When people are in trouble through no fault of their own, do you help them or threaten them? I think most of us would rather extend the helping hand than the iron fist, but not the Nats. They don’t have a plan, they aren’t going to help, what they do have is a stick to beat people with…