But will he make the trains run on time?

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 pm, September 22nd, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: poverty, public services - Tags: , ,

A little over a week ago, Parliament unanimously made Gerry Browlee dictator. Apparently, this was necessary to save Christchurch. But are Dictator Gerry and Bob ‘the Rebuilder’ (wonder how long it took Kevin Taylor to come up with that one) actually delivering for the people who need it the most?

Christchurch is, by and large, a fully functioning city thanks to this country’s excellent building standards and the sterling work of public services in the wake of the quake. But In the worst affected suburbs, things are still bad and people are wondering why all the government and council attention has been lavished on the CBD. Now, they’re getting angry.

In central Christchurch, work has restarted on upgrades to the tram lines that were begun before the earthquake. In Kaiapoi and Avonside, there are still roads without water or sewerage. You can’t criticise the dedication of the workers labouring to repair the services but they aren’t getting the resources they need.

Houses that are green-stickered, meaning they are structurally sound, are actually uninhabitable because of lack of services or contamination. And the people affected aren’t even getting help from the mayoral fund that Kiwis have so generously contributed to.

So, Gerry Brownlee has exercised his dictatorial powers to make it legal for overweight and over-dimension trucks to drive on any road in the country, given police emergency powers for the next year, and removed requirements on councils to consider the consequences of their decisions. But he hasn’t got the loos working for Christchurch’s poor.

I suspect it simply isn’t on his agenda.

26 comments on “But will he make the trains run on time?”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    IMO the people in these affected streets need to be housed elsewhere. Its not good enough that they are living in those conditions. Apparently it could take a year to get the sewage connected back up. Thats even if they decide to rebuild on the affected land.

  2. bbfloyd 2

    one thing i have always assumed about our great leaders is that they may at times have the wrong approach, or be misguided, but never stupid. Jerry brownlee and the people who have been behind this push to get “road trains” back onto NZ roads can only be two things.
    1.. completely bereft of common sense or,
    2.. blinded by greed…

    i have found that it is quite common for no2 to contribute to no1.
    yet another problem for the next labor govt to have to fix.. with the attendant howling coming from the trucking lobby.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    One of the problems here at the moment is that there is already huge pressure on available housing. My wife is a real estate agent and she informs me that one of the insurance companies contacted their rental division to rent every available house they had. So, finding alternative accommodation for these people in the affected streets could be problematic given the scale of the problem.

    I guess we should be thankful because the problems could have been a lot worse.

    Apparently there are 1500 empty houses in Christchurch that are not actually rented out. I understand that the government is trying to encourage the owners of these houses to make their houses available.

    • Marty G 3.1

      yeah, there’s a housing shortage now. a lot of those holiday homes will be too far away for a family to use and carry on their normal life.

      there’s a risk that families will just quit on Christchurch altogether.

      All the more reason to get those structurally sound houses clean and get their services reconnected as a priority.

      • tsmithfield 3.1.1

        Its a great ambition. However, the damage in those particular areas makes it very difficult and time-consuming to get the job done. My father has a house not far away from there and they only have temporary water connected at the moment via hoses along the road, so I do have some personal knowledge of the situation.

        There is talk that some of those areas might be completely bulldozed, good houses and all, and new houses built somewhere else. If that is the case, and it is going to take twelve months to repair the sewage system, then relocating the people might be the only option. I certainly think that expecting them to stay where they are in those conditions is completely unreasonable.

        From what I have seen, the council is working as hard as they possibly can to get things sorted. However, some things are just going to take time no matter how much effort is put in.

        • A Nonny Moose 3.1.1.1

          “From what I have seen, the council is working as hard as they possibly can to get things sorted. However, some things are just going to take time no matter how much effort is put in.”

          This. 19 days people. You can’t expect to wave a magic wand and everything comes right instantly after a natural disaster.

          The infrastructure is in place. Stop getting in the way with political rhetoric stirring up already upset residents for political gain. Sometimes these things go beyond party lines. This is one of those times.

          • Puddleglum 3.1.1.1.1

            It’s not about political rhetoric.

            The first priority in disaster situations is to ensure that all people are in habitable situations. I don’t often agree completely with TS but I think he’s right that this is entirely unreasonable and getting some decent living arrangements – agreeable to the people affected – is the number one priority.

            One of their main complaints is that they’ve had insufficient communication from Council and they feel that they are in the queue behind getting business buildings in the CBD sorted.

            As I said, the priority is clear – their problems are front of the queue problems – or should be. Parker or anyone else as Mayor should be spending their time first and foremost putting things right for them. It’s not politics, it’s what all of us would expect of any post-disaster effort. These are the domestic conditions, hygiene, etc. of families we’re talking about.

            • Swampy 3.1.1.1.1.1

              What strikes me is a lack of reasonableness from the people doing the complaining, they are being provided for and the living conditions we have in this country are far superior to many developing countries, maybe they would like to be in Haiti and understand the huge difference in outcomes from a similar sized earthquake. Now the fact is that there is massive damage to the sewerage systems in some of these suburbs and it will take many months to repair. As the city council says on their website they renew about 4 km of sewerage a year and here they are faced with some tens of km of sewers which will have to be replaced.

              Now if you go around the city you will see sewerage works going on in various places, without even specially looking I saw at least three different lots of works going on in differnet parts of town, so the work is going on. The job of repairing sewers is huge, they are big pipes up to 2 metres in diameter roughly 3 metres down in the road, the road has to be dug up, sheet piles have to be driven to hold up the sides of the trench, big pumps have to be brought in to dewater the trench, then finally they can get on with laying the pipe, and then they have to connect a lateral into every house along the street. Over the past two years I have watched a new sewer line slowly creeping across from Linwood to the central city, two or three km, it is a massive job.

              There is similarly a massive job in the reconstruction and there are works already going on all over the place so there is plenty happening already, the fact it will take quite a while to complete all of this repair work is very understandable and not at all unreasonable.

  4. with this storm raging across the country and the ensuing powercuts, trees blown over, and dampness, i expect parliament to declare martial law for the rest of the nation very shortly.

    • tsmithfield 4.1

      Yeh. The insurance companies must be getting hammered at the moment. Thankfully for Christchurch we have been having beautiful weather here.

      • the sprout 4.1.1

        insurance companies must be getting hammered at the moment

        true, i guess there’ll be legislation passed under urgency to provide them with a few billion in corporate welfare if it looks like their profits could decline

    • rich 4.2

      It’s a lovely spring day here in Wellington, just as it has been every day this week. And although it’s windy, we don’t get infrastructure damage from gales, because anything that was going to blow over did so long ago.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    BTW, you may have already seen this, its been around for awhile. 773 quakes at the time of this posting. You can speed up the animation by clicking on the forth arrow to the right a few times.

    [lprent:added the http to the link ]

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Fixed Link

      The blog software doesn’t seem to like it if you leave off the “http://www.” and fills it in with the address of the parent page.

  6. ianmac 6

    Some of us noted that the man fronting up to the desperate people in Avonside TV and radio, was the man who actually does the work. He took the heat from the people and was visibly upset at their plight.
    But where was that Parker twerp or Brownlie for that matter? They are so good at smiling and promising but scarce when the people are upset. What do you think of the Parker cowardly no-show when the tough stuff happens?

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Anderton was there too.

    • Bill 6.2

      You forget that these kindly gents, Brownlie and Parker, are in the business of reducing council related services and jobs.

      By having a council worker (even if not employed by council, that is the perception) front up in a situation where shortcomings are obvious, can be used down the track to build the case against council services on the grounds that they aren’t up to the task at hand but would be under PPP’s or whatever.

    • Swampy 6.3

      So Parker wasn’t at a Labour Party local government election campaign meeting in Avonside, he was in his office doing the job he is paid to do, he doesn’t have to go to every meeting because there are other people in the council that can do it and the local councillors in that ward went out to those meetings.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Draco “The blog software doesn’t seem to like it if you leave off the “http://www.” and fills it in with the address of the parent page.”

    Sorry, try again. Here is the graphic. As I said, pressing the fourth arrow button speeds up the animation.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Na. Still not happening. This time I’ll just type the link.

    http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz

  9. ieuan 9

    So Marty let’s just follow some of the ‘logic’ of your post.

    The people doing the tram tracks are also capable or repairing the sewerage systems?

    If Gerry hadn’t approved overweight trucks this would somehow provide loos for Christchurch’s poor?

    Someone is always going to be last to have assistance. Most people who have had their homes damaged to the point they can’t stay in them (and that includes two friends of mine) have moved in with relatives but not everyone has that option. I am sure the government and the council are doing what they can. It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease so I don’t blame people for complaining to the media. However I think you are stretching things to criticise Brownlee and Parker because not everyone is totally happy.

    • Swampy 9.1

      The council renews about 4 km of sewer every year. It is a reasonable guess they have specialist crews to do the work. I have seen those crews at work without looking very hard over the last few days. It will take them months to repair tens of km of sewerage which is entirely understandeable. While we were more fortunate being almost on the doorstep of the wastewater plant, they even have problems with the damage to the banks of the oxidation ponds, a huge job to repair those and very essential.

  10. Swampy 10

    The amount of sewerage that might need repairs is massive – I saw somewhere up to 100 km. It is still being assessed and it is probably a specialist group of workers that does it – not the ones that are working on the tram tracks, so it is disingenous to suggest that every council worker should be working on sewers – it is a waste of time to have a lot of them standing round doing nothing when they don’t have the expertise to do so. Sewerage work is happening – works that were contracted for before the earthquake are continuing, as they should. At this stage it isn’t clear how the massive amount of repairs will be carried out but it is fair to say so soon after the earthquake that the rebuilding is only just beginning

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    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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