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.