Christchurch – rhetoric and reality

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, September 4th, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: disaster, leadership - Tags: ,

Today is five years since the first of the Canterbury / Christchurch earthquakes.

After the February 2011 quake John Key made a very strong speech: “Christchurch; this is not your test, this is New Zealand’s test. I promise we will meet this test”.

Today the reality in Christchurch is that the rebuild has been slow and bungled (Brownlee should go). Key’s lofty rhetoric is somewhat reduced: Canterbury’s $40b recovery going ‘pretty well’ says PM.

Christchurch voices are calling out for leadership. Is anyone listening?

29 comments on “Christchurch – rhetoric and reality ”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    Still can’t figure out why so many Christchurch people voted for National at the last election.

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      Same effect as in the rest of the country. The ones who are doing well (out of the earthquakes) vote, and the disenfranchised and vulnerable do not.

    • BM 1.2

      Because they think Nationals doing an ok job or think National would do a better job than Labour.

      I can’t see any other reason.

      • Macro 1.2.1

        Or they are compliant pricks who are unable to think for themselves – like you BM, and do as they are told to by the media?

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      Yip, doesn’t make any sense to me either.

    • Pat 1.4

      at the time i too was stunned by that result,particularly in ChCh central, but on reflection it was not so surprising…the opposition parties ignored the problems and were noticeable by their silence until a few weeks before the election….as they have been since

      • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 1.4.1

        There is also the lack of public stories re Christchurch being broadcast to the nation. Read about it here.

        Also who has read transportblog Christchurch article and got to grips with how National party elites ideology dominates the city

        • greywarshark

          If Labour wanted to get christchurch stories passed the media one way they could do that is by setting up a Christchurch blog spot for all the info that is happening there. Run by Christchurch people but with friendly help from the Left. Waiting for corporate media to give them a say – wet. Having a say amongst others, and being prepared to accept comments and answer them. Now that would raise their profile considerably, also Christchurch’s.

        • Pat

          as a life time Labour voter until the last election Brendon i make the observation that Labour in particular, as the major opposition party with the reach and experience, had ample opportunity to rise to support those in ChCh who were being exploited and disenfranchised by cynical application of government policy. By and large this group consisted of the elderly and financially challenged, those of a generation that believe the government will protect their wellbeing and have found the opposite to be the case, those that Labour purport to represent….when given that test they failed miserably.
          Given that, on what basis did they deserve the support of the Chch electorates?

      • maui 1.4.2

        It was doomed from the start, once CERA took control and let owners knock down their listed heritage buildings and then of course Fletcher’s got the contract for all the new building work. Instead of letting the community decide how the city should rebuild from the ground up, it’s been decided commercially with state assistance. Then Athfield was sidelined on how to achieve a functioning transport system and we get the same as what we had before. Such a massive waste of resources and poor planning to rebuild a city that won’t be resiliant against climate change, peak oil or any other major crisis. As the property developers came in and promoted more urban sprawl they’ve ended up with more isolated communities with all of their water, sewerage, electricity completely dependant on a system providing it to them. Completely screwed.

    • Leftie 1.5

      Agreed esoteric pineapples.

      Despite the public anger and the anti Brownlee talk, Brownlee romped home with 58.8% of the vote last year. Go figure.

    • s y d 1.6

      clayton cosgrove

  2. Phil 2

    Gerrymandering gerrybuilt gerrybrownlee. Chch idp’s removed majority of trad labour voters. Reconstruction has dragged in trad labour seats. Brownlee was EQ minister and supposed to be presenting recovery plan after 1st quake the day of 2nd.

  3. Ad 3

    Underneath the visible rebuild, behind closed doors, there are positive shifts.

    – When the current Speaker of the House leaves shortly for the London High Commissioners’ job, Brownlee will in turn shift to Speaker. So the Chch Recovery Minister will vacate. I pick Bridges. English is grooming him well, he’s got command of the transport portfolio with ease, and he holds a good brief.

    – The new entity to replace the existing Christchurch recovery entity is planned to act more like an Urban Develoment Agency, working closely with Chch City’s own property arms. Out of the ravages and mess that Housing Minister Smith makes of everything, this is smart central-local brokering in the near future

    – The co-location of many central government services enables the Better Public Services agenda (emphasising the cross-agency benefits, and acting with the citizen first in mind) to really show itself on the ground. Sounds like bureaucratese, but it’s absolutely fundamental for Bennett and the State Services Sector.

    – Key signalling that he will step into the Chch Cathedral standoff also shows he’s understanding cities better. The Cathedral Square area will be made to work – so between City, Church, and State, he’s giving it a shove.

    Again, little of this is visible, and could have happened years ago.
    But it’s happening.

    • Pat 3.1

      what a load of bollocks..
      …if you believe that grand incompetent Brownlee elevation to Speaker will improve anything either in the House or in ChCh you are as delusional as Key.
      …The new entity is a rehash of the useless Cera and unwanted by the locals, CCC or the business community
      …the co -location of the gov depts is simply a rehousing of the same inept organisations…inept mainly because they are required to be to enact the corrupt policy.
      …Keys signal is yet another focus group driven change after the work done by others to try and apply some logic, Brownlee wanted the thing gone yesterday,along with everything else.

      The PR spin however has been a massive success for the Gov as constantly demonstrated by the lack of understanding of what has and continues to occur in ChCh

  4. There were cheers all round when Brownlee the wood work teacher left St Bedes in Chch.
    There will be even bigger cheers when he gets the Heave Ho from his role as the Earthquake recovery minister.
    Christchurch is run by the Crown and they will do no more than required, never mind that any Govt money spent will be returned via economic activity generated in the city.

  5. vto 5

    I could never understand why a government which believes in the free market let a perfect opportunity for such a free market expression go and instead grabbed at the reins of massive state intervention.

    If there is any reason for things failing it is this.

    Working at something believed to not work is never going to work… Is it …

  6. JeevesPOnzi 6

    So its about five years ago that I was watching the t.v.- shocked that a ‘real one’ had finally hit our country hard. Shit, I thought- I guess we need to be thankful after all for all that council red-tape that meant buildings had to have standards- I mean look at turkey and south America etc. At least most of our buildings stayed standing.

    And then I heard our PM come out and in a rare moment of statesman like competence he sort of suggested that a good way to view this from here on out was as an ‘opportunity’.

    I thought- what the F*ck is he on about?…

    But then I thought- oh well- he’s one on the Masters of Their Universe- one of the self made squillionaires who understand how all this shit works- he’s leading the A team of money managers- the super-pragmatists- I’d better give a listen on how he’s going to guild this dust covered Lily…

    And he said, something like this-
    “at the end of the day- different views- perfectly confident etc etc”

    (get that out of the way first) –

    he said-” this is an amazing once in a generation opportunity to totally rebuild a whole modern city from scratch- all paid for by the insurance money from foreign insurance companies”.
    It sounded like we’d actually won the lotto. Jobs for everybody, for almost forever- all paid for by big foreign corporate insurers.

    F*ck me I thought- so this is a sterling case of whereby right wing- business- savvy entrepreneurials like this prick are probably in their element.
    He might actually be the right man for this job, at least.

    And then I got thinking- what will they do? Will they open up a school for apprentices in Chchch to learn trades- afterall its gonna be a ten year job, so young kiwis can get a leg up in life- when its over they can go and build houses in Auckland….
    What marvellous windfalls will this bring to our country- to turn this suffering into happiness and well being?

    Well that was five years ago- and the masters of the universe have been very very busy- doing fuck all.
    Within weeks I got phonecalls from Ireland “We hear you’re lookin for 30,000 over there to build your city- is it true?”
    “Fuck of” I said- “My son’s gonna build it, with his mates”, “they’re just waiting on the word to go down there”.

    THe word never came.

    I asked a builder mate a month ago- “Whats the happs in Chchch? is it moving or what?” He said- “Christchurch is being raped by a few hundred well connected bastards who are all driving new European cars”.

    And that’s how I feel about that opportunity- it got raped.
    Our great pragmatists went and fisted the golden egg from the gooses arse before it was ready.
    My heart goes out to the people down there. And to my Kiwi sons. And their willing mates who wanted to rebuild the country with Kiwi hands.

    THe great rape.

  7. Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 7

    He also said many recovery decisions were informed by National Party ideology.

    “I don’t mean that in a negative or political way at all, but I just think we need to be aware that it is happening.”

    “We are seeing schools around Christchurch combined into larger schools. That is about maximising efficiency and reducing overheads and land costs. It may well be the best thing for the country, certainly I am sure the National Party would argue it is.

    “Similarly, government departments are being moved into the central city with combined services, like photocopying and so on, and different departments put together in single buildings.”

    “In one way, I don’t feel critical about that. In many ways the Government is leading the rebuild in the central city. All those offices you see coming up now around us are happening because the government is taking out leases and that is giving the banks confidence to lend money, which is giving the developers confidence to build buildings. I don’t want to be political, but we need to be realistic that there are political agendas happening and as citizens we need to be able to stand up and say what we think as well.”

    Who is ‘he said’? A labour party politician? A Green party politician? A TV journalist? No it is a CCC urban designer. Who stands up for the Christchurch community interest?

  8. Dorothy Bulling 8

    Always thought that a recovery team should have been a local Board with community, business and technical expertise, and representatives from local people along with council to decide the future of the city, not a government quango. The outcome would have been what the city itself wanted. There should have been no central government involvement except for their share of the roading and other infrastructure.

  9. Gangnam Style 9

    NZ Post call centre is being moved from CHCH to Auckland. 20-30 ppl losing their jobs.

  10. keyman 10

    well the people got the government they deserve one million none voters got the low incomes they want ,they want john key the people love john key , john key represents what new Zealand has become pack compliant sheep in a pacific version of a banana republic

  11. Thinker 11

    I was in Napier not long ago. The museum there has a terrific display on the 1931 earthquake.

    Napier had a some problems that Christchurch didn’t have, generally around lack of funds to rebuild privately owned buildings, but the new Napier (essentially what we see today) was officially opened just under two years after the earthquake. And they weren’t Gerrybuilt, either, as many are still there today.

    This timeline is a useful comparison:

    I keep wondering if National was in opposition what they would be saying about how long it’s taking to get things done in Christchurch.

  12. millsy 12

    We could really have done with the old Ministry of Works right now. Even in a design beurau/cordination capacity.

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