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Election in the shadow of the Christchurch earthquake

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 am, September 14th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: local government - Tags: , ,

There’s no denying Jim Anderton’s mayoral campaign got a lot harder last week. He had been the favourite by a long, long way but the Christchurch earthquake changed things.

It reminds me of thinking on the morning of 9/11: ‘as long as Bush doesn’t totally lose it, he’s just won re-election’. Bush, too, had been very unpopular but handling a disaster competently gets rewarded. And you have to admit that Bob Parker has handled the earthquake recovery well (even if he has been a bit keen to get on camera for a cynic’s liking). It would be no shame for Anderton if he doesn’t win in these circumstances.

But none of this changes the reasons that Parker was so deeply unpopular. He has been a secretive and elitist mayor, in the pocket of his developer mates. Anderton promises to turn things around by running an open and accountable council that works in the interests of the people.

Anderton appears to be the underdog now (don’t confuse the ipredict stocks for polls, they’re just guesses from a mainly rightwing group of self-appointed pundits) but Anderton’s been fighting as the underdog his entire political career, and winning more often than not.

Announcing that he will resign from Parliament if he wins the mayoralty is a good move. Previously, Anderton could argue that he would only be doing both jobs for a few months (until the July election) and he was saving the taxpayer half a million dollars for a by-election. That argument doesn’t stack up now. Christchurch needs Anderton full-time.

Tonight, Anderton is holding a community meeting that’s a campaign re-launch/community forum on the earthquake:

Jim will be holding a city-wide community meeting at the Woolston Club, 43 Hargood Street, Woolston, on Tuesday September 14th commencing at 7.00pm for all those who wish to hear from an earthquake engineer, representatives of architects, engineers and heritage professions as well as community leaders, as to what has happened to Christchurch and how best we can go about rebuilding it.

The people’s views will also be heard, help given to those in need and an inclusive path mapped out as to how we can all now be part of the solution as we plan to make Christchurch even better, stronger and more prosperous for its next 100 years.

Good on ya, Jim. My money’s on you. Parker’s shone in the past week but people won’t forget why they wanted shot of him and you in his stead.

38 comments on “Election in the shadow of the Christchurch earthquake”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Reward him ?
    Yeah like they rewarded President Guiliani! . He hasnt held public office since.
    Or like Churchill. Who was voted out of office when the war had barely finished.
    Some of these ideas are media beatups, which if you say it often enough they think its true.
    With all the extra costs the Council will face in next years rates bills, maybe the voters will think about the the millions spent on developers unwanted buildings that Parker and Co have foisted on the ratepayers for years to come.

    • Carol 1.1

      Will Bob Parker suffer in the poll due to over-exposure? Is there anyone else but me starting to have a negative reaction when I see Parker’s grinning face popping up on every news bulletin? I’d rather be hearing directly from people assessing and working on the reconstruction, and from diverse local people afected by the quake.

      Seems a more commendable approach by Anderton to hold a meeting with various relevant professionals and consulting with the community on the way forward, rather than posing for the TV cameras.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        yes, I can see the backlash from the residents who see a mayor who has time for every Auckland based news bulletin but doesnt seem to make the same effort for the locals

      • comedy 1.1.2

        Jim, you’ve clearly been around too long, mate. When are we going to see the back of you? Time to move on!

  2. smhead 2

    Anderton’s a doddery old fool. He’s never been able to hold a team together, it’s always been about Jim. Ask Laila Harre or the Greens.

    Anderton took nine days to make his mind up after the earthquake on whether he would resign. It was the most simple and inevitable decision to make and Jim dithered. Nine days is very damaging. If it takes him that long to make such a simple decision then he isn’t fit to make all the decisions to be made on the earthquake rebuild.

    Meanwhile Bob the rebuilder has shone by getting on with the job. He’s done brilliantly.

    • Tigger 2.1

      What has Parker done? Explain what he’s achieved beyond wandering around the city.

      And Bob the Rebuilder? Who on floor nine came up with that?

      • Rob 2.1.1

        “What has Parker done?”

        A hell of a lot more than Anderton.

        • Dr Livingstone 2.1.1.1

          Rob, Forgive me for being cynical here but Bob Parker Sideshow Bob has all but ended democracy in Christchurch. The sooner we get committees back with experienced Chairpersons with expertise the better Bob and his bureaucrats and secret meetings are responsible for some shoddy decisionmaking. including bailouts of Millionaires to tune $17 million and Ellerslie Flower Show and 24% increases on social housing of Christchurchs vulnerable citizens. We need a real man with realexperience at the coalface leading a new team to rebuild this city.

    • Bright Red 2.2

      just remind me how Bob Parker has made rebuilding happen that wouldn’t have happened if someone else had been mayor?

      Like TM says – elephant rider.

    • mcflock 2.3

      Well, I know some Alliance folk in ChCh, and they’d still vote Anderton over Parker, even though they still fundamentally dislike Anderton.

      Something about Parker bailing out property developers then raising rents for pensioners, among other things.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Parker has merely been the elephant rider in this situation. Civil Defence and the other agencies all have detailed plans that they work through and Bob just has to turn up as he sees fit. Would you really want to be Mayor of a city and region in such deep shit though anyway?

    Though for a term, Jim Anderton’s experience and contacts would greatly assist in reconstruction and keep an eye on the real thieves of Christchurch, who might profit business wise from the “extraordinary” legislation being passed.

  4. Bored 4

    Christchurch has always been prey to the old squatocracy of Christ College old boys, and the noveau riche etc who have for generations run the city for their benefit. A tour of the city and suburbs shows thorughly the class base of the city suburbs over time, the old wealth building Fendalton, the workers in the old ruins east of the Square and down Ferry Rd.

    The stark reality is that Parker represents the “trough snouters” who have been running things for their own benefit since inception, as evidenced by the shady deals with Henderson and the “developer” interests. The sad thing about Christchurch has been the electoral obesiance of the working class suburbs to their social “superiors”. I pray that for once they gt off their butts and vote these free loaders out.

  5. GRAEME STANLEY 5

    Jim Anderton leading a team of Councillors are going to restore Open Governance to Christchurch For Three Years Sideshow Bob has run a secret council with decisions being made without public participation. Decisions like bankrolling a millionaire to the tune of $17 million and the real cost of that. the 24% increase in rents to our most vulnerable citizens in CCCs social housing and and refusing to give actual and total costs of overpriced Ellerslie Flower Show. The importance of the opportunity to restore the Committee structure to The Council with Chairpeople of expertise as opposed to decision making by Sideshow Bob and The Manager one of the most important in the Rebuilding and Restoration of Christchurch.Also giving Community Boards more teeth instead of Sideshow Bob and his Council sidelining them.Finally Ageism is the notion that people cease to be people cease to be the same or become people of a distinct and inferior kind by virtue ofliving a certain number of years I consider ageim prejudice Jim Anderton has years of valuable experience at the top level to share Lets harness that.

    • ianmac 5.1

      And remember that Parker was the prime mover in assisting Government to can ECan, and then threw away the can-opener!

    • kevyn 5.2

      If you’re going to vote against the one that gave the most money toi his mates then you’d have to vote against Jim. Or are you forgetting that during Jim’stime as deputy PM $400m of Canterbury petrol taxes were diverted to Auckland even though Canterbury was NOT one of the regions that had benefitted from Auckland’s generosity and, in fact, was in essentially the same parlous state as Auckland being owed $1.5bn by the road fund and having it’s own serious transport problem – the need to quake-safe the region’s bridges before the Alpine Fault lets rip.

  6. Bill 6

    Can anyone here confirm that The Press backed Parker’s call to have a ‘head to head’ cancelled because it would be ‘inappropriate’ in the current circumstances that demand bi-partisanship or some such?

    • Blighty 6.1

      I saw that in the paper last week. Bob’s using the opportunity to close down the campaign.

    • Puddleglum 6.2

      Well Bill, if you’re question is whether The Press have embraced bi-partisanship in these trying times there was nothing ‘bi-partisan’ about The Press editorial on Monday.

  7. Nick C 7

    “Don’t confuse the ipredict stocks for polls, they’re just guesses from a mainly rightwing group of self-appointed pundits”

    Prediction markets have been shown to be more accurate than polls in previous elections. Whether or not those betting are predominantly right wing is irrelevent. Any pundit can think something but to put money on it is entirely different. If it really were true that Bob Parkers stock were being pushed up by biased right wingers, then why dont you go and buy the underpriced stock for Jim Anderton? There is a strong incentive for someone to do it.

    • Blighty 7.1

      got any evidence that ipredict is accurate?

    • Bright Red 7.2

      We don’t all have money for gambling, Nick C

      • J Mex 7.2.1

        We don’t all have money for gambling, Nick C

        You can start trading on iPredict for the price of a beer – and can treat it as a way to make money or simply a way to ‘test’ your political instincts.

        Eddie, you shouldn’t run with the line that iPredict is simply right wing guesses (or right wing wishes). iPredict responded very quickly to the Chch earthquake. I’ve also made a reasonable amount of money out of over zealous ‘right wingers’ and my most successful trades have been on things that I didn’t want to happen, but rationally believed they would (Winston Peters not resigning or being booted during the Owen Glen scandal being one)

        The reality of iPredict is that you literally have to ‘put your money where your mouth is’. Something that doesn’t often happen on blogs, which is why iPredict will usually give you a better indication of an outcome than say, a partisan blog site.

    • Bunji 7.3

      Prediction markets / betting have been fairly good predictors, and that’s become a bit of a given truth. Except the last UK and Australian election both went very wrong according to betting predictions. In the UK the polls were wrong too, but in Australia the polls did much better than the betting which had Labor safely home.

      It’s very much a cliché, but there’s only one poll that counts… and we’ll have to wait for that.

  8. burt 8

    Anderton promises to turn things around by running an open and accountable council that works in the interests of the people.

    I choked on my coffee, Jolly Jim… in the interests of the people…. Pull the other one Eddie.

    Jolly Jim must be one of the most arrogant self serving dinosaurs we still have in parliament. If he ever planned to do the job in the best interests of the people he would have already resigned from parliament and would be on the ground out performing Parker already. The fact that he thought up till yesterday that he could be an MP and a Mayor standing on his head shows that for Jim it’s all about himself.

    Good on you Eddie for running this sort of support for him, but you must think we the readers are incredibly stupid if you thought we would believe for one minute that Jolly Jim was there to serve the people rather than his own double (or triple) dipping back pocket and his own ego.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      So Jim has 30 years of public service as his qualifications , while Bob Parker has his experience as a quiz show host to …….. front up to every camera within 10 k of Christchurch.

      Before the quake Jim was streets ahead, based on Parkers mediocre record, which wont change if he elected. So Jim will step on peoples toes. That is more needed now than ever

      • Rob 8.1.1

        What an interesting spin, 30 years of public service. Unfortunately when he met a real leadership challenge in terms of a regional disaster, he was………..invisible. Wake up; the only toes he has stood on are in the queue for the buffet.

        • mcflock 8.1.1.1

          He’s doing his job as an electorate MP. Parker is doing his job as mayor.

          They are not the same job.

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      “The fact that he thought up till yesterday that he could be an MP and a Mayor standing on his head shows that for Jim it’s all about himself.”
      Um, no, it means up until yesterday he had not PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED what he was planning to do. Thinking one thing privately and publicly announcing it is very different.

      Also, if he had come out very soon after the quake and said he’d be resigning if he won, you’d be jumping up and down saying “now isn’t the time to be talking about such things when CHCH needs help”, which is exactly why he DIDN’T say anything until now. IMO he should’ve talked a couple of days sooner in order to help dispel the sort of crap you’re saying, but Jim did what he did for a reason.

      • smhead 8.2.1

        You forgot that on Friday Jim Jong Il publicly said he wasn’t going to resign. So unless he was lying then he did only just come around to thinking he could stay on as an MP, and he said he could do both jobs standing on his head.

        So arrogant. Never been humble that man.

        • Lanthanide 8.2.1.1

          No, that was misreporting on the part of the media. What he actually said is that he hadn’t made a decision yet. The idiot media then took that to mean “that he hadn’t changed his mind”.

        • burt 8.2.1.2

          Let me guess, he was going to resign standing on his head as well…… You keep defending the trough master general, somebody needs to trust him and at the moment you are part of an ever thinning circle of lovers of self serving crusty old buggers with an over bloated sense of entitlement. Not many people would defend a double dipper while he talks about being able to tripple dip while standing on his head – you keep it up.

  9. smhead 9

    Jim Anderton can’t lead a team.

    He also can’t get on with the current government. Can you imagine him as mayor lecturing the PM on their walk around the rubble, and ramming his “I started kiwibank!” line at every opportunity.

    No, Christchurch needs a mayor who can lead a team on council and can work with central government to get the job done. As garner said, Anderton’s toast. A sorry end to a very long political career.

  10. ianmac 10

    It would be great if Mr Parker continued to be fronting up on TV. If he does so even more then the number of people who are sick of his platitudes and car salesman antics, will grow!
    Radio, especially National Radio had the experts on the Earthquake to explain, but TV seems to have mostly the MPs and Parker. Mmmm.

  11. Rharn 11

    Anderton has been out and about into the eastern areas most affected by the quake. His presence has not gone unnoticed. Parker on the other hand only fronts up with a TV crew.

    And the man has the gall to say that he has suspended his election campaign.

  12. Dr Livingstone 12

    I think Sideshow Bob should be answering the real questions on just how much damage has been done to the New $116 Million dollar Civic building that had to be extended already because it was too small This building sustained damages in the earthquake estimated at between $2 million —$5 million Is that why Civil Defence had to operate from our Glass Fronted Art Gallery? Bob should also answer why he has suspended his campaign . Is it so he can concentrate on his TV MEDIA Sideshow? Out in the suburbs there are still people without water and homes and tenants being evicted without discussion. by THE CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL. This is very shoddy treatment Bob of our most vulnerable citizens.

  13. Eddie, thanks for the mention. We recently did a poll of iPredict users with help from University of Canterbury, and found we have a disproportionate number of Green voters trading on the site. ACT was also over-represented and National and Labour both under-represented. I guess it’s the more politically radical that are also early adopters.

    There’s a chart on this page that shows the historic relationship between prices ex ante and outcomes ex post. There’s a strong relationship there, which you’d expect from any forecasting system worth its salt. iPredict did pretty well against the polls at the last election, being more accurate (i.e. closer to the final result) than 15 of the 19 polls published between our launch on September 9 that year and election day.

    Our traders did have Anderton a 90% favourite to win in Christchurch before the quake, there’s not too much room for rightwards bias in that figure!

    Anyway, thanks again for the mention, and keep up the good work.

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