I can’t believe what I’m seeing from John Key and Gerry Brownlee. They’ve made extremely foolish comments attacking the coronal staff trying to identify the dead and about knocking down all the historic buildings. Now, they’re trying to re-invent their own statements. This crisis is too big for this kind of childish bullshit. John, you need to act like a real leader, not like a naughty schoolboy lying to cover his mistakes.
First, there’s Key on Breakfast:
Corin: Do you have any concerns about your Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee, I mean there are some people in Christchurch who feel he’s being maybe a little heavy handed with some of his comments about bowling over old dunga buildings and things like that?
John: I haven’t directly seen his comments but I suspect that again they’re taken a bit out of context. I mean his main point is that the CBD, those buildings have suffered substantial damage and there’s no doubt that quite a number of those will need to come down. Saying he doesn’t care or to imply that he doesn’t care about heritage buildings, that’s actually not true. Gerry actually chaired the Riccarton House Heritage Committee. He’s not arguing that there’s not a place for the Cathedral, the Basilica, or you know Provincial Chambers or the Riccarton House. What he is saying is that in that central CBD there’s some old buildings of the vintage that was around you know PGC and CTV and the likes and there’s substantial damage they’re gonna have to come down.
So, wait. Key hasn’t seen Brownlee’s comments? Is that really credible? Do you honestly believe Key had not seen what his number 3 said last week that has generated huge controversy before going into an interview that would discuss the issue?
And, for someone who hasn’t seen the comments, Key sure has some strong opinions on them – opinions that directly contradict what everyone understood Brownlee was saying. PGC and CTV weren’t old buildings, they were less than 50 years old. No-one – not Brownlee, not anyone – was suggesting that buildings from the 60s and 70s need to be knocked down because they’re all earthquake hazards. Brownlee has been going on about getting rid of Christchurch’s “past history”, its historically-listed buildings.
This bullshit was only made worse when Brownlee contradicted Key an hour and a half later on Radio New Zealand, saying that he was only talking about the historically-listed buildings (which doesn’t include PGC and CTV) that had been severely damaged. Of course, this contradicted what Brownlee himself had really said last week about knocking down all the ‘old dungas’.
He also said that people leaving the eastern suburbs are deserters before realising how bad that sounds.
You see why I suggested Simon Power instead of Brownlee should be the Minister for Earthquake Recovery. He’s a pig-headed, insenstive bully. And his deep connections with Christchurch developers give him an agenda in the rebuild that isn’t in the broader public interest.
Then there’s Key lying about his own comments, again on Breakfast:
“[Clip – Interviewer: what’s your reaction then when you hear the Prime Minister John Key saying the length of time this is taking is farcical?
Sue Johnson – Christchurch Coroner: The people that are actually working in the mortuary are going as fast as they can.
Does it hurt when they hear that?
Yes it does, they were pretty distressed when they heard that.
What did they say to you?
They’d like John Key to come and see for himself. I deal with people who are dead every day, but on this scale now, it’s not normal. Not usual, so of course it’s affected us all.”]
Corin: Your response to that.
John: Yeah so if that was the statement I’d said, if that was factually correct I’d be with Sue, I’d be offended actually cos those people are working really really hard. That wasn’t the question that was put to me and honestly Sunday know that, cos they’ve seen the transcript. So the question that was put to me was about the length of time it’s taken to release the names of the missing by the Police, and I said yeah the issue’s been raised with me several times, I’ve raised it with the Police Commissioner. So a member of the media said to me at my press conference, what about the situation where a family member knows that the person has been a fatality, that there they’ve passed themselves their names of the loved one to the media and the media are releasing it but it’s not being released actually on the Missing Person List, and I said will that’s a bit farcical. “
Utter bollocks. Key was calling the pace of names being released farcical and suggesting privacy issues should be bypassed so the media could get their stories more quickly. It was pandering to the media and disrespectful to the professionals doing their best. Now he’s gutlessly trying to backtrack. It’s disgusting.
John, you’re the fucken Prime Minister during a national crisis, not some opposition MP trying to spin his way out of trouble. It’s time to grow up. Don’t pander to the media, speak honestly to us, and don’t try to hide your mistakes behind lies.
If Key will act like a leader, he won’t be criticised by me or many others. If he, instead, stays true to form and spends his time lying to cover his mistakes, he’ll be rightly hammered.