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James Macbeth Dann, an introduction, and a bit about Rebuilding Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 4:21 pm, June 17th, 2014 - 85 comments
Categories: christchurch earthquake, Gerry Brownlee, housing - Tags:

No more Gerries - the campaign for change in Ilam!

No more Gerries – the campaign for change in Ilam!

Hi there. I’m James Macbeth Dann, the author of the blog Rebuilding Christchurch. You may have read it, as sometimes bits of it get quoted here. Or you may have just found your way over to the site. Anyway, I’ll be joining the authors here, so there will be re-posts of blogs from my other site. I also thought it would be worth writing a few pieces with the aim of keeping the rest of the country updated with the important things going on down in the flat city.

Why is Christchurch so important? Well, Labour lost the last election here. In what was a terrible poll for the party, we actually got even less than the national result in Christchurch. For a progressive party that tends to do best in urban electorates, losing New Zealand’s second largest city was a blow that we just couldn’t get over. Barely six months on from the quakes that shook the city to its core, you couldn’t blame the people of the city for sticking with the incumbents that had seen them through a crisis. The situation down here coming into this election couldn’t be more different; nature is no longer to blame for the state Christchurch is in.

Labour lost the last election in Christchurch, but by outlining a bold vision for how we can get people housed, in a decent job, and how we can rekindle some of that initial optimism about building back our city better, we can win the election here.

I’m not just talking the talk; I’m taking the fight to the man responsible for this mess. I’m Labour’s candidate in Ilam, going head-to-head with Gerry Brownlee. I’m looking forward to challenging him about his policies, his bluster, and his callous dismissals to the real concerns of people who’ve been doing it hard for the last 3 and a half years. But my main mission is to get the Labour message out to the people of Ilam. It is not the homogenous, rich blue electorate that you might think it is. Sure, 25% of households might earn over $100,000 a year, but in a suburb like Jellie Park, the median income is less than $20,000. The rents in the north and west of the city have gone up at crazy rates since the quakes, and it’s hitting the people who can least afford it the hardest. All the while, the minister continues to deny that there is a housing crisis. We can’t afford to be lorded over by a man so detached from the realities on the street.

Over the next few weeks and months of the campaign, I’ll try and keep you updated with my view of what’s going on down here. If you need a more regular update, you can follow me on twitter, like me on facebook, or even sign up to the campaign newsletter!

85 comments on “James Macbeth Dann, an introduction, and a bit about Rebuilding Christchurch”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Jellie Park isn’t a suburb.

  2. mickysavage 2

    Welcome James. Have always enjoyed your writing particularly your stuff about Amy Adams.

  3. weka 3

    Welcome to the Standard James.

    I’ve heard the rumour that the Chch election results in 2011 were in part due to low voter turnout. Would you say that was a factor?

    • vto 3.1

      The reason National performed so well in 2011 is exactly as James points out, namely that people in disaster circumstances crave, with no further thought, stability. They want no further change no matter the consequences. As such the incumbent flew back in – didn’t matter who the incumbent was, they simply got voted back in for this very simple reason.

      It was shown in an even starker form in the local body elections in late 2010. It was widely known that one-term mayor Bob Parker was about to be spectacularly thrown out of office, such was his uselessness. The polls indicated a complete rout…. Jim Anderton was about to fly into office…..

      … but just one month or so before these elections along came the first earthquake on September 4th. Same thing happened and the incumbent, Bob Parker, got voted back in.

      This is the way these things go. Christchurch provided two spectacular examples of people’s very strong desires in disaster circumstances – the desire for stability and absolutely no change.

      Low voter turnout? Not remotely applicable from what I saw.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Do we know what the voter turnout was for the five Chch electorates?

        btw, I’m not suggesting that stability and trauma weren’t also a factor.

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          I did a rough and ready analysis which compared number of votes in 2011 compared to 2008.

          The results were:

          Christchurch Central 84.9%
          Christchurch East 83.5%
          Waimakariri 96%
          Wigram 91.8%
          Ilam 92.4%
          EDIT
          And Port Hills 90.8%

          The national total was 95.4%.

          CC and CE were strongholds and there does seem to have been a big dip in the turnout in both of these elections.

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            Micky, just to clarify, do you mean that the 2011 turnout in Christchurch Central was 84.9% of that in 2008?

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep in 2011 there were 28,026 party votes in Christchurch Central compared to 33,023 in 2008.

    • I’ll have a detailed post up shortly (maybe tomorrow) that provides a few interesting stats and graphs on that question.

      • weka 3.2.1

        thanks Pg.

      • vto 3.2.2

        Be interested to see that puddleglum. It may be worth evaluating the Council elections immediately after the Sept 2010 earthquake also to see whether turnout was a factor, as I mention above. That Council election swung completely around from very strong polls. Of course Jim Anderton famously commented that it would take an earthquake to stop Bob Parker being voted out, such were the polls etc….. then lo, along came an earthquake …..

        That is probably a better study of the incumbent phenomenon on display at both elections, national and local.

        • weka 3.2.2.1

          Parker was very visible immediately following the quakes too wasn’t he? More high profile than the local MPs?

  4. Marksman33 4

    Way to go James, good luck to you.From what I hear you’ll romp in.

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    So Labour’s best hope is that CHC not have another quake before Sept. 20?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      One bitten, twice shy. Cantabrians are sick of Gerry and EQC, and to a lesser extent Cera and EQR.

      Another damaging quake I think would go against National.

      • vto 5.1.1

        I agree. Most especially sick of being left to deal with the complete arsehole bastards and bitches at EQC…

        And of course the theft of Canterbury’s water by farmers by way of sacking the Regional Council Ecan rankles like you wouldn’t believe …

  6. philj 6

    xox
    All the best for Christchurch. Kiwis are in support, but this Government…?

  7. philj 7

    xox
    All the best for Christchurch. Kiwis are in support, but this Government…?

  8. Awesome to have you aboard!

  9. TeWhareWhero 9

    Why Parker got voted in – there is the issue of people being worried about change in the aftermath of a disaster but far more important was his slick media persona, how he presented himself and the extent to which the media cooperated in that process. That was not accidental.

    I do not forget that before the earthquakes, all the region’s mayors, led by Bob Parker (who was likely getting his orders direct from the beehive), supported the ousting of the democratically elected regional authority ECAN. Behind this extraordinary anti-democratic move was the issuing of resource consents for the use of Canterbury’s vast water resources, and possibly, it’s on- and off-shore oil reserves. This was extraordinary not just because it was done but because most NZers did not realise the implications of it – just as they have not realised the implications of the extraordinary powers the government granted themselves on the back of the twin disasters. The elections for ECAN have been put off despite government promises that democracy would be reinstated in 2013.

    Nor do I forget that the majority of deaths in Christchurch would not have occurred had the Council acted decisively to instruct owners to remove or brace weakened masonry parapets and made sure that the poorly constructed buildings like CTV had been properly inspected – and closed. The Council was inept and / or kowtowed to business and people died as a result.

    I also recall Brownlee saying that liquefaction was ‘good for the ground’ – where he got that novel idea god only knows – and that ChCh needed to ‘get rid of all the old dungers’ – the ‘dungers’ being the remaining heritage buildings that developers hadn’t flattened before the ‘quakes. Brownlee, Parker and Marryat were the worst possible combination to have been in charge of this process – a soulless bastard, a show pony and a manager whose remuneration package was in direct inverse proportion to his competence.

    The mismanagement of Parker and the grossly overpaid CEO Marryat (a perfect example of the fact that CEO remuneration in NZ is grossly inflated and is never related to performance) plus the mismanagement of Brownlee and CERA, have meant that Christchurch’s recovery is not just slow, it’s failing on just about every front. There is no CBD in the second city of a country run by a government allegedly supportive of business. There is a great gaping hole in the heart of the city and the plans to fix it are a joke – or would be if it wasn’t having such dire consequences for so many people.

    Another example of how truly committed the government was and is to the city’s recovery is the closure of schools. The Parata Plan was not about improving education – any government with a brain and a heart would know that schools are of critical importance to a community – and if you want people to return to ChCh or move there you need the schools in place, you do not close them and lose teaching and support staff. That’s aside from the rather obvious fact that kids in ChCh have had a fair bit of disruption over the past 4 years – some stability and smaller class sizes would have gone a long way to offset some of those effects. This is laying the groundwork for charter schools.

    The parallels with New Orleans are interesting – the literal destruction of working class suburbs, use of a natural disaster to bring in swingeing political and economic change that is even more destructive of working class areas – which of course were Labour strongholds.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Good writing, thanks.

      • vto 9.1.1

        Yes, it is. You know that one that really gets at me is the school closures and massive changes. Living in this part of the world and being entirely ensconsed in these machinations there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was the meanest nastiest part of the way this government has dealt with the people. It disgusts me.

        Children suffered immensely during the earthquakes, and still do today. Picture a 4 year old in 2010 suffering the next 3 years of their life with ongoing life-threatening earthquakes, broken houses, stressed parents. That is almost half of their lifetime. I see it. The damage is as real as the sun rising this morning…. then along comes this Nat govt and upends one of the only points of stability in their lives, their school…

        I shake my head at the callousness of Parata and Key and their supporters.

        Unbelievable.

        May karma visit upon their heads

        • Rosie 9.1.1.1

          Well said vto and TeWhareWhero. No body articulates the personal, political and community realities like the locals who have suffered, first through natural disaster and then the subsequent disaster that was the Government’s handling of the recovery. I’ve always had great respect for the way Cantabrians have shown such resilience over the last few years.

          Mr Dann, all power to you! Go hard against Brownlee and turn Ilam RED 😀

        • john 9.1.1.2

          It costs $7000 a year for each spot at a school. When you have 9,500 less children, but keep paying for those places (same teacher costs, same building costs), that is an insane waste of money that could be far better used to actually teach children – not empty spaces.

          The teachers were kept on all through 2011, despite nearly 10,000 fewer children.

          But it would be insanity to carry on paying $7000 for each of 9500 empty spaces, year after year after year.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2.1

            That’s true, John. It’s an inevitable feature of governance that from time to time school closures occur as resources shift according to needs.

            Necessary as it may be, it can nonetheless be a traumatic experience for a community, especially if it’s so poorly handled that judicial review finds you’ve acted illegally with monumental incompetence, giving rise to seedy speculation as to how you manage to retain your ministerial portfolio.

            Personally I think the continued appointment of such a waste of oxygen is deliberate, designed to degrade a world class education system, so as to make privatisation seem less of a foul betrayal.

          • Lanthanide 9.1.1.2.2

            It’s not paying for “empty spaces”. It’s using the extra resources to give extra special attention to the children that remain, because, they need it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2.2.1

              …the funding for the other four charter schools ranges from $9688 per student, to $21,247…

              Don’t tell John, it might cause him massive cognitive dissonance. No wait, he’s used to that.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2.2.2

              John comes from the vacuous “bums on seats” Right Wing model of education so what can you expect.

              • john

                Better than the “we’ve going to spend $66m a year on children who aren’t there” model of education.

                Insanity.

                • Colonial Viper

                  How is it better?

                  Do you begrudge giving the traumatised children of Christchurch additional resources and support? If so, you are in the same camp as Brownlee and Parata.

                  It’s very sad that you think this way about innocent Kiwi kids in trouble through no fault of their own. What’s wrong with you?

                  • john

                    Because instead of wasting $66m teaching kids who aren’t there, you could have a hundred full time permanent councilors to help kids.

                    And then you could STILL build them 30 new schools.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yeah, but that option wasn’t on the table, was it?

                      The only option presented by the government was to shut the schools down.

                      If they said “we’ll shut these schools down, but put significant additional resources into counselling for kids” I’m sure the public response would have been different.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    He’s got a magical absolution from all of the consequences of his callous incompetence. It’s called “personal responsibility”, and means the exact opposite.

            • john 9.1.1.2.2.3

              If you’re going to spend $66.5m every year on extra help, you could do a hell of a lot better than simply leaving 9500 spaces empty.

              We’ve just got a new 21 class school locally for $5m. That $66.5m over 2012, 13 and 14 could build 40 new schools – 40!

              It’s total nuts to expect there should be 9500 empty spaces being paid for at $7000 each and changes shouldn’t be made.

              • Colonial Viper

                But john, you’ve just suggested building dozens of new schools for students who aren’t even there.

                How can building empty unneeded schools with no teachers or pupils make more sense to you than helping traumatised Christchurch kids who need that extra support, and need the established schools that they are familiar with and used to, not to be closed down?

                john, can you reveal to us please what you have against the people of Christchurch? You’re as dismissive of them as Brownlee and Parata.

                • john

                  So you’d spend $66m a year on teaching kids who aren’t there, but not fix up and replace damaged schools?

                  Colonial Viper, can you reveal to us please what you have against the people of Christchurch?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Hey, low-life, you voted for Charter schools; you are in no position to lecture others about harm to children.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Who cares what his motivation is? Once we’ve prevented the prick from attacking any more children we’ll have time for those sorts of academic inquiries.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So the solution is to privatise education, we know, we know.

              • Lanthanide

                “It’s total nuts to expect there should be 9500 empty spaces being paid for at $7000 each and changes shouldn’t be made.”

                Absolutely NO ONE is saying “changes shouldn’t be made”.

                What we are saying is the change of “shut the schools down and do nothing else with the money” should not be made. That is exactly the change the government made.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Johnny johnny pudding and pie,
                  Met reality and started to cry,
                  “Don’t agree with these facts I say!”
                  Then Johnny Johnny ran away.

                • john

                  Nonsense – The government is spending $1.37 BILLION dollars on new school infrastructure in Christchurch.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Wait – really?

                    Where in Christchurch are they going to put these 270 new schools?

                    • john

                      13 schools will be built on new sites and 10 rebuilt on existing sites,
                      34 schools will be overhauled and 58 partly redeveloped in a programme affecting 80 per cent of Greater Christchurch’s classrooms.

                      The Government has committed $1.37b to rebuild or refurbish a total of 115 Christchurch schools over the next 10 years (announced in 2012).

                      There will be a total of 1200 new classrooms, and 1200 repaired classrooms.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Schools threatened with closure in 2011. February 2014, after delays caused by ideology and incompetence, Parrotty announces an election bribe (to be spent over ten years, how gullible can you be?), and poor Johnny is such a fucking dupe he actually cites it as though the money was allocated three years ago.

                    What a tool.

                  • freedom

                    r e b u i l d i n g

                    got it john?

                • Colonial Viper

                  What we are saying is the change of “shut the schools down and do nothing else with the money” should not be made. That is exactly the change the government made.

                  Ahh well put.

                  Seems like English wanted his tiny surplus and the kids of Christchurch paid for it.

                  • john

                    To come to that conclusion, you’d have to dig a hole in the sand, put your head in it, then you could ignore the $1.37 BILLION being spent on Christchurch schools.

                    • vto

                      john, all your various ranting in this sub-thread above highlight your total misunderstanding of the situation ….

                      … namely that the children of Christchurch have suffered immensely and that the schools were a point of stability in their lives, especially in the east of Christchurch. Nobody expected that changes wouldn’t be needed, as the demographics have altered significantly. People have seen their communities ripped apart by earthquakes and red zones and all of that. The callousness that has been shown by the likes of Parata and Key and you is in the ugly haste shown in attending to these changes…

                      … Your ugly lot should have acknowledged two things, one, that changes were going to be needed at some point; and two, that some time was necessary to let the communities recover from the trauma before making those changes…

                      These changes could have been made a number of years after the event. That they were announced and dumped on the communities pretty much in the midst of the trauma is the ugliness and callousness of your breed of people John. You are callous and unwelcome in our community. Fuck off.

                      edit: and your claim that the same money is spent on schools with less children is just horseshit. If that is the way the system works then make an adjustment to the system for a period of time. Ffs I thought you lot were meant to be clever business types and know about efficiency and all that – idiots.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Come on vto, don’t be disingenuous: you are well aware of recent findings regarding the right wing brain.

          • Rosie 9.1.1.2.3

            @john 🙄

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.3

          Karma is far too random and uncertain a process to rely on it to deal to Tory scum. We need something more direct. For the children.

    • Ad 9.2

      Great stuff and well connected.

  10. TeWhareWhero 10

    Of course there is money being spent on ChCh schools – all of them suffered earthquake damage so they all have to be repaired and I assume a hefty part of that is insurance money. To wave a predicted spend around as an example of government largesse is stretching the boundaries of logic and credibility to breaking point.

    Of course some of the schools need to be rebuilt and changes have had to be made but on the one hand the government claims it wants to rebuild / regrow ChCh, and on the other it says it needs to close and merge schools and reduce teacher numbers because families have moved away from the city.

    People with kids will only return or move to the city if there are existing school places for them – and if the number of school places in ChCh is reduced, that may affect people’s decision to relocate.

    The question for me is, given the commitment to helping ChCh regain its pre-earthquake population and even increase it, why didn’t the government keep as many schools open as possible as a gesture of faith in the rebuild and as an acknowledgment of how important schools are to communities already under enormous stress?

    There’s also the fact that keeping teaching and support staff and their families in the city is not only good for them, it’s good for the local economy, and it’s good for the kids they work with and their families. There’s no downside.

    It was an opportunity to show some heart – to prove that all those fine sounding principles the National Party claims to stand for actually mean something – and to prove that it can think about the long term social costs and benefits.

    • john 10.1

      The opportunity was to continue to fund places for 9500 who weren’t there.

      That’s totally insane – stark raving mad.

      There is finite funding per child.

      And you want to spend $66m a year educating 9500 empty spaces, when the same money could be used to educate 9500 real children.

      • vto 10.1.1

        Piss off with your money money money driver. It is not the main factor in this issue – see the comments above.

        You callous piece of shit. Think of the children instead of your precious dollars. If you lot had any brains you could easily have adjusted the funding on a shorter term basis to accommodate the demographic change for a few short years while the children recovered… and then instigated the changes…

        … but nope, you had to charge in and further disrupt the children’s stressed lives… you callous ugly bastards… shit all over our children like that …

      • vto 10.1.2

        $66million per year? $66million per year? To save our children?

        And you wankers fraudulently include South Canterbury Finance in the Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme to ensure your true-blue voters who invested in that shonky company get repaid their bad investment … to the tune of $1,700million?

        to the tune of $1,700million?

        and you begrudge $66million per year for a few short years to save our children?

        you are complete scum – go to hell arsehole john

        • john 10.1.2.1

          vto – you really don’t get it.

          The education budget is a set amount.

          If you spend $66m on educating empty spaces, then it’s not being used to educate children.

          You can come up with every excuse you like to flush $66m down the toilet, but it’s still flushing it down the toilet.

          As for the Deposit Guarantee Scheme – it effectively insured $133 BILLION of bank deposits, and largely stopped the domino collapse of the banking and finance sector.

          It collected around 3/4 of a billion dollars from those who paid to be in it, and expects to recover just on a billion dollars from SCF and others in the scheme, which means it won’t be too far from breaking even.

          • vto 10.1.2.1.1

            no, you have just shown once again that it is you who doesn’t get it. Re-read the above instead of just repeating yourself.

            and no, the banking sector would not have collapsed if SCF had been left to fail. In fact the RDGS may have even come out ahead if SCF had not been allowed in (after Key admitted it was going to fail ffs). It was simple fraudulent political gravy to national party voters. The same arseholes who don’t give a shit about the children of east Christchurch, just as long as they get more money in their pocket.

            despicable people who just don’t get it

      • TeWhareWhero 10.1.3

        John – do you actually read what people write or did your knee jerk so hard you chinned yourself and are feeling a bit confused?

        There is no ‘finite funding per child’ – if there was the political will to keep ChCh schools open with reduced rolls on the expectation that the population of the city will recover, the money would be found – and seen as an investment in the future.

        That’s what you do with social capital – you invest it in buildings and services for people – and sometimes you need to invest a bit more in a given area for a time because you know that short-term cost will yield significant long term benefits.

        Wasn’t that the logic behind funding the America’s Cup challenge?

        • john 10.1.3.1

          TeWhareWhero asks “John – do you actually read what people write? ”

          You mean like
          “Piss off with your money money money driver.”
          “You callous piece of shit.”
          “you callous ugly bastards…”
          ” shit all over our children like that …”

          TeWhareWhero says “There is no ‘finite funding per child’ –”

          Of course there is. When 9500 children left Christchurch and came to other schools (ours had Chch kids in every single class), the funding stayed at their previous schools throughout 2011.

          That was fine, but the funding is for teaching the children – you can’t continue indefinitely to fund the education of 9500 empty desks, but fail to fund 9500 real children, many of which also need much more support than the rest of their class – it was often the most traumatized families who had fled.

          • vto 10.1.3.1.1

            suck it up prick.

            and I see you still offer not a single thread of acknowledgement of the points made. And who said anything about “indefinitely”? And you offer not thought to making education funding changes to take account of those demographics. Ffs, Brownlee and this govt granted themselves effectively wartime powers to do whatever was necessary. The fact they did what they did with the children points to their ugly and mean approach.

            $66m per year for the children…… $1.7b for SCF investors…

            callous is exactly what you are

          • vto 10.1.3.1.2

            “When 9500 children left Christchurch and came to other schools …….. the funding stayed at their previous schools throughout 2011.”

            So change the bloody funding. Wtf don’t you understand about that for a short few years while the children recover? You’re saying that this govt could compulsorily acquire pretty much the entire CBD, buy out red zone houses right across the city, amongst much much more, yet it could not adjust a bloody budget in education in east Christchurch for a few short years? … that is truly a staggering proposition you have there ….

            What planet are you on? I can see what planet you are on – you just admitted it in your last post. Get out and about man – you are lost in the straight jacket of an education bureaucracy and you have consequently lost all ability to think. And be compassionate.

            Think of the children. They are the ones.

          • TeWhareWhero 10.1.3.1.3

            john – there is an education budget obviously but budgets always contain contingency and there is always scope to move money around to deal with emergencies – and you don’t get much bigger emergency than the Canterbury situation. The simple fact is that IF there had been the political will, the extra funding could and would have been found.

            Sure, it would have cost money but the government currently subsidises the private rental sector to the tune of $1.2 billion a year through accommodation supplements so money is not in short supply when the political will is there – and when the flow is from the public purse to the private pocket.

            And I’d wager that money will not be in short supply for education when – if your government of choice gets back in – charter schools take off.

            I repeat the main points: schools are critically important to communities; communities in crisis need stability and continuity; the government is committed (allegedly) to rebuilding Christchurch and the expectation is that the population will return to and probably surpass pre-earthquake levels; those people will need places at schools for their children; losing teaching and support staff in the very short term makes no sense on any level if you are going to have to replace them in the longer term.

            • john 10.1.3.1.3.1

              What makes no sense is throwing away vast sums of money on teaching empty spaces – that would be criminal, when the SAME money could actually be used on teaching children.

              We’ve had a number of school closures and mergers in our area. Pretty much every reason for keeping schools open in Chch, has already been heard here. There were protests, and petitions.

              The new school, which combined three schools, has recently opened. The kids and parents absolutely LOVE it – so much better than previous schools. Fantastic facilities that none had previously.

              As the principal said, the proof of how much better it is, is that absenteeism has never ever been so low – the kids now love to come to school.

              It’s normal for everyone to be scared of change, especially when it’s a school that people love. But that’s only because people fail to see that things could be even better – sometimes significantly better.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Which explains why international assessments reveal that New Zealand education standards have plummeted, and the National Party is importing proven failure promoted and delivered by the unemployable and John Banks.

                Or maybe you’re arguing in bad faith again.

  11. john 11

    vto says “and I see you still offer not a single thread of acknowledgement of the points made.”

    You hurl disgusting abuse, then complain that I haven’t acknowledged your points.

    Why should anyone acknowledge your existence, let alone your points, when you are such an abusive person?

    • vto 11.1

      Everything flies over your head doesn’t it john. The abuse is that foisted onto the children of east Christchurch in the midst of earthquake trauma by stripping away one of the remaining points of stability in their young lives. That is the abuse and it belongs to those like you who refuse to acknowledge this and wish it all to be about saving some money. It is you and your attitude that is the abuse. So no apology, the accusations and return-abuse stands. Tough, you rude prick – I stand on the side of what was best for the children, not those who ripped them apart more than they needed or could take.

      You are a child-abuser with your attitude and approach to this issue. I loathe people who abuse the children in our community. Piss off.

      • john 11.1.1

        You want the children to stay in the same dangerous run down schools, instead of brand new modern schools with state of the art facilities.

        Then you claim that my approach in providing these new schools would be child abuse. And that you are on the side of the children. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1

          Ah you claim to mean well and then advance so many feeble deceits, promote so many manifest failures. It’s difficult to be charitable in such circumstances; the facts exposed by Hodson & Busseri, Piff et al, etc. cannot be ignored.

          • john 11.1.1.1.1

            Yawn.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Aww, he’s getting tired. Ni’nighs little wingnut.

              • john

                A blank piece of A4 paper is more intellectually stimulating than your endless and mindless comments that have nothing to do with rebuilding Christchurch.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I note you have failed (like a feeble failure) to address a single substantive point I’ve made in the entire body of our exchanges. Deny, deflect, but most of all, repeat the same lies no matter what.

                  Maggots are useful. What’s your excuse?

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    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    2 days ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 days ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    3 days ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    3 days ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    3 days ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    3 days ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    4 days ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    4 days ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    4 days ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    4 days ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    5 days ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    5 days ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    5 days ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    5 days ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    5 days ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    5 days ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    5 days ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Swimmable Rivers tour – Ōkahukura/Lucas Creek
    When Environment Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament that some waterways – like Auckland’s Lucas Creek – are not worth saving because no-one wants to swim in them, he forgot to ask the locals we met last week who have put ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Wellington business relief package needs flexibility
    The Government’s Wellington business support package is welcome news but needs to be implemented so that all affected businesses get the help they need, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. “Wellington businesses will be pleased that the Government ...
    6 days ago
  • EQC’s staff cuts show disregard for quake victims
    The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan ...
    7 days ago
  • Maori Land Court job losses must be delayed
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must request that pending job losses at the Māori Land Court are put on hold until the Māori land reform process is resolved and the risk of losing centuries of collective institutional knowledge is ...
    7 days ago
  • Financial support needed for urgent earthquake strengthening
    The Government must provide urgent support to residents for important earthquake strengthening work so that it happens quickly, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  "I support the call from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester to bring forward work to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour welcomes equal pay
    Labour has long appreciated the value of women’s work and welcomes the Government’s decision to address pay equity for women, say’s Labour’s associate Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Sue Moroney. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Surgeons’ letter a damning indictment
    A letter from Waikato Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons claiming that hospital managers are stopping them from making follow-up checks on patients is a damning indictment of the health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s terrifying that one woman’s elective ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of touch Nats continue state house sell-off
    The Government should be focused on building houses for families to buy and more state houses for families in need, not flogging them off, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National’s state house sell-off does nothing to help people ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce drags feet while Capital businesses suffer
     Wellington businesses affected by the earthquake are continuing to struggle while the Government drags its feet on getting a business assistance package up and running, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  “Steven Joyce needs to front up with an assistance ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health and Safety Act fails to reduce work fatalities
    After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • What is the point of education?
    The proposed Education (Update) Bill is the Government’s statement about what the point of education is, and what it means to people. This week we had a day of Select Committee hearings in Auckland on the Bill. It’s a huge ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Earthquake exposes training shortfall
    Kaikoura’s earthquakes have exposed the Government’s under investment in critical building and construction skills training, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Government needs to urgently ramp up the training of Kiwis in construction and engineering in the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More cops needed to get P off our streets
    National’s cuts to Police funding and drug enforcement officers has seen a surge in cheap P on our streets, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s calling the shots? Bye bye surplus
    I would love to know who is calling the shots in the National government’s cabinet when it comes to deciding how best to spend taxpayers’ money.  On the evidence of the last few weeks, it definitely isn’t Finance Minister Bill ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent rethink needed on workplace safety
      An urgent rethink is needed on the Government’s new workplace safety laws with the number of deaths this year already at the same level as at the same time in the 2015 calendar year, says Labour’s Associate Workplace Safety ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rubble and rubbish: spending time in post-quake Kaikōura
    I visited Kaikoura over the weekend – basically to see how the community was coping with all the rubbish and rubble created by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and to see my brother Rob. I may have mentioned before that ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to pull the plug on state house sell-off
    The collapse of the planned sell-off of state houses in Horowhenua is an opportunity for the Government to call time on its troubled state house sell off policy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury sounds warning bell – but National’s not listening
    Today's long term fiscal outlook issued by The Treasury is a welcome wake-up call on the need to dramatically improve and diversify our economy and properly plan for the future, Grant Robertson, Labour’s Finance Spokesperson says. “Through our Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Don’t believe the hype – debt has skyrocketed under National
    The reckless dangling of tax cuts by the National Government is all the more irresponsible when it is put alongside the failure to pay down debt or put money aside for future superannuation costs, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Our kids deserve better
    We don’t know how many children are affected by having learning support needs. I do know that far too many children are not getting the support they deserve for conditions like autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. When these conditions are not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Talk of tax cuts is plain crazy
      John Key’s talk of tax cuts when the Government has $63 billion of debt, superannuation costs are rising by $1 billion a year and the cost of meeting another natural disaster, is just plain crazy, says Labour Leader Andrew ...
    2 weeks ago