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John Armstrong on the politics of ChCh’s quake

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, September 8th, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags: ,

I found this analysis from John Armstrong especially insightful in the politics of being non-political. He says:

The politicians are already playing politics, however, though not too flagrantly. Saying you are not going to play politics – as Goff effectively did – is itself a political statement. As was John Key’s decision to cancel his trip to Britain and France…Labour’s strategy for now is to be seen to be party to solutions to Christchurch’s woes by offering to work constructively alongside National. But National does not need Labour’s help. And it more than likely does not want it….Goff can validly argue it is not the Opposition’s role to adopt a stance of unquestioning silence if there are mistakes, foul-ups or shortcomings in the Government’s attempts to fix Christchurch.

Overshadowing all that is the growing realisation that dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake is a potential election “game-changer”. Getting Christchurch back on its feet is looming as a test of the Government’s competence second only to management of the economy. Get it right in a reasonable time and National will get substantial kudos for doing so just months before the next election.

Handling it badly will be a black mark for the Key Administration which could help Labour get back in the race for the Government benches.

National’s task is made more difficult by Christchurch being one of Labour’s few remaining strongholds. There will therefore be high expectations on the populace’s part of Government intervention and assistance with which National Party ideology does not sit comfortably. The pressure to open the wallet also risks undermining National’s determination to keep tight control on spending.

All in all, the political stakes have suddenly become very high as the enormity of the earthquake’s impact becomes more and more apparent.


14 comments on “John Armstrong on the politics of ChCh’s quake ”

  1. Mr Magoo 1

    Well lets hope they handle this as well as sched. 4 mining, national standards etc.

    Labour is well advised to mostly STFU at the moment. There will be a time of reckoning that will count and that will be when this government falters.
    Let that nice young idiot Mr Key put his “guy Smiley” brand all over it. Then hang him with it.

  2. Kevyn 2

    Labour is going to have to tread very carefully in case some canny journalist notes the irony of the new quake safe Newmarket Viaduct being opened to traffic on the the same day that the region that payed for the work experienced failures of several bridges for which seismic retrofit funding had been declined.

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      stupid stuff Kevin..not even going to explain why… you would need to have two eyes and one brain to follow the process through. as you only amass half those requirements you miss out. sorry

    • handle 2.2

      Auckland has paid more than its fair share of roading costs for decades, mate. Where do you think the smooth roads of Canterbury came from?

      • kevyn 2.2.1

        Handle, Don’t throw old wives tales at me. The financial statements for regional receipts and disbursements of motorspirits excise duty and mileage tax show that Auckland’s total contribution to South Island roads from 1925 to 2002 amounted to little more than $200m (2006$) compared with Canterbury’s contributions to other South Island regions during the same period of $1.5bn. In fact Auckland’s total contribution to other regions was $1.8bn, not much more than neighbouring Waikato’s contribution of $1.3bn.
        Since 2003 the South Island has pumped $600m into Auckland’s economy. Just as unjustly Waikato has lost $400m to Auckland.

        bbfloyd, take a look in the mirror.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    This afternoons headline:
    PM: Consents for rebuild may be given retrospectively.

    This is what I predicted a day or two back. Standards will be lowered.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Not necessarily. Just because you normally get consents ahead of time, doesn’t mean getting them afterwards will mean the standard is lower. Especially if sub-par work is not consented.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.1

        A major part of consents is the inspections. Unless this is carried out properly its worthless getting a ‘consent’ afterwards. As well consents when done properly also give legal liability to the Council, as in practice they have to pay if there is a fault done the road.
        Where there is a loophole many will try to exploit the situation. Why would you want to buy a house down the road that was done under dodgy rules?

  4. aj 4

    But the sub-par work will have been completed and paid for. Worms. Can.

    • Loota 4.1

      It won’t be Leaky Building Syndrome next, it will be Christchurch Building Syndrome.

      Guess the tax payer will have to foot that one as well.

  5. SHG 5

    “Enormity” does not mean “enormousness”.

  6. Rharn 6

    For Anderton to getback in the race he needs to change his position that if elected he will resign from Parliment. I don.t think he can come with any credibility after the quack
    claiming that he can do both jobs at once. there is no doubt that with today’s teck this could be done but the political bullets that will be fired at him if he does not change his position will be too many to dodge even with his political skills

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