Key clueless on Chch rebuild

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, May 23rd, 2011 - 11 comments
Categories: disaster, jobs - Tags:

John Key thinks he can smile and wave his way through the worst natural disaster this country has faced. It’s a stunning dereliction of duty:

“Our good friends in the Labour Party, who want to exaggerate everything, run around telling you the worst sort of Armageddon picture,” he said.

Labour had predicted there would be 20,000 people left unemployed because of the disaster.

“Actually there’s about 1000,” he said.

I’m not aware of Labour making any such projection. The unions have estimated 20,000. So have business groups. Why are ‘only’ 1,000 unemployed so far? Because most people who are out of work due to the earthquake are still on the emergency benefits that were created for them. Those benefits end in a week. Then the true nature of the unemployment disaster in Christchurch will be revealed. Key knows this. Why he pretends otherwise is beyond me. It seems to be the ultimate in short-term politicking.

“Economic activity here is going to be enormous. Basically you are spending $25m over a five year period, that’s the equivalent of the entire construction industry around New Zealand every year for five years. It’s going to be phenomenal,” he said.

Does the industry have capacity to expand production five-fold? Of course not, which means massive building cost inflation. Is the government doing anything to get the industry ready for the rebuild? No, it hasn’t even restored entirely its training cuts from last year.

“I think you are going to see a lot more people trained.”

I still can’t get over how Key and English talk about government responsibilities, like skills training, as if it is something entirely outside their control and they are just casual observers.

And what is going to be rebuilt anyway? The estimate, based on EFTPOS card users, is 80,000 of the 375,000 population has high-tailed it. That number will surely rise when the quake benefits expire. How many will stay away permanently? More with every day.

Would you build a house or open a business in a community that is de-populating? Of course not. You would take your insurance payout and head somewhere vibrant. So where will the demand for rebuilding come from? It would have to be government-led. But that clearly isn’t going to happen.

Internationally people would also be attracted to work opportunities coming from the re-build.

“After 10 years of re-build, do you really think they are going to pack up and leave? Not a dog’s show,”

Um. We have 270,000 out of work Kiwis, so why is Key saying that the earthquake is an excellent opportunity to attract foreign workers?

But this is the worst line:

“Look at something like EQC, they’ve gone from having 29 people to something like 1500; that is a growth business.”

EQC is Key’s example of a growth business? Seriously? A government body that is designed to temporarily expand to assess damage after an disaster is Key’s model of success? Its like saying a plague has created economic opportunities because the demand for gravediggers is through the roof.

Hmm. That’s kind of appropriate imagery for Christchurch’s future thank to Key’s pathetic leadership.

11 comments on “Key clueless on Chch rebuild”

  1. Roger 1

    Another example of what an amateurish bunch of muppets we have running the country. The budget assumed growth of 4% partly because of the Christchurch rebuild. What was conspicuously absent was any sort of plan or budget for actually finding the available people or resources to make sure that this ‘growth opportunity’ is actually taken advantage of.

    And his comment about workers not wanting to leave after a ten year rebuild, perhaps this is could be how you keep Christchurch from becoming a ghost town, so offer to train and relocate the current New Zealand unemployed to Christchurch for the rebuild, the costs wont be too high because it will get them off benefits. If necessary businesses involved in the rebuild could be given a training grant for each new person they take on, this would be less that the previous benefit that person was on. Or the government could not do that because it thinks Auckland doesn’t have enough beggars

  2. Again we keep getting the story that Key and co have failed. No, for them the ‘crisis’ is an ‘opportunity’. ChCh is being ‘corrected’ by the market in free fall allowing a outflow of capital and labour nationally and internationally to maximise the local and international capital’s profits. ChCh willl be ‘rebuilt’ according to these criteria. What happens to workers is incidental however they appear on the books today, or tomorrow. Only workers organising their own solution to take control of their lives as the producers of wealth can counter this doomsday capital scenario.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Building owners will be stupid or brave to rebuild their office blocks with insurance money if they know that half their existing tenants have already gone under or left the city.

  4. vto 4

    Glad you have posted this. I was gobsmacked by Key’s assertion re EQC growth.

    All political leaders have their faults – Clark and Cullen had imo theirs. Key’s on the other hand is of another ilk altogether. Something akin to clowning around and joking way too often, combined with an open and flagrant dishonesty, combined with a personal ambition to become a short-term PM.

    Next thing Key will be suggesting that the graveyard business here is doing a roaring trade.

    It has to be one of the most dishonest and bad taste comments ever by a Prime Minister of New Zealand.

  5. JonL 5

    EQC have gone from a core staff of 23, who could cope quite well, to 120 +, – most of them career seeking public servants who are next to useless at anything except trying to lick the bosses arse and climb the career ladder (short as it is), whilst marginalising those who were there originally and are trying to do what they do best – look after the problems! If they’d been sent people who could actually do the job, well and good, but, what good is a Business Analyst in a place like the EQC, for god’s sake. Apparently the place is full of them, now!
    Another example of trying to be seen to be doing something, whilst actually doing SFA – not confined exclusively to the Nats, either………

  6. Lanthanide 6

    A commenter on said they were at this photo op, and Key’s statement about EQC going from 29 to 1500 was said tongue-in-cheek. I guess the news report is missing the phrase “Key joked”.

    • vto 6.1

      Well I did wonder that. Nonetheless it just confirms one part of my assessment of him, and the last sentence.

      Good joke, I wonder if anyone other than Key laughed (out of humour that is).

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Key thought it was hilarious that the Governor General didn’t look or sound like a New Zealander, so I guess this affairs of state stuff is all a funny haha joke to him.

  7. Well according to Keythink the end of the world would be the ultimate in growth economics, I mean think of all the people who will need to be buried – by those who may survive – just a cheerfull thought!!!!

    Oh by the way did anyone notice that Mr. Key was slightly inebriated the other night?

    I mean if I was in his shoes I would be more than a wee bit pissed!!!!!

  8. Kevyn 8

    You all seem to have missed one of Nats biggest deceptions.

    ““This is a great opportunity for Kiwi investors who want to help fund the Government’s contribution to the multi-billion dollar recovery in Canterbury, while still getting a solid return on their money,” Mr English says.”

    Discretely omits to mention the Kiwibonds are the governments sole contribution to the rebuild. The $8.5bn includes repaying $3bn of EQC premiums borrowed over the years by the government
    Subtract $3bn from the $8.5bn then subtract the $500m to AMI, $181m to fully fund the lifetime costs to ACC, $250m to cover emergency response costs of police, fire, army, navy and CD and the actual amount for the rebuild is…

    The government is merely doing what it is statutorily required to do so its really obscene to be portraying itself as generous.

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