Labour’s first 100 days vital for kick-starting the Canterbury recovery

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The wheels have fallen off the Canterbury recovery.

Housing, the central city and EQC in particular have been abysmal failures.

There is a cacophony of voices speaking out against the National Government’s slow and mismanaged recovery.  The blueprint is in tatters, the cost share agreement is looking increasingly wobbly, the central city is bleak, insurance is an ongoing saga, many in the community are at breaking point, and the Government is only tinkering around the edges of the housing crisis.

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The earthquakes may have created the challenge, but the National Government has failed to step up to the challenge.

The Labour-led Government’s first 100 days in office must kick-start the Canterbury recovery and focus on building a faster and fairer recovery.  We must give people hope that a better future is possible.

The top priorities must be solving the housing crisis, building a trusting partnership with the Christchurch City Council to move the central city Blueprint forward with buy-in from the community, and sorting out the ECQ and insurance mess.

Kiwibuild must be kicked off in the first 100 days.  Canterbury will be a priority for Kiwibuild with 10,000 affordable homes built in Canterbury over the next four years.   Plus, we need to urgently address social and emergency housing for earthquake and flood affected residents.  Labour’s apprenticeship policy (turning the dole into apprenticeships) must also be fast-tracked to ensure we have the skilled people necessary for the rebuild and to give young people a future.

A number of these new homes must be built in the central city.  Anchor projects alone will not revive the central city – the focus must be on building affordable homes and encouraging more people to live in the central city (the topic of a public meeting I ran with Phil Twyford a few weeks back). We need integrated planning to build communities – affordable housing, mixed use, planning for schools, early childhood centres, community gardens, affordable and efficient transport, etc.

The new Labour-led Government must immediately build a trusting relationship with the local Councils and re-orientate the recovery as a partnership.  The central city Blueprint, anchor projects, and cost-share agreement need to be looked at with fresh eyes and an enduring consensus developed so that things can move forward with urgency.  The rebuild should not be a battle between the Councils and the Government.

And legislation should be passed in the first 100 days to set up KiwiAssure, deal with insurance companies and set up a high-level inquiry into ECQ and insurance.

Labour will be announcing specific policy in these areas (and more) over the coming months.

Never has an election (and the first 100 days of a new Government) been more important for the future of a city and its people than 20th September 2014.

9 COMMENTS

  1. After three years the best that the Nats can come up with is Bennett’s plan to pay unemployed $3,000 to relocate to Christchurch to find work.

    The only problem is;

    1. There is no guaranteed work, as Select Recruitment managing director Karen Bardwell has stated “the rebuild had yet to kick into high gear and the demand for low to medium skilled workers simply wasn’t there”.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/243602/agency-questions-jobless-incentive

    2. There is a critical housing shortage with astronomical rents being demanded/paid. Where will 1,000 workers find a place to live? Bennett doesn’t say.

    3. The $3,000 grant is predicated on;

    3A. The job being for 30 hours per week or more,

    3B. The job lasting 91 days or more

    http://beehive.govt.nz/release/budget-2014-%E2%80%983k-christchurch%E2%80%99-help-job-seekers

    Item 3A and 3B are the fish-hooks. If an employer decides to cut back a worker’s hours or, initiates the 90 Trial Period law – the workers has to repay the $3,000.

    The implications of this are obvious.

    Not only is a worker in a precarious position to keep his/her job – but has a potential $3,000 debt hanging over their head.

    The potential for abuse by manipulative, exploitative employers is obvious.

    The risk is all on the unemployed, and very few people would be willing to put themselves into such a vulnerable situation.

    Pity. It was the ‘germ’ of a fairly good idea. But as usual, National hasn’t thought it through.

    Or was it designed to fail by making it so unattractive that no one in their right mind would take it up, and Bennett could once again bang on about “lazy benes”?

    It wouldn’t be the first time.

    • 135 days to the election,
      By the time stand-down time for the benefit, and the 90 day trial period is finished, it will be past election time.
      We all see that this is a smokescreen to divert attention from the facts that:
      1. National wants Christchurch to sell its assets (presumably to mum-and-dad Christchurch ratepayers) or cronies in NZ or China.
      2. National wants to divert attention away from the fact that it wants big-ticket-spending items firmly on the agenda to facilitate #1. above
      3. Insurance companies were paid out by their underwriters within 2 days of the earthquakes and are holding onto the money or have invested in shares and long-term bonds. see 4. below
      4. National have allowed insurance companies to delay, prevaricate, change the rules, and basically shaft just about every Cantab who has paid insurance.
      5. EQC is almost insolvent. It has spent most of its money fixing up Avonhead, Bryndwyr, Fendalton and other wealthy suburbs’s hairline cracks with full refit, repaint, rewallpaper payouts. Now there’s nothing left for real fixes in poorer less Tory-voting suburbs like the East. See #4 above
      6. National is a disgrace and couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery. They have grabbed democracy and turned it into a boys’ club dictatorship and when the shit hits the fan, looks around for somoeone to blame or sack. When it doesn’t get what it wants, it prevaricates more by calling for another report.
      7. National thought they could get away with calling the Flockton flood a 1 in 100 year flood, except it happened 3 times in 6 weeks. So they blame the council for not doing anything about it, even though it was clearly earthquake damage see 6. above.
      8 . Part of the shortfall in Council Funds is $700 million NOT PAID by inurance companies to the council se #3. and #1 above.

      All in all it is a National disgrace in Christchurch. We have waited over 3 and a half years, 135 days isn’t too long to get rid of National and let Labour deal to it.

  2. Lets get honest about this… the wheels were never on.. the people of Christchurch have to shoulder some of the blame for this as it was them that re elected a failed game show host as the MAYOR. TO HIM IT WAS MORE ABOUT AIR TIME ON TV THAN ANYTHING ELSE AND IT WORKED HE GOT HIS GONG.. A GOOD PLAY OF MONEY OR THE BAG

    • Sure, Parker sucked, but do you think things would have been much different under Anderton? It would have been slightly better, but not much – everything would have revolved around that stupid cathedral (Which no local under 40 gives a shit about).
      Brownlee was given executive powers by Labour MPs so our mayor was pretty much ineffective. People in Chch have been fighting King Gerry, but the people hold no power.
      Also you should check out Naomi Klein’s ‘Shock Doctrine’ if you want to understand how politicians and the wealthy become powerful after a disaster.

  3. Social housing is needed, and its fine for it to run at an economic loss.
    ‘Affordable housing’ offers those in need nothing – if ‘affordable housing’ is the answer then it’s not worth doing anything.

    It’s time for Labour to view housing through a humanistic lens again. Seeing a house as a commodity has failed us.
    The earthquake may have created problems, but only to a degree. What is more worrying is that the earthquake highlighted the failure of our system, and the response seems to be more of the same

    • The market will provide housing for “social purposes”
      It’s no business of politicians or councils to provide housing for people. If they don’t like it they can move somewhere where there are houses and buy them.
      At the last Cabinet Club I attended, we talked about getting rid of state houses in Auckland’s North Shore that are sitting on 1/4 acre sections and building apartments on them.
      Apartments will be able to house more people than a 3 bedroom house on a 1/4 acre.
      Christchurch should do the same, apparently there are a lot of state houses down there that can be knocked down, or sold and 3 storey apartments put on the sites.
      What’s wrong with that solution for social housing?

      • LOL…housing as a commodity? You act as if our housing as investment obsession has always existed. It’s a relatively new concept. The value of housing has created economic stagnation, and we will soon have the inevitable stagflation.

        People who buy many houses are the ultimate leeches in our society – I’d put them on the same level as meth dealers, except people don’t need meth the way they need housing.
        If so called business people want to make money and think they’re good at it, then why not do it with a product that is not limited?

  4. They should have relocated CHCH rather than trying to rebuild a fallen city on shifting sands – it will just fall over again.

    The whole thing is foolhardy.

    Look at the new settlement that a private investor has established near the Pegasus Bay turnoff. His action, and the new property owners, and tenants, are now settled nicely in their brand new homes. There are shops, and a man made lake, a school, and a golf course, and a new community rising.
    People who survived the quake were given an opportunity here, by this action of the property developer (I have no idea who this is) to move on, and get going again.

    The place looks good, and nice, and safe.

    I wouldn’t like to live there – but I wouldn’t live in CHCH either.

    Opinion.

  5. Apparently thieves broke into Mr Brownlee’s offices in Christchurch and stole all his books.
    “I’m very annoyed,” he told reporters, “because I haven’t finished colouring them in yet”
    One was called “A Laisser faire Capitalism diet”, another “Let them eat cake” and yet another on the asset register was “The Trickle down solution”.
    “I thought they were cooking and diet books,” he told police, ” and once I had bought them, I didn’t have the heart to throw them away. They would have come in handy after National and ACT and Conservatives win the next election.”
    “What about Peter Dunne?” asked Paddy Gower
    “Toast!” replied Mr Brownlee with a Muldoon-like grin.

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