Canterbury’s future to be democratic



Last week David Cunliffe outlined the final major plank of our Canterbury specific policy – Kick-starting the Canterbury Rebuild.

Labour announced that we would return decision-making to local organisations by immediately beginning to wind down CERA and cancelling its extraordinary powers.

The significance was lost on many, because many people assumed that what Labour announced was existing policy.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Roger Sutton and Gerry Brownlee have both been talking about a “progression plan” for CERA rather than a “transition plan”.  An interesting use of language that tells us a lot!  And they have made it clear that while the emergency powers of CERA may expire in 2016, that CERA will continue as a Government department overseeing the rebuild.

Labour’s plan is radically different.  A Labour Government will wind CERA down, with a view that it will no longer exist in 2016.  It’s current roles and responsibilities will instead be transferred to democratic local organisations – CDHB, Councils, ECan – with Government playing a support role.

Alongside that Labour announced an immediate return of democratic elections for ECan, probably in early 2015.

Equally significant was Labour’s announced that it would look at the cost-share agreement with fresh eyes and work in partnership with the Christchurch City Council to find solutions to the financial crisis created by the cost-sharing arrangement imposed by the current government on the previous council.

We said we wouldn’t prejudge the outcome of those discussions – but obviously that means the various cost-share projects could be delayed, cancelled or scaled back.  This is very significant, because it could release the Council from its binding cost-share agreement and help dig the Council (and therefore the ratepayer) out of a massive financial hole.

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Combined these policies represent a significant difference from the National Government, and a significant democratization of the Canterbury rebuild.  Under Labour – it will be the people of Canterbury and the people they elect, who will be in charge of the rebuild.  Not bureaucrats in Wellington. Not politicians in Wellington.  And not Gerry Bownlee.   Hallelujah!


  1. You know I once e-mailed the self-proclaimed world bastion of freedom and political rights and suggested that these people look closely at what National had done in Canterbury and perhaps revisit the glowing rating they had given to democracy in New Zealand. These incorruptible types didn’t even bother to acknowledge receipt of my message, let alone reply to it. Abolishing a council because they refused to cave in to demands to allow their land to be environmentally plundered is in my mind a huge corruption in democracy. This sort of thing happens regularly in China, South American countries and in banana republics. It also happens here but our democratic watchdogs (aka the MSM) don’t want to know about it because it is done by their bosom buddies the National Party. Oh dear! How Sad! Never Mind! next story please!

    • The word ‘freedom’ is now a meaningless term. It’s become a buzzword used to normalise democracy and capitalism. If you see someone using the term ‘freedom’ they are usually using it to defend global corporatised capitalism, and parliamentary democracy.
      Those freedom rankings that pop up in our shitty newspapers every few months measure freedom in terms of economic liberalism. Same goes with corruption…freedom and corruption are measured based on the assumption that capitalism is natural and Stalinism is the only other option to parliamentary democracy.
      A website like would probably look at Chch’s disaster capitalism and say that the only negative was that National gave too much assistance early on…the WINZ grants that were available for the first 10 weeks created a culture of dependency.

  2. Please excuse my ignorance BUT what happened to all the insurance payouts for the council? Has this money been sucked into the void of “managers” pay packets?

    I know there’s a lot else going on with Nationals fascist regime inflicting their will on the people of Christchurch – it seems someone’s getting rich through inaction!

    • The3 insurance hasn’t been paid out to the city council yet they are still battling the re-insurance agents.

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