Christchurch rebuild is a ‘corporate-led stranglehold’

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rebuilding-christchurch

I was taken aback by a recent Stuff story expressing hope that 2016 would see central Christchurch finally rise from its earthquake ruins.

It’s deeply disturbing to think that a full five years after the quakes vast swathes of the city centre remain in ruins.

Less than two years after the devastating 1931 Napier earthquake the city held a “New Napier” celebration of their rebuild but it’s impossible to see Christchurch being ready for anything like this for several more years.

Napier was left with just a single city building left unscathed (the Public Trust Office) but the city was rebuilt and most businesses were up and running within two years.

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What’s gone wrong here?

I’ve seen some people blame the slow process of democracy as the holdup in Christchurch – if only!

The previous Christchurch City Council came up with a grand masterplan for the city reconstruction in November 2011 through an extraordinary process of democratic consultation (remember Share an Idea? – all traces now erased from the Council website).

The overall framework should have become the blueprint for a “New Christchurch” but it was scuppered by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) under pressure from the government and corporate business interests.

The government has made it clear it wants a private sector led recovery with government and Council as facilitators. There was to be minimal involvement from what the pedlars of power regard as meddling bureaucrats. We were told that unleashing the much-claimed efficiency of the private sector would see the city transformed more quickly than a central democratic plan could facilitate.

So why is so much of the area within the four avenues still a barren landscape? Why is the city hamstrung by private sector paralysis?

The answer we are now told is a lack of business confidence. We are not talking about small, local businesses here which rolled up their sleeves and got moving with energy and determination as soon as the shocks subsided. With big businesses (often foreign owned) it’s a different story. They and their foreign backers are afraid of the big open spaces and worried that if they start building too soon they won’t make decent returns early enough so each is waiting for the others to act.

Having rejected our democratic plans for the city these nervous nellies are now waiting for us to build their confidence before they will commit to the rebuild.

As a result the government and corporate business interests are putting pressure back on the Council to make decisions to reassure the hand-wringers.

In particular they want the Council and government to commit to building several extravagant anchor projects such as a metro sports facility, convention centre, stadium, cultural centre, performing arts centre etc.

These would be nice to have but they are not priorities for Christchurch citizens. In Napier similar grandiose plans for an entertainment hall, theatres and hotels were abandoned in favour of getting the basics right first.

It’s not surprising the government backs these corporate priorities. They have agreed to “help out” the city by paying for the convention centre but they have backed away from providing as much of the cost of horizontal infrastructure as originally promised. The money the government saves here will likely be transferred to the convention centre while we pick up the hundreds of millions in extra spending needed on sewers and tarseal.

Instead of standing up for Christchurch City priorities and insisting on a people-led recovery our Council simply stumbles on blindly. To pay for the big corporate-comforting projects our elected representatives have approved eye-watering rate increases over the next three years and have begun to sell our assets (euphemistically called “capital-raising” by the mayor) to help pay for them.

The city must also fund the $285 million shortfall from the refusal of private insurers to pay out the insured value of Council properties damaged in the earthquakes.

The corporate sector is taking us for a ride with the not-so-subtle implication that unless the people of Christchurch pay massive rate increases and sell our city assets they will continue to drag their heels on the rebuild.

It’s time for the mayor and Council to stand up for the people of Christchurch and rein in corporate expectations that we citizens will suffer huge financial pain while big businesses avoid the financial risks and get the gains.

Instead of a people-led recovery we are facing a slow, corporate-led stranglehold over the city’s future – bankrolled by the rest of us for many years to come.

Neither the huge rate increases nor the sale of assets are necessary if the Council sticks to working on the priorities for Christchurch citizens. The capital building programme in particular needs to be rescheduled so that rate increases remain at the rate of inflation and we retain our city assets in public hands.

We elected our mayor and Council to stand up for us rather than fall over to a National Party corporate agenda for Christchurch. We deserve much better.

 

(First printed in Christchurch Press 21/1/16)

58 COMMENTS

  1. +100 …Great Post..and I along with many other readers of The Press was extremely disappointed when The Press discontinued John Minto’s regular column. It was always clear concise and did not pull its punches.

  2. John Key says the Christchurch rebuild is the reason for the loans etc , what rebuild? Key is selling assets to pay interest on enormous loans taken out,the main beneficeries of those loans were the wealthy.
    Insurance companies are obviously not paying up despite putting everyones insurance premiums all across the country.
    Christchurch is a corporate stranglehold. the corporates want the benefits of rebuild but not the responsibilies.the people of Christchurch deserve better.

  3. What most people don’t understand, including yourself John, is the amount of underground and hidden infrastructure that had to be rebuild or in some cases entirely replaced after Christchurch earthquake – some of which didn’t even exist when Napier had it’s shake.

    So whilst not a lot of obvious visible changes have occurred, a vast amount of work has happened below the surface.

    I speak as a professional who was actually down there, post earthquake, up to my knees in sewerage, not as a technical illiterate and political activist living in Auckland…

    • I thought you told us you were a “millionaire”? Is splashing around in sewarage a happy distraction or something?!

      By the way, Andrew, your avoidance of the issues John raises indicates you have no answers to his facts.

      • Frank – Where there’s much there’s money! How do you think people get ahead? They WORK.

        As regards the “facts” Jon presents, there aren’t many to answer. As usual he offers no concise alternative approach, but just whines.

        He is entirely wrong about private insurers refusing to pay out. The fact is the Council was grossly under-insured and the insurers have already paid out the sum insured.

        • Andrew – simplistic tripe. People “WORK” where there are jobs. At present, unemplioyment is at 6% – a far cry from the 3.4% in 2007. That’s 151,000 out of work.

          And in case you’re wondering where they come from, here are a few examples;

          January

          Otago University: 20 redundancies
          Cavalier Carpets: 22 redundancies (plus management)
          Norman Ellison Carpets: 20 redundancies

          February

          NZ Post: 400 redundancies
          SRX Global: 28 redundancies
          Mana Transport: unknown number of redundancies
          Fishing Camping Outdoors: unknown number of redundancies

          March

          Harvestpro: 200 redundancies
          Smith and Davis: 120 redundancies

          April

          Sanford: 232 redundancies

          May

          Forman Building Systems: 22 redundancies
          Solid Energy: 113 redundancies & 15 sub-contractors
          Dunedin City Council: 15 redundancies
          Southern District Healthboard: 25 redundancies
          Corrections Dept: 260 redundancies
          Relationship Services: 183 redundancies
          Waihi Mine: 50 redundancies
          Fairfax media: 185 redundancies

          June

          Foodstuffs: 128 redundancies
          Pagemasters: unknown number of redundancies
          Landcare: 11 redundancies

          July

          New Plymouth City Council: 52 redundancies
          Fonterra: 523 redundancies
          Spark (Telecom): 24 redundancies

          August

          DB Breweries: 24 redundancies
          NZ Post: 75 redunancies
          Unitech: 60 redundancies (proposed)
          West Coast District Health Board-Kynnersley Rest Home: 16 redundancies

          September

          Fonterra: 227 redundancies
          AgResearch: 83 redundancies
          TVNZ: 30 (?) redundancies

          October

          Bruce Woollen Mill: 19 redundancies
          Mediaworks/Radio Dunedin: 2 redundancies
          Solid Energy/Huntly Mine: 68 Redundancies
          Spark (Telecom): 22 redundancies
          NZ Steel: 100 redundancies
          Ericsson: 7 – 10 redundancies

          November

          Unitech: 87 redundancies
          Downer: 30 redundancies
          Call Active: 60 redundancies
          Christchurch City Council: 46 redundancies

          Details here: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/2015-ongoing-jobless-tally-2/

          Demanding people get into “WORK” when unemployment is rising shows your lack of understanding and willingness to victim-blame.

          • Comparing Christchurch’s earthquake to Napier’s, especially with respect to the rate of rebuild is quite disingenuous. Napiers earthquake destroyed some 11 city blocks, mostly by fire. There was no question whether buildings should be demolished or not, it was a matter of clearing the rubble. By comparison in Christchurch, 1240 buildings within the 4 avenues were demolished by the beginning of 2015, many of them considerably larger than the buildings in Napier. In Christchurch an estimated 10,000 homes needed to be replaced. The population of Napier at the time was only 16,000 by comparison, and very few houses needed to be rebuilt, with most damage consisting of fallen chimneys. Napier experienced some 560 measurable earthquakes as part of that event. Christchurch experienced 11,000 in the two years to Sept 2012. The two are not comparable.

            • Indeed they are not comparable, SGthree – but not for the reasons you suggest.

              The Napier earthquake and rebuild was done in an era of primitive (by our 21st century standards) communications and very basic construction technology.

              They would have had very little heavy earth-moving equipment.

              And it was done pre EQC – the funding carried out by raising donations New Zealand-wide.

              Few insurance policies covered earthquakes, and many insurers refused to pay for fire damage that resulted from the quake. In 1931 Parliament had passed the Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Act, which provided loans for local companies and individuals to rebuild their premises. Because of the economic depression, however, the funds granted were far from adequate, and repayment terms were harsh. Much of the money for recovery came from charity, which poured in during the weeks after the quake…

              ref: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/historic-earthquakes/page-

              So if anything, the rebuild of a city like Napier in only two years, with the handicaps our grandparents faced, was nothing short of a bloody miracle.

              Mind you, they didn’t have to contend with the so-called “free market” to do their re-building for them.

              See previous blogpost: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/a-tale-of-two-tragedies/

    • so are you trying to tell us Napier doesn’t have sewerage infrastructure? Or are you just another condescending engineer with the communication nous of an Emperor? Re read the article Minto’s criticism’s are entirely valid. the Christchurch rebuild epitomizes the inefficiencies of the corporate led marketplace. It’s a rort from start to finish.

      • Nowhere near as much infrastructure when the Napier quake occurred in 1931. Likely no storm water separation at all, minimal waste water treatment and only above ground electrical reticulation.

          • In Napier, 42 kilometers of sewer and 10k of stormwater drains were reinstated. Christchurch had 528 kilometers of sewers that needed replacing.
            Napier had 5 pumping stations replaced – Christchurch 100.
            Source – Scirt website and a thesis PLANNING NAPIER 1850–1968 https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&ved=0ahUKEwjBx-jUyMTKAhUGKaYKHfxmDxUQFghTMAk&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmro.massey.ac.nz%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F10179%2F3955%2F02_whole.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1&usg=AFQjCNGwrDM03_Pgd69CTO7P0kSBlRnpoQ

            • And Christchurch had 21st century communications; high tech computer-design; heavy lifting machinary; and billions in EQC funding.

              Napier had none of that.

              Not sure why you’re unwilling to recognise the disparity between the two. Being bloody-minded will not prove anything except that you’re good at it.

              • I think you are the one being bloody minded. there is no doubt that the scale of damage in Christchurch was significantly greater than in Napier, and to suggest that it should have been fixed in a time comparable to the time it took to rebuild Napier shows a woeful lack of understanding of the complexities involved. Yes we have cell phones and computers, but we also have much more stringent design controls and regulatory issues not faced by Napier.
                In Napier, 100 buildings were constructed within 16 months of the quake with a total of 168 new buildings in the city that decade . In Christchurch 240 buildings had been built or were under construction within 4 years. If you look at the figures, Christchurch did quite well in comparison.

              • How about you provide some facts showing how 21st century communications and computers can speed up the replacement of drains and other infrastructure 10 fold.

                • Huh? The internet compresses time and space. If you don’t know that then there is not much we can help you with here.

                  Email can be pretty comprehensive now days. Androids even more usable. Most phones have a camera and email function.

                  Wi-fi is the best thing since sliced bread.

                  These things are useful when you have to engineer a bush fix. Customise components. Organise specialised skill sets (joining plastic pipes is deferent from the old joining a male and female concrete pipes, but you would know that wouldn’t captain know it all) finding faults is still the same, pressurise the pipe, high pressure means keep looking.

                • SGThree, are you being wilfully stupid?? Of course 21st century technology gives an advantage. How can you be so thick as to question that??

                  Otherwise, what would be the point of technological advances???

                • Where do you get “tenfold” from?

                  As for an instance of compturisation assisting the infrastructure re-build, I refer you to this;

                  We have now assessed all road damage, which allows us to plan and begin the rebuilding work. Trained engineers completed the assessment work and catalogued the damage.

                  For determining how road levels have changed, we have a large team of locally sourced surveyors recording very accurate positional information. For this, they use very accurate GPS devices.

                  Source: http://strongerchristchurch.govt.nz/work/roads/assessing

                  And,

                  Technical data has been combined to provide a
                  comprehensive graphic database for the city. Access will be
                  granted to all participants to enable shared understanding
                  of existing assets and of current and future work areas.
                  CERA has initiated a forum for the coordination of all
                  network operators, including utility providers and the
                  rebuild team. This forum encourages interaction between
                  work programmes and asset networks across the city to
                  address tactical level issues. (P30)

                  Source: http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/canterburyearthquake/scirt-infrastructure-rebuild-plan_web.pdf

                  Furthermore;

                  A ground-breaking and unusual feature of the planning going into the rebuild of Christchurch’s “invisible” underground infrastructure is the one-stop interactive digital map that SCIRT is using with its partners.

                  It collates all the services and relevant information in one place online. It is an interactive spatial map that is constantly being updated with new data that all parties have agreed to supply.

                  The online interactive map has over 600 logins for the SCIRT team of 300 and its various partner organisations. The system is used to provide a citywide picture of the current condition of all the assets, if they are being assessed and their prioritisation within the overall work programme.

                  Jeremy Gulson from SCIRT partner Sinclair Knight Merz says, “The system is certainly reducing the time needed for decision-making because it presents the results spatially so that project teams can readily see the
                  science behind the decisions. That is, they can see that the design team have taken into consideration all the interdependencies at a city-wide scale.”

                  This approach certainly reduces the cost to find, share and use geospatial information. With a goal to reduce the number of times roads are dug up, construction teams are better able to ensure a “single pass” is planned and delivered. That reduces construction and maintenance costs considerably.

                  Source: http://www.linz.govt.nz/about-linz/our-location-strategy/benefits/geospatial-case-study-stronger-christchurch-infrastructure

                  Now, sunshine, how about you provide sources for all your unsubstantiated claims? Otherwise, you’re a troll with too much time on his hands to spread bullshit.

                  • I am not sure why you have to resort to name calling Frank, but each to their own. The links you have provided to indeed show that the people involved in the Christchurch rebuild did indeed use up to date technology. I am sure that the Napier rebuild also utilised what was then state of the art technology. I can’t provide a source for that and fully expect you to call bullshit on that claim, but hey, I don’t think it is drawing that long a bow. Just as I don’t think it is drawing too long a bow to suggest that, given that virtually the whole of the Napier central city was destroyed by fire, it was a lot easier, and took less time, to just move in and clear the rubble compared to the task of individually assessing all the buildings in the Christchurch central city, determining which ones could stay, and planning the demolition of the others. I would say that was just common sense, but then one mans common sense is just another mans unsubstantiated claim

                    • I am not sure why you have to resort to name calling Frank, but each to their own.

                      Probably because I find it irritating to have unsubstantiated claims made, and then you expect us to take seriously and address “facts” which could be little more than fiction. We have demands on our time and if you can’t provide a reference to facts, then you can’t expect us to take it seriously, with all the rubbish that is posted on the ‘net. If I can provide links to my my facts and researched blogposts, it’s not unreasonable for me to expect a similar courtesy.

                      You may take my “name-calling” as directed at your comments, not you personally.

                    • @SGTWO

                      Bruh. It’s about overcoming gravity. From memory the largest mobile cran in those days was 85 ton. Max speed of 12 ks or something slow like that. We are comparing two different eras. A small one man operation with a 250 loader and dump truck could have cleared all that rubble. To create the same effect with man power you would need to be moving 40-80 tons of wast an hour. The world record for moving dirt is 1 ton in 5 minutes. So unless 1st and 2nd battalion was on hand with shovel. Your arguments are weak, and franks are correct

                    • @Sam
                      I think you are arguing at cross purposes. You appear to be saying that modern technology would have dealt with Napier much quicker than 1931 technology did. How is that in any way relevant to the question as to whether 2011 technology can deal with a disaster in the nature and scale of the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 in comparable time to the time it took to deal with Napier using 1930s technology. How long it would take a modern digger to clear rubble in Napier if you could transport it through time is not really relevant.

                • Hey Andrew, you say you where there during the rebuild. I have a quistion for you.

                  What channel was the emergency call out channel?

                  I await your answer

        • Funny (not as in funny ha ha) you mention electrical reticulation @ Andrew. I well remember the then CEO of whatever the corporatised electricity reticulation ‘authority?’ talking about the need for above ground reticulation. I think it was after he and our dearly beloved Proim Munsta had done a walk-around and photo-op of the devastation. Apparently, we HAD to have above ground reticulation because it “snot rock soynce” – cables underground would stretch and break.

          I thought Christ Almighty – if that’s the level of the CEO’s understanding of what is possible (and what happens elsewhere), it’ll be an eon or two before much is done (taking into account of course the time for a couple of consultants reports; a risk assessment; at least 3 or 4 reports on ‘the way forward’; calling for tenders – all the while with a pre-determined contractor in mind to carry out the work; ………) Bullshit City.
          The guy had an unfortunate appearance of being jiss a bit fik, and I was willing to accept he may have had experience and the acumen in his field. Unfortunately he was just basically a bit fik – but he served our gummint’s agenda very well.

          I’ll try and remember his name now you mention things. I’d put money on his trotting off to some new venture – by which I mean a new crony appointment where we’ll all be expected to bow down to his infinite wisdom and accept his creds – because … well the unquestioning msm-shonkey political machine says we should.

    • We are not all from Auckland, the people of Christchurch are not stupid they see what goes on Andrew ,you may possibly be a contractor, post EQ was ages ago, time enough for your sewer crawling to done and dusted.

      • Yes indeed the sewer crawling is well and truly done now.

        It was noteworthy that whilst us JAFAs were working day and night for the rebuild effort in those early days, there were still many physically fit Cantabrians of working age sitting on the dole and refusing to apply for any of the hundreds of roles available in the rebuild.

        • “there were still many physically fit Cantabrians of working age sitting on the dole and refusing to apply for any of the hundreds of roles available in the rebuild.”

          Troll.
          Not even Thatcher would be that nasty.
          You’ve lost the argument, so run along. No need to make yourself look so pathetic.

            • Are you feeling better Andrew? Your comments the last few days have given me some concerns for your mental health.

              I believe you are referring to the skills shortage that was widely reported. Hope that helps mate.

              And get better soon

            • “It’s simply a fact which was reported at the time.”

              Reference please, or it’s just another one of your lies.

              We all look forward to your ‘factual’ evidence.

              I’ll put $10 on an article from The Chch Press or Whaleoil.

              Pro tip: reports in NZ are not ‘facts’

        • >> Yes indeed the sewer crawling is well and truly done now. <<

          When were you last in the city Andrew? I have visited whānau and friends there every few months since the earthquakes. From what I've seen, there are *still* people using portaloos and chemical toilets because their sewers are *still* not working. I call bullshit on you having anything to do with post-earthquake Ōtautahi, unless you can prove otherwise?

    • “the amount of underground and hidden infrastructure that had to be rebuild or in some cases entirely replaced after Christchurch earthquake – some of which didn’t even exist when Napier had it’s shake”

      No – just another excuse. Yes, the damage to underground infrastructure was major and there has been a lot of work on it, but Minto is talking about the centralised, top-down plan, which is failing. SCIRT has done quite well, especially considering our neoliberal ideology which creates outsourcing upon outsourcing and has made underground repairs incredibly inefficient. The ‘vast amount of work’ underground (as you note) reinforces Minto’s points and makes yours irrelevant. Chch’s problems are the result of politics, not material damage underground. We have the technological capabilities to rebuild far faster than we had in 1931.

      “I speak as a professional who was actually down there, post earthquake, up to my knees in sewerage, not as a technical illiterate and political activist living in Auckland”

      Whip-de-do. You were down a drain in Chch 5 years ago. That gives you zero insight into the everyday realities we are living with in Chch.
      You don’t seem to very aware about the political decisions that have created our human-made disaster.

      Also, for what it’s worth, Minto lives in Chch, not Auckland.

  4. City and district council operate for the benefit of council officers and behind-the-scenes opportunists and rort-operators. The actual needs of ordinary people are always given a low priority or no priority.

    Christchurch is a special case in that it should never have been built where it was (on a swamp), and rebuilding it at the same location is utterly ludicrous because increasingly fast sea level rise will put most of the rebuilt infrastructure under sea water in the not-too-distant-future.

    If there had to be a rebuild of Christchurch it needed to be on much higher, much more stable ground, away from the present location.

    However, that is not the way the rort system -which dominates most aspects of NZ life these days- operates.

    • Afewknowthetruth: These are all good points

      Us Aucklanders who were seconded down there certainly raised our eyebrows at the way Christchurch and Canterbury is run. It seems to be an ‘old boys club’ run for a select few families whose offspring attend certain schools. It is a democracy though, so it’s up to the inhabitants to vote in a new breed of politicians that don’t run it like a medieval fiefdom.

      As well as being on a swamp, a large part of Christchurch is only a metre or two above sea level and therefore exposed to tsunami risk. Maybe I’ll be down that way un the future to rebuild it for the next natural disaster!

      • Your just coming across as unhinged now.

        I was wondering if you have heard of the following?

        – working at heights
        – confine space
        – mbg
        – Finnish this sentence: certified builders ……………….
        – name one suburb marked red

        I question if you where there or not.

  5. When the earthquakes struck and the damage was caused, I calculated that it would take 40 years to get Christchurch fully back to what it was pre-earthquakes.

    I can see now I was wrong.

    It’s going to take even longer if ever.

    Mayor Dalziel has never stood firm (nor up to) anything in her life. It is a very forlorn hope to expect some leadership from her and her council forever locked in the illusion that neo-liberalism still holds all the answers to our woes.

    The grand Fire Sale (earthquakes sale?) of our revenue gathering assets simply cuts off earnings from us all and makes the rebuild even more laggardly.

    The ‘efficiency’ of the private sector is a myth and a calumny; ask anyone who uses phone, power, public transport, public health et al.

    I will be long dead and buried in the rubble of this city before it is anywhere near the city I arrived in in 1972.

    Yet another albatross around Brownlee’s large red neck…

  6. The inner city is an on going mess. We lost that battle long ago. Many of us too exhausted with the 5+ year battle to get our own lives, homes, finances back on track to care very much what they did to the city centre. They locked us out and demolished it years ago… let them have it but also let them pay for it.

    I think, for me, the most telling point was when I was (taking a break from the mess of my post earthquake life) in Hamilton in 2012 and I watched the release of the “100 day plan” on TV. It was a typical miserable, sleety, CHCH winter night. Inside the great and good were chortling and smirking over their glorious plan all warm and safe. Outside were residents protesting in the cold and wet over the insurance, EQC debacle which was taking their lives apart…. and so it went on, and on, and still goes on.

    But there is something that is more important to the future of the city and a battle we really can’t lose. The future of the Red Zone. Will it be the Avon Otakaro park? A city to sea green corridor along the river, restored wetlands, mahinga Kai, sports areas for ordinary people, river walks, urban fruit gardens, flood water storage areas etc, taking us all the way to the seaside suburb of Brighton.

    This is my dream and the dream of so many others. To realise this I would accept some asset sales and I’d feel the burden of rates increase might well be justified.

    http://www.avonotakaronetwork.co.nz/

  7. Excellent piece John. Thanks for putting it up on TDB, keeping the issue out there. After all these years, it’s a total disgrace.

    Seems the so called “rebuild” is more to suit the wallets of Brownlee, FJK and their corporate construction company cronies, including the obscenely overpaid CERA team, than the victims of the Christchurch earthquakes! In true NatzKEY style, it’s a game to be played for personal gain and the longer it can be stretched out the better for them all. More profit to be made that way!

    The bottom line for these cretins, even after several disasters, is profit! No profit to be seen in the immediate future, then it’s a case of bugger the Cantabrians still waiting!

  8. At the 2014 election, some 4 years after the first earthquake and with glacial progress on the rebuild the good people of Christchurch voted National in droves. That said to me they are more than happy with the malaise and the general lack of direction that is the rebuild and will tolerate it for however long National want to piss about!

    • Yes they did indeed Xray and I’m totally baffled by it. Considering how far up the backsides of banking the tories are and that the delays and stagnation are purely the result of international banks.

      I guess it’s the same reason the nation returned the tories last time in a general election and most likely will next time.

      Christchurch doesn’t have the monopoly on middle class idiocracy…

    • Yes, National was re-elected in 2014, but that was a lot to do with the demographic changes that happened very swiftly after the EQ.

      Despite our media’s reports, the middle class and property owners were more likely to stay in Chch, and the poor and marginalised were more likely to leave. Our media of course ignored the plight of the marginalised and those likely to vote National were the ‘undeserving victims’ who remain in the news today.

      Chch experienced politically what most larger cities have experienced over the past 20 years – a shift to the political right.

      Also, those moving to the city often came in for higher paying work and were more than happy with the disaster-capitalist orgy led by Brownlee.

      And let’s not forget Labour offered us nothing much. The Kiwi Insure was a dud and Labour gave power to Brownlee (Chch is like NZ and sees NZ politics as a two horse race, even though we have MMP).

      Many Chch residents were broken and many even thought National’s 100 Day Plan would eventuate.

      There are many factors the led to National taking most of Chch in 2014 – and like most cities Chch will remain right-wing for a while.

  9. “What’s gone wrong here?”

    – Initially – the Brownlee scorched Earth policy of leveling everything (as opposed to say demolishing to a safe height, then allowing things to grow organically from there.
    – Then the corporatist approach to everything – starting with insurance companies and then our corporatised gubbamint (central and local) – complete with the cronyism and bullshit artists earning big money for doing sweat fuck all.
    – Risk managed approach to all (Funny how the private sector are supposed to take risks and embrace change – their “change agents” supposedly – yet they’re amongst the most risk averse there is)

    And for those above that claim it is disingenuous to compare ChCh with Napier – its also disingenuous not to recognise that we’re more than half a century on from Napier – with better technology, better tools and what should be a much faster means of reconstruction.

    I’m still at a loss to understand why there could not have been the OPTION of simple land swaps in certain areas (i.e. whereby the insurance would cover the cost of ‘improvements’ only, and either local or central government did a straight swap of suitable land for fucked land) – NOTE – I say the OPTION.
    Let’s face it, the insurance industry have proven themselves to be utterly incompetent – aided and abetted by the government they lobby

  10. Oh Jesus! I just noticed the picture accompanying this piece!
    Looking busy and looking concerned – albeit from a position of extreme comfort, and no doubt from a position from where there’s going to be an earn with this ‘rebuild’ (going forward).
    Quite obviously, it’s in this gummint’s (it’s members) interests to milk it for all its worth (going forward)
    I’m not sure an alternative gummint (presumably under a majority of Labour) will be up for investigating the various scams – they’ll have to get past the Mathew Hooten style chants of ‘witch hunt’ first of all.
    I’d be up; for watching them squeal like stuffed pigs when an outcome showed cronyism, conflicts of interest, monetary gain, lobbying, an independent analysis of the various reports the Tzar Brownlee acted on (going forward); etc.
    I’d worship the ground a government trod on if they had the balls to hold them to account, but that’ll be way past my getting death

  11. Christchurch suffered from two disasters – one was the earthquakes and the other having this government in power when they happened.

    The Greens had the best idea – a small tax on all New Zealanders for a limited period of time.

    One of the big differences between Napier and Christchurch is that it would have been unthinkable in New Zealand in the 1930s to expect Hastings and Napier councils to pay for half of their rebuilds. It was automatically understood that government should pay.

  12. It became apparent quite soon after the rebuild got underway, that National didn’t just want rebuilding, they wanted complete system overhaul. It was just what they had been waiting for – to create a system of a metropolitan city run by corporate business with the local government essentially relegated to ticking the required boxes.
    Because a large portion of the city was in a shambles it was easy to disguise it as a benevolent government “being there for the people” as John Key told them.
    This was National’s great opportunity to break up the great Labour voting blocs of southern and eastern Christchurch, something they have always wanted to do.
    National was always going to interested foremost in how the great corporations could control things, that is why they left ordinary homeowners to try and sort out insurance problems themselves while they were busy dreaming up and designing new shopping malls and sports stadiums.

  13. After the earthquakes Civil Defence took over our infrastructure, including our public transport. They passed on control of our public transport to CERA… who 5 years later still have it and I believe profit from it. I heard in Chambers that our council have been asking for control back and that new bus routes are demanded by the people of the city but CERA are ‘too busy’ to address these issues… but yet they keep the public transport.

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