Council’s callous indifference to East Christchurch

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It was the ninth anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake last week, the first of the two big earthquakes to hit the city, but driving through some parts of East Christchurch you might think the earthquake was last week.

Meanwhile parts of the inner city are looking splendid – hundreds of millions have been poured into public sector projects and infrastructure that look amazing. Private property developers are all but invisible. They are land-banking, refusing to develop until their profits are assured. It doesn’t stop them from endlessly complaining though. The slow development is everyone else’s fault according to these experts at milking the system.

Property developers in the inner city are being given ratepayer handouts of $15,000 per apartment they build and the council has called for a report to see how much more support they can give the likes of Fletcher Building to increase their profits. Rates rebates for people buying these new apartments are being talked about on top of the handouts to developers.

Consider this for a moment: Christchurch City Council has given $8.5 million to developers building in the city centre from 2014 to 2018 (that’s the $15,000 handout for every apartment they build) for expensive apartments in the inner city. But the council refuses to give a single cent to rebuild or refurbish council housing destroyed in the earthquakes or abandoned since then by council refusal to renovate.

Christchurch is now about 500 council rental units short what it had before the earthquakes.

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Just to make sure you understand that: In the middle of a housing crisis the council is pouring money into developers pockets to build expensive apartments but is refusing to put a single dollar towards housing for low-income tenants and families.

This week the local Chamber of Commerce made a big push for the council to sell assets so they could put more money into “maximising the opportunities” of the new, shiny, sexy (white-elephant) half-a-billion-dollar stadium the council has prioritised.

Naturally they didn’t explain how this was a higher priority than the needs of council tenants in uninsulated units who have been advised to put bubble wrap on their windows to keep out the cold.

Naturally the other two main mayoral candidates – Lianne Dalziel and Darrell Park – have been falling over themselves to suck up to business interests with families struggling on low incomes just an inconvenient distraction.

That’s life in neo-liberal Christchurch.

7 COMMENTS

  1. As someone who used to run a business in the New Brighton Mall up until the September earthquakes I feel qualified to agree with @ John Minto. A level of agreement currently running at around 100%.
    There’s a crack pot oligarch of narcissistic money fetishists infesting Christchurch generally and the CCC specifically.
    But that is what they do. Greedy, narcissistic, crack pots surround themselves with other greedy, narcissistic, crack pots and so on goes their greedy, narcissistic, crack pottery. You’ve seen antony goughs suits? Does he look like an old peacock which looks just that little bit too light in its loafers after being struck in the wallet by a Unicorn falling off a rainbow?
    I asked lianne dalziel once where our money was. The money that bradbury here and others love to spend which was generated by our farmers which they love to hate on.
    I said: ” Lianne. As the opposition finance minister can you tell me where our money is? The reason I ask that is because something doesn’t add up. Pardon the pun.
    AO/NZ = huge compared to pairs of feet on the ground at around 4.7 million. ( AO / NZ @ 25 K sq km bigger than UK @ a pop’ of about 60 million. )
    Furthermore, Canterbury is hugely productive. Milk, wool, meats, grains, fruits, wines etc etc… And mostly exported. Canterbury has a population of about 660, 000. Canterbury is the same size as Holland @ around 45 K sq km. Holland has a population of 17 million people. So, Lianne. It does beg the question? Where’s our money then?”
    She looked down at her feet and said “ I dunno.”
    ( Huge amounts of un-taxed cash will be washing around in some Pacific Island country like the Cooks, is that not correct winnie? )
    People in New Brighton and the Eastern Suburbs get ZERO attention because they mean nothing financially to the greedy, narcissistic, crack pot small town oligarchs. And they mean even less to them as human beings.
    When the apparent lunacy that was de-pedestrianising of the New Brighton Mall was completed and antony gough and his little mate mark munro were prancing about at the Grand Opening, I asked gough; So? Since this road makes no sense? How much are you guys going to make out of it?” Gough’s wattles took on an alarming shade of crimson as he strode over and shouted in my face “ You’re just being negative! “
    Several weeks later I read in the Ch Ch Press that gough’s team of consultants were paid $100,000 by the CCC to evaluate changing recession plane laws etc to, no doubt, enable gough and munro to plan to build high rise apartment buildings along Marine Parade.
    One can only assume that the disastrous road through what was once a thriving seaside Mall was to set a precedence for under ground car parking for the mooted apartment buildings.
    So fuck you poor people!
    I’m therefore reminded of this by Chris Hedges.
    (Another ‘loser Pulitzer prize winning journalist and no doubt henchman to the Left’ . John Key when describing Glen Greenwald.)
    “Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in “happiness” have formulated something they call the “Law of Attraction.” It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalised this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.”
    ― Chris Hedges
    P.S. Re the post quake re-buildings? I think 90% of them are fucking ugly and look cheap and nasty.

  2. You wonder how some of these idiots can sleep at night. I hope you can rally a good number of the people affected to vote. We could sure do with more mayors that dont suck up to business. For them the best thing about the earthquake will be the opportunity to make out like bandits by selling assets. Nothing like a good earthquake to persuade politicians to further privatise the public domain. Not only can they get the council to spend the proceeds on them but they get to snap up a few monopoly assets as well. Cant beat a good monopoly asset for a guaranteed income stream.

  3. It is a valid argument that not enough has been done in the East but this is a historical situation and Brighton has been ignored for years. I do not understand why as if Brighton was in any other city in the World it would be treated as an asset. Im am sure Minto’s obvious distaste for developers would not help Chch advance and grow. His left leaning mind set sounds good on the hustings but is not so great when put in action . We can see this Nationally with the Greens and their lack of traction . Chch needs a new broom with a business head to get traction in all areas including the East

  4. East Christchurch typifies what’s happened to small town and poor communities for decades. The wealthy skew everything to their own benefit and the poor and marginalised go to the back of the queue, and are ignored or vilified. (Paula the bene basher, Metiria Turei, the racist “dole bludger” cartoons that infest the ODT)

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