Christchurch could be called the unluckiest place in New Zealand.
Over the last two years the small city has been wrecked by thousands of earthquakes and aftershocks, it has had ongoing problems with damaged sanitation, householders are still struggling to get insurance payouts to repair their homes (only 50% have been repaired) the government is closing schools and thousands of people have left taking their money with them. More recently it was hit by a massive Antarctic storm.
Winter of discontent
The latest calamaity to befall its long suffering residents was another damaging storm last night. According to a report in the NZ Herald
Thousands of Christchurch homes are without power and properties have had their roofs blown off following a massive overnight storm.
Police Southern communications manager Mark Booth said roads around Canterbury had also been blocked by trees which came down in the storm.
“The guys are out doing a good job clearing them.”
Power outages were still widespread across the region, he said.
Not surprising residents are not coping well with the stress of it all. The city’s mayor – Australian media personality Bob Parker- has decided enough is enough. He is calling it quits and leaving.
The Herald reports
Troubled Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has pulled out of the upcoming mayoral race.
Mr Parker last night said he didn’t have another three years of “cope-ability” of the stress and pressure left in him.
“It’s really, really hard work. I love the organisation that I work in and for and I’m incredibly proud of this city. I’m incredibly proud of the people who I work alongside and they have had a pounding,” he said.
Mr Parker said the community was questioning recent happenings at the council and as the leader on the governance side, he had a responsibility to ask himself if he had done everything he could.
“I have to face up to that responsibility,” he told TV3’s John Campbell…
And who can blame him. It has been an amazingly difficult task for him. Not only has he had to guide his city through a series of unfortunate events he has also battled against a government that has procrastinated, removed the democratic process and meddled deleteriously in the city’s rebuild.
Some say the government has dragged its feet to draw out the payment of EQC compensation, fearing it may bankrupt the country. Prolonging the process to take 10 years or more is supposed to provided a much needed stimulus to the economy but all it appears to be doing is pushing up property prices, excluding young people and low wage earners from the market.
It shall be interesting to see what direction the city takes under the leadership of a new mayor. Indications are that there will be more strife and turmoil ahead.