Embattled Christchurch Faces Winter of Discontent

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.

4 thoughts on “Embattled Christchurch Faces Winter of Discontent

  1. It is shocking to read about the inefficiencies of the
    council. Thinking in big picture, what did the professional
    engineers, land surveyors, and other technical specialists have to
    say about this sort of poor processes? Did they just pretend and
    carry on the work for the sake of earning money? It gives the
    tertiary education there a poor image with poor substandards…all
    these professionals would have undergone such ethics classes in
    their course of study…..but it was not put into practice…So
    another muddy water running through the society…just
    pretending… Only the earthquake let off the white smoke!

  2. Did you see Christchurch’s building consents process has issued permits that breach safety codes? It absolutely beggars belief that they can’t get something this simple correct. No wonder Bob is off this ship is sinking, no scratch that it’s already sunk!!

    “The Christchurch City Council has granted building consents that potentially put people and property at risk, International Accreditation New Zealand (Ianz) says.

    Ianz on Monday announced it was revoking the council’s accreditation of its consents function on July 8, prompting a council and Government scramble to ensure consents can continue to be issued in the rebuilding city.

    The council had granted consents that Ianz found ‘‘did not meet the requirements of the Building Code’’, prompting one earthquake widower to label the debacle ‘‘very worrying’’.

    Council officials will meet Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Local Government Minister Chris Tremain in Christchurch today. The most likely outcome is the appointment of a commissioner to run the council’s consents department until accreditation can be regained.” http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/8870227/Permits-breach-safety-codes

    • Thanks Philip, we’ll take a look at this in a future blog. Sounds like a bit of a cock-up?

      Does anyone know how much has already been approved and work commenced?

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