Christchurch Rebuild: Govt Prioritised Investors over Locals, Residents were Collateral Damage

Slow paced rebuild, residents were collateral damage, and the government spun good news stories to attract investors.

“Cantabrians became “collateral damage” post-earthquake as the Government focused on telling positive stories to attract investors, an academic has said.

Victoria University of Wellington architecture head of school Morten Gjerde wrote a research paper on Government communication after the Canterbury earthquakes for an international conference in China last year.

He said in the paper that the Government was “more eager to tell positive stories about recovery to national and international audiences that they have been to keep residents informed”.

“It would be fair to say that local residents have been collateral damage so far during this recovery as leaders have sought to curry favour with local and international investors in order to help drive it,” the paper said…

Government spun  positive stories, rebuild favoured the wealthy

City councillor Deon Swiggs, who started the Rebuild Christchurch website after the earthquakes to help people access information, agreed with the research findings.

He said CERA had not communicated enough information to residents, and had tried to only tell the positive stories.

“People lost trust very early on with Government in terms of what they were being told.”

Dr Gjerde’s paper also criticised the slow pace of the rebuild, and said it had been skewed in favour of those who were wealthy.

“Those living on the city’s more affluent western suburbs were affected initially by the quakes far less than those living to the east. Since then, money and other resources have flowed much more freely in the west which has seen these areas return quickly to pre-earthquake conditions, whereas those living in the poorer central and eastern suburbs continue to battle toward recovery with far fewer resources to call upon,” he said.

Dr Gjerde said his conclusions were based on Christchurch research findings, and comparisons with disaster recovery processes in other countries.

He hoped the paper, which was called Building Back Better, could be used to improve future disaster response processes, he said.”

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3 thoughts on “Christchurch Rebuild: Govt Prioritised Investors over Locals, Residents were Collateral Damage

  1. New government, new hope? Time to unscrew some of the screwed-upness. Honestly, as a young country that could have learnt so much from others’ mistakes, NZ really could and should, be the best place in the world, but it’s a long way off right now.

  2. Gerry Brownlee is the cause of so much sadness in Canterbury. The mental health of insurance claimants waiting to resolve their insurance claims with EQC and the questionable conduct still ensuing with these rogue Australian insurers operating in NZ.
    Why was this debacle allowed to happen and continue without any recourse. Why have so many Cantabrians suffered while Brownlee knew exactly what was going on without taking action to remedy the situation. The arrogance of Brownlee is unbelievable. We have been out of our house coming up to seventh EQ anniversary. I sincerely hope there will be a Royal Commission and find out what has gone on during the past 7 years and prosecute those responsible.
    Regulatory mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure this will never happen again.
    It is undoubted businesses have had their hands in the honey jar with a degree of corruption has continued.
    Now there has been a change of government I expect to see improvement and help the folks in Christchurch to seek better outcomes.
    Shame on you Brownlee!

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