This isn’t what Christchurch needs

Christchurch needs a council and staff who are focussed on helping people and businesses get back to normal as quickly as possible and systems which enable that to happen.

Instead you have a man with a really good idea to get a business up and running after the earthquake. Then he met the bureaucracy and months later is still jumping hurdles.

You need to read all three posts to appreciate just how difficult making progress has been, and still is, but here’s a taste:

Me: “You need to understand, it’s just a bus and a couple of portable buildings.”

Council employee: “It’s not a bus, it’s a building.”

“Trust me, it’s a bus. It has a warrant and registration.”

“That might be the case, but it’s a building.”

“No, it’s definitely a bus.”

“It doesn’t matter what you think. To us it’s a building.”

“Do you want me to come and pick you up in the building. We can drive around town in the building and see if we can’t resolve this.”

“Don’t be smart with me…”

Half way through our conversation I realised I was getting some use from my useless university education. As far as I can tell this argument could be framed using Aristotle’s ideas of Matter and Form. What is it about a bus that gives it it’s “busness”? Does a bus become a building if it plays the role of a building? If you sit on a table does it become a chair?

I thought “this is interesting, it could be a fun debate”, but I suspect someone who went from a boring degree to a boring job might not have had the inclination to study Greek philosophy. So I told him people like him were killing the city and hung up.

Is it any wonder Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is losing patience with the mayor?

Brownlee said he was “sick and tired of the scrapping” between city councillors, which was sparked by a controversial pay rise for chief executive Tony Marryatt.

Brownlee said the Government was spending $5.5 billion, as a minimum, on Christchurch and that he was working hard for the city while city councillors continued their infighting.

“Dealing with this negative, going-nowhere stuff, I am at the end of my tether and frankly it’s not surprising that the ratepayers are either,” he said.

Negative is not what the city and its people need.

Hat Tip: Credo Quia Absurdum Est.

6 Responses to This isn’t what Christchurch needs

  1. pdm says:

    I haven’t read all of the links yet, will do so later, but from what I see negative is not the right word in this case – obstructive fits better.


  2. robertguyton says:

    Brownlee is losing his cool. Winston Peters has inserted himself right under Gerry’s skin and will irritate the hell out of him for the next three years. Brownlee will be cursing the tea-pot tapes, Key and Banks. Calling Parker a clown hardly sounds Ministerial, does it? Nick Smith has made provision for the CCC to get back on track, with an ‘observer’ sitting in to help the process, and Brownlee’s comments challenge Smith’s decision. It’s all about authoritarians beating their chests, inflating their cheeks and presenting their crimson rumps to each other.


  3. Meg says:

    Welcome to the world of planning, where in order to make life easier when writing the plan things become other things, but in a practical sense often the plan falls short of what is required. Planning has become restrictive rather than enabling. You’re right, this roadblocking and attitude from council staff is definitely not what Christchurch needs.


  4. Moist von Lipwig says:

    Unsurprisingly, it does not always need an earthquake to cause council planners to act like this.


  5. JC says:

    “Unsurprisingly, it does not always need an earthquake to cause council planners to act like this.”

    Indeed. But what has stood out for me since Feb 2011 is just how ossified our big local councils have become.. they can handle the normal run of floods and other reasonably common events, but appear totally out of their league when the Big One comes.

    I’m sympathetic to a degree.. its 80 years since we had something like this and officials are just as likely to be in shock for months just like most others. However, Napier recognised this very quickly and appointed a three man commission to run the town for a year or so after their quake. The commission appointed a number of citizen committees and then made swift decisions on recommendations that bypassed the normal channels.



  6. paul scott says:

    So what is the chance here that this Council is unable to change its dogma and eventually Government has its hand forced.
    It is amazing that Council has been this way since the seventies and then the massive Buck and Moore organisation and only now are people are beginning to notice,


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