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Speaker: 11 ways the Opposition has failed Christchurch

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  • James Littlewood*,

    Exactly. It was in these pages a couple of years back that Emma Hart urged the Labour Party to get this right:

    I would love it if at least one of the candidates you chose, for Central or East, actually was one of us: the exhausted scary fucked-off mothers of Christchurch.

    I don't know if it's because the detail's

    too boring

    or whether it's because the National Government has such a voracious appetite for screwing things up, that the opposition can't keep up.

    Elsewhere, the only articulate response to the TPPA is coming from outside Parliament.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac,

    I think that when problems are huge then it is harder and harder to get exposure and the people will instead respond to Rugby greats or the colour of the flag. Any one of the well written items on Barnaby's list would be worthy of deadly serious concern/action. But where would you start? Being totally sympathetic to the Christchurch plight is not enough. My blood boils when Alf's circumstances are aired. Remember that John Campbell aired so many of the Christchurch concerns including that of Alf's story. And now John is blocked. Who will speak effectively against the injustice?

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    The opinion on how things were going that mattered was this one;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10524525/Election-2014-Canterbury-decides

    And that vote of confidence was preceded by this one;

    http://www.thepoliticalscientist.org/christchurch-and-the-election/

    I'm totally with you - from afar as an observer, I would agree that the totalitarian treatment of Christchurch at the hands of this Government has been deplorable. Even worse, as you point out, they've colluded with the insurance industry regarding delays, and Gerry has proven to be a total ignoramus at the best of times.

    But, election wise, it seems a majority of those suffering the effects of this regime in Christchurch are in support of the incumbents.

    Didn't the 2014 Labour Party election manifesto have much better policies (for example a special insurance court system) - and still got trounced? What's an Opposition to do when the citizenry vote against them?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    The failure at all levels is encapsulated in the way that the people/entities who have rebuilt and repaired houses have failed to do a proper job. The leaky buildings attitude. If the people at the coalface are not prepared to behave and work to the highest level it is really no surprise that those 'above' them have a similar cavalier attitude. We as a nation really need to examine ourselves and our individual morality at the same time that we, hopefully, hold our elected and paid representatives to account. There are no excuses, simple pride in one's own existence should easily preclude this sort of behaviour across the board.

    The flag 'debate' indeed encapsulated the trivial and self interested nature of so much NZ life.

    Too negative? How's the Pike River remedial actions going?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Thanks Barnaby. You've encapsulated so much frustration and sadness.

    Didn't the 2014 Labour Party election manifesto have much better policies (for example a special insurance court system) - and still got trounced? What's an Opposition to do when the citizenry vote against them?

    Work harder? As stated, what we haven't seen is repeated hard determined questioning of the minister. All of these things should have been brought up again and again in the house. Media pick up on it, they become part of the story.
    Then maybe we'd get a thorough debunking of the myth 'the rest of NZ' are paying heavily for Christchurch.
    Maybe we'd get some scrutiny of the obscene slug-like convention centre Brownlee wants to be the heart of Chch. A business plan might even emerge.
    Maybe the micro-managing decisions and the CCDU would be under the spotlight?
    One of the strangest things in NZ politics over the last five years is the way National have maintained the reputation of being 'good managers' - despite most of their initiatives being moderate to massive flops.
    Scarily, it's just possible the opposition would do worse :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Markham,

    The message behind the messages assembled by Barnaby Bennett is that the actions and decisions (including not to act) of the government, its servant agencies, the opposition, the insurance market, and various individual friends of these actors placed in positions of public responsibility, have each and together variously failed at the highest governance levels in New Zealand over Christchurch's recovery. Notice though that neither Barnaby nor I list the CCC as that institution has faced intractable difficulties in responding and acting, in the face of the situations and the government's approaches. The keenest need as hinted is to capture and expose the learnings from these various failings, from a community-centred reality. These events will recur, and the worst result is to ignore or take no action about the governance needs in the next disaster response and recovery attempts. The truth about New Zealand's physical and social future is likely to be way grimmer than Christchurch, even over human generational learning cycles; hazard risks will roll over the country both of climate and earth process origins, as they have done forever in the past, but with threats to our integrity as a civil and viable society simply because we inhabit the wee land. The learned literature uses community [or national] resilience as the idea for getting through, but to activate this social survival quality, requires learning from past mistakes. This posting by Bennett is a huge start. A wider transmission and reception of this social reflection is paramount.

    Richmond NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Scarily, it's just possible the opposition would do worse :(

    Well therein lie the problem.

    Of course they (the Opposition) would not/could not do worse. Surely the article above proves that. How could anyone suggest anyone could do worse?

    Only a vindictive, scheming, Machiavellian entity could do this much harm - so blatantly and so purposefully - to its own people.

    To criticise the Opposition is not an honourable argument to my mind - especially when so many local Labour MPs have worked tirelessly as advocates (from what I've heard). The article seems to me a bit like victim blaming; twisting the issue to create a diversion from the real ill (the National Executive) .. a hallmark of the National government's approach to so many issues.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    so many local Labour MPs have worked tirelessly as advocates

    Examples?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Thanks Barnaby. You’ve encapsulated so much frustration and sadness.

    Agree. You’ve wrestled a monster that so many of us have tried to articulate in various ways over the last five years. Labour did have a credible, and very good policy for Chrischurch, and promoted it heavily until a month out from the last election.

    Then it disappeared from view, not helped by the party shafting one of those tireless MPs, Ruth Dyson, by sacking her from the earthquake spokesmanship on the day John Key gave his major campaign speech in Chch. Lead-footed is a kind assessment of that move; internal Labour warfare was what was inferred down here.

    The absurd idea that every Labour portfolio-holder would include Christchurch issues in their brief was widely noted and deeply resented by Christchurch voters. It was the tipping point for voters trying to decide who would be reliable.

    @Katharine Moody: Your comments illustrate perfectly why Chch voters settled for “the Devil you know” when it came to the party vote. Voters went for local MPs who had performed well for their electorates – for example Nicky Wagner in Chch Central. We all know who works for us, and Brownlee and Wagner certainly look after their electorate’s parish work, as do Williams, Dyson, Woods.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Examples?

    Those I've seen reported on are Ruth Dyson, Poto Williams, Megan Woods - .. just recently, for example, Williams set up a special event for coastal communities on that hazard issue and Denis O'Rourke too was lobbying hard on that score - I know of Parliamentary questions he was researching/submitting. And of course, before them there were Dalziel and Anderton - excellent constituent MPs from what I could see.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Hebe,

    @Katharine Moody: Your comments illustrate perfectly why Chch voters settled for “the Devil you know” when it came to the party vote.

    Exactly – nepotism rules for those folks - but overall, in doing so with the Party Vote, unfortunately, as the old adage goes, they got the government they deserved. As an outsider, I was aghast given the obvious mis-management and down right dirty dealings that were inflicted on the people post-EQ.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    By the way, on the hazard issue, I think CHCH residents have again been shafted – another Machiavellian-like move by National. To have removed these hazard determinations from the proposed District Plan consultation process (but not from LIMs), National have effectively denied the affected parties the ability to argue the T&T science behind those hazard lines. Hence, there may be no development restrictions under the RMA, but under the Building Act the areas will still be identified as being subject to a hazard (I assume, given the information remains on a LIM). That means that whenever a person seeks building consent under the Building Act – sections 71-74 will apply. What that means is that the property title will have a caveat (a notation) put on it – and it is that s 74 notification on the title that triggers all the insurance premium etc. issues.

    So, effectively the insurance companies again get their way. They are free to refuse insurance, and/or charge excessive premiums – the banks too may put punitive measures in place with respect to lending etc.

    Really, the people are worse off – because the T&T report stands unchallenged given the RMA process/scrutiny has been taken away.

    Very Machiavellian, but that’s National for you.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Hebe,

    Brownlee and Wagner certainly look after their electorate’s parish work, as do Williams, Dyson, Woods.

    I see you subsequently added Williams, Dyson and Woods. When I made the comment about nepotism, I was referring to the unedited version which mentioned only Brownlee and Wagner.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Marion Ogier,

    Thanks Barnaby - as usual you really nail it with what is happening and what should be happening in Christchurch. Powerful writing. I can't help feeling that any future government is going to be hamstrung by the actions of this current, heartless, inept crew. Perhaps they will be more humane and focus on helping and healing all those people so disadvantaged by the squeeze of big nature and big insurance and big government, butI feel the citizens of Christchurch are going to be paying through rates and taxes to keep paying to maintain the polishing of the giant turd(s?) that is being dumped on the central city so to speak. An example would be the vast amounts being pumped into developing(over developing?) the Avon in the CBD when downstream in the east there are issues with flooding, silting, weed growth, canada geese, damaged walking paths and so on that are not being seriously addressed. There are plenty more examples where affordable local is being trumped by grandiose "we'll be a world class precinct blah blah" nonsense. The things that are drawing the world's attention are the local, grassroots initiatives.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2010 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    What Hebe and Marion said. Great work Barnaby.

    Katharine Moody:
    Thanks, though I'd add Clayton Cosgrove to that list - for around a year after the first quake he was very much on the case. Unfortunately he's mostly missing in action these days.

    As Ian Dalziel pointed out here some time ago, giving former Chch Central MP Brendon Burns a low list ranking was a major own goal for Labour. The final post-quake year of his term, before losing to Nicky Wagner by the narrowest of margins, he performed as the kind of opposition MP that I only wish we'd had more of.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Well yes, more internal politics - but perhaps now folks can see that denying the Party Vote because of these issues played beautifully into National's hand. In other words, the PV National sent National a message it could shout from the highest mountain: "this confirms we're doing a good job in Christchurch" .. and that's how the rest of NZ read it.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    "this confirms we're doing a good job in Christchurch" .. and that's how the rest of NZ read it.

    And a large part of the relatively unscathed Chch.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    the PV National sent National a message

    yes - 'how can I bend over further?'

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Opposition is there not just to sit and wait till they get power again,. Its job is to illustrate competence and improve the performance of the government.

    Quite. As I've said, they need to do the job we collectively pay them for, or get out of the way

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    What if there was a 'full, fair and final' policy, but instead of a deadline imposed on Treaty claimants to settle claims, it's a deadline imposed on Big Insurance to settle claims?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Quite. As I’ve said, they need to do the job we collectively pay them for, or get out of the way

    It needs to do more than just follow the mantra of "oppositions don't win, governments lose." Once it loses a large number of people to the Cynicism & Disillusionment Party, it's not easy to get them back.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Williams set up a special event for coastal communities on that hazard issue and Denis O'Rourke too was lobbying hard on that score - I know of Parliamentary questions he was researching/submitting.

    Nice to know O'Rourke's keeping busy with something other than his long-running personal skirmish with local media. Apart from having been an NZ First MP since 2011, the former Chch City Councillor also happens to be chairman of the trust overseeing the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme:

    When he took over as trust leader in 2009 O'Rourke said CPW consents were held by the trust and licensed back to CPW. The trust was to "monitor the mandatory sustainable farming protocol and undertake environmental enhancement with funding from the company".

    Trust-held water consents would become the template for sustainable farming in New Zealand, he said.

    According to Tim Fulton in yesterday's Press, operating consents for the Canterbury Councils-owned scheme have since been hocked to major banks as a condition of funding. In case of default, they'll own the water. Having long since burnt his bridges with the media, "CPW Trust chairman Denis O'Rourke did not respond to a request for comment."

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    According to Tim Fulton in today's Press, operating consents for the Canterbury Councils-owned scheme have since been hocked to major banks as a condition of funding. In case of default, they'll own the water.

    Arrrgh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    And of course not forgetting that CPW likely wouldn't have got off the ground were it not for the cancellation of democracy at ECan (how many terms is it now?). Another reason why I just couldn't understand why Cantabrians largely voted to re-elect this Government.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Arrrgh.

    Echoed :(
    Next thing will be trading commodified 'water futures' on the NZX. I.e. betting on the weather.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

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