Roughan on one sided TV

September 22nd, 2012 at 11:03 am by David Farrar

writes:

Do you know how they chose which schools to close in Christchurch? I don’t. I could find out butI shouldn’t have to, there has been so much television coverage of the subject this week we should be well informed.

I have seen sad, angry and bitter teachers. I have been told over and over what a blow this is for people who are still trying to recover from earthquakes, particularly when their school suffered little damage.

I have seen school children lined up for the cameras and saying the same things, exactly the same, as the sad, angry and bitter teachers. I have seen the kids with placards made in class and I’ve seen them having a protest march.

Has anybody explained to them how and why their school is on the list, or are they simply learning this is what you do when you don’t like a decision? That strikes me as a good reason to close the school but doubtless there were other criteria.

I have listened to John Campbell, thinking he would want to know what they are, but if he knows he doesn’t seem to think his audience needs to know.

I watched his reporter cover a school protest meeting the other night, jumping excitedly from one sad, angry, bitter teacher to the next and then to one well-primed child after another, and Campbell thanked him for that report.

Maybe I missed an interview where an education official got a chance to explain the reasons but I would have thought the rationale, whatever it is, would be mentioned in every report.

Journalists are trained to cover all obvious questions. When one is left begging like this, be very suspicious.

One can only agree – no balance at all. No attempt to explain, just to elicit an emotional response.

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45 Responses to “Roughan on one sided TV”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,262 comments) says:

    I’ve also blogged on this, and commented on the GD. Maybe it’s time for the Government to put TVNZ up for sale, with the proceeds funding the Christchurch rebuild; it’s almost be worth it to see and hear the howls of outrage when the tap of taxpayer funding was disconnected!

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  2. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Which why Id rather watch re-runs of Hogans Heros and Mash than watch the news.

    Sky channel 90 is about the only news channel worth watching – especially their late night( by our time zone) current affairs programmes. But as for TV1 and 3 news – crap

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  3. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t waste a minute watching Campbell. The Luddite hack is a disgrace to television journalism.
    To be avoided.

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  4. tom hunter (4,665 comments) says:

    No balance at all. No attempt to explain, just to elicit an emotional response.

    This is a surprise? The phrase, If It Bleeds, It Leads, was invented decades ago to describe the way TV news was trending. It was simply a matter of time before every news item, not just crime, received the same treatment. Of course it’s emotional.

    And, much as I agree with KS above that TVNZ should be sold (assuming we find a buyer), TV3 is already privately owned and seemingly more left-wing than TVNZ.

    So there’s really only one solution: stop watching it. Deprive them of viewers, eyeballs and hence advertising revenue. Only then might there be even a chance that they’ll change.

    But I think they’re too far gone even for revenue loss to have that effect. Just avoid watching them and let them die.

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  5. KevinH (1,193 comments) says:

    Christchurch is overflowing with emotion and sentiment post the quakes and now the recovery phase where change and sacrifice is being imposed on the good citizens of this devastated city.
    Campbell Live successfully captures that emotion, the confusion, the anger, and puts it in front of us in the great tradition of journalism, which is to inform. How we interpret that is entirely at our own discretion.
    John Roughan interprets TV3’S coverage as anti government propaganda, but it isn’t. The stories are about the people of Christchurch and the challenges and difficulties they face in resurrecting their lives to some semblance of normality.
    The alternative is to portray a quite false reality where there is no pain, no suffering and pretend it’s all hunky dory.
    At the end of the day it’s about freedom of speech, to say what you feel without fear of persecution.

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  6. tom hunter (4,665 comments) says:

    which is to inform

    We’re only being “informed” about the emotions, not about anything else like reasons, rationale, etc, etc.

    But emotion is enough to make the world go around in TV Land.

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  7. Reid (16,183 comments) says:

    So after around 40 non-stop years of this trend a single journo finally makes the point? When readers, listeners and viewers have been deserting in droves, a single journo finally states the bleeding obvious reason for the desertions?

    Wow. Newsflash.

    Personally I think it’s the editors and the publishers who are primarily responsible, not the journos on the ground. They’re just mouthpiece repeaters who toe the editorial line lest they don’t get a pay rise next year. The editors, like teachers, are infested with PC psychobabble types and while, just like you get good teachers, there are some extremely good editors, most of them are wretched lefty commie brain-dead mind fucked examples of actual human beings and if they’re not, then why pray tell have they produced the results we see all over the MSM on a daily basis? The publishers meanwhile, and I include TV execs, as well as traditional print and web publishers, are interested only in revenue, and they’ve found that if they pepper the “news” with celeb pap and heaps of sports, the mindless sheeple just can’t get enough of it probably because their own pathetic lives are so empty they get off on imagining how wonderful it would be to have a life like say, Lucy Lawless or Robyn what’s-her-name or Sally Ridge even, FFS. Leaving of course those of us who have a mind with nowhere to turn except to the few quality channels available most of which are on the interweb.

    So well done John for mentioning it, but it’s a shame you haven’t been saying the same thing since the 80’s, for that’s when it started to get really noticeable.

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  8. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    “one sided tv” also kept very quiet during the petition to get ownership of the foreshore and seabed back from iwi and the national party. So they do support national policy on occasions.

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  9. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    I do not watch the TV news any more. Why they even pretend that it is “news” when at best it is “political punditry” I will never know. Their analysis of “events” wouldn’t even get them a pass in NCEA Level 1.

    As far as Christchurch goes – it will never be the same place as it was before the quakes. It cannot ever be the same place. No city that suffers catastrophe – whether natural or man-made ever goes back to the way it was. Get over it or get out.

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  10. metcalph (1,426 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t blame the TV. There hasn’t been much information on the reasons for the decision in the Press. As of today, people are still venting in the Letters and the Paper is publishing details of the multiple cockups in the communication process.

    Personally I feel the Ministry should have been more stark about the reasons why they feel the schools should be closed down and merging schools instead of describing the process as one of renewal and rejuvenation. Whoever decided upon that should be shot alongside the guy who decided Shirley Boys and Christchurch Boys should be merged (which is in truth the most inspired merger since the creation of Yugoslavia).

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  11. flipper (3,935 comments) says:

    I suspect that a majority of those who live outside of Christchurch have had a tummy-full of bellyaching.
    My parents went through the 1931 Napier earthquake. There were no billion doillar (or =) taxpayer hand outs. In fact it was left to a visiting Briyish warship, HMS Veronica, to go to their aid.

    When I look at the money already spent in ChCh on their recovery, and I look at what is projected, I cannot now develop the slightest bit of sympathy for the whining that is being perpetuated by media.

    For example, last evening on Close Up, that well known left leaning lawyer, Mai Chen, had excellent, non partisan advice for Christchurch parents. But the TVNZ twit, Bray, kept reverting to his pre-written questions in an attempt to get her to condemn the school change consultation process.

    TVNZ and TV3 jurnos/producers are as bad as one another. Perhaps they could look to MSNBC or the ABC for future employment opportunities. They would not get any at 7, 9 10 (Aus.) or at Fox.

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  12. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    Haven’t watched Campbell for ages. Got sick of his crusades. Surely “Manufacturing Consent” by Chomsky should be required reading for anyone who cares about the integrity of journalism.

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  13. Keeping Stock (10,262 comments) says:

    @ KevinH – I disagree. Campbell leave has a caravan in Christchurch where the disaffected, the marginalised, and those who reckon they aren’t getting a fair go can go and vent. The Campbell Live reporters thus have a database of disaffected and margialised to call on when they need to tug at the heartstrings a bit more. It’s kind of like Fair Go except that the coverage is anything but fair, and they should just go.

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  14. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    I haven’t watched Campbell Live since the election. He’s a dick but more importantly he’s not a reporter.

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  15. Mark (497 comments) says:

    The news media in this country is basied and not willing to ask the hard questions on subjects unless it’s against the liberal lefty point of view.

    Intelligent people no longer believe what is coming out of the overpriced hacks we see on news programmes any longer. They are sad pathetic people who have no moral compass.

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  16. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,873 comments) says:

    Looks like a rodent, squeaks like a rodent, behaves like a rodent…………………………………………..

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  17. tom hunter (4,665 comments) says:

    Surely “Manufacturing Consent” by Chomsky should be required reading for anyone who cares about the integrity of journalism.

    I’ll guarantee you that a copy of that is sitting on Campbell’s bookshelves. He’s simply decided to make the manufacturing process produce a result opposite to what Chomsky claimed the media was achieving.

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  18. Paulus (2,591 comments) says:

    Was it not right that Helen Clark called Campbell “A right little twerp”, or something similar,
    – seems she was right (about the only thing though).

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  19. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Aah, metcalph – twot extordinaire.- “I wouldn’t blame the TV”.

    Of course you wouldn’t you tiresome wee man .

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  20. Jim (407 comments) says:

    Roughan’s criticism should extend to his own colleagues. It’s not just a matter of being one-sided, but I often find myself with more unanswered obvious questions after reading a Herald article than I had before I started. Not exactly informing.

    I’d say the average news report appears to be written by a child – but that would be unfair. Kids are a lot more inquisitive than that.

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  21. OneTrack (2,966 comments) says:

    @KevinH – But you would say that wouldn’t you because Campbell (and others) give you a free ride.

    Journalism as such has been a disaster in NZ for some time. Yes, it is amazing that, apparently, John Roughan has only just noticed. I have got tired of yelling at the screen for some loser holding a microphone to ask the obvious questions – but, no, its always “how does that make you feel” or the old standby, “what about the children?”

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  22. kowtow (8,138 comments) says:

    Years ago Campbell openly declared he was for social change,I think it was after their attacks on Brash’s attempts to introduce racial equality in New Zealand,which of course did not fit in with the MSM ‘s vision for Aotearoa,eh?

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  23. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Nor nationals vision….

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  24. duggledog (1,491 comments) says:

    Is this the same channel that programmed a one hour documentary about ‘poverty’ three days out from an election? I thought that decision made the programmers / commissioners political persuasion rather obvious. And no it wasn’t coincidence. How about the inclusive Pacific Island log drumming in Clive’s title music though, classic!

    It doesn’t take a genius to work out the stripes of whoever chooses the guests on Jim Mora’s ‘The Panel’ either. But then hey, look at ZB – you won’t find many Green supporters there. Or at the Rock. And these stations reach massive audiences.

    When TVNZ bumped Key’s Budget and led with that rugby player who had his hand up some girl’s dress in Fiji or whatever I realised that actually, somebody was really smart, and it wasn’t necessarily a political decision. They simply made a decision based on an intimate knowledge of the vast majority of Kiwis – who don’t give a fuck about politics, or getting too bogged down in the detail that John Roughan thinks we’re missing. They just want to see the poor people, feel a bit sorry for them, feel a bit glad it isn’t them and then go and have dinner.

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  25. KH (694 comments) says:

    We hear all the time from TV people that the emotive, or celeb prattle, or the quick snap are what people want. But if they are so knowledgeable how come the numbers watching continue to nosedive.
    The constant programming of the dumb stuff, commercially is shooting themselves in the foot.
    The TV people do well to consider might there are people out there who do want information, analysis and intelligent content.

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  26. Dave Stringer (188 comments) says:

    There was a time when a news program reported facts and left the audience to make their own judgements. However, with The News now being one of the highest priced advertising slots on TV, the new standard is ‘anything that improves the ratings’. Sadly the only way to get away from this is to make news broadcasts advertising free; the BBC manages it, but none of the NZ publicly funded chanels manage the same status.
    A shame.

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  27. Pundit (8 comments) says:

    While the media have been average the min of education has been inept. There is no coherent reasoning presented publicly for the proposal which would seem to be Change management 101. Hard to blame communities reacting strongly when that is the case.

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  28. Inky_the_Red (749 comments) says:

    The media try to interview the Minister or someone from the Ministry. However they are always too busy. If the great changes are being made to Christchurch lower decile schools surely the minister would happy to take that to the Nation on the nightly news.

    As an aside I tried looking at the Ministry of Education site to see the reason for the proposed closure of my local school. After about 20 minutes hunting I found a summary. This contained number of classroom damaged and school roles. No real information on the damage and costs to repair no information relating to new housing near one of the schools marked for closure.

    The role number mentioned on the Ministry website was much lower (20%) than the number the school has on its website. What number do I believe? The number the school say which appears to match the number of kids I see when I collect my daughter or the number the ministry claims?

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  29. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Christchurch is overflowing with emotion and sentiment post the quakes and now the recovery phase where change and sacrifice is being imposed on the good citizens of this devastated city.

    Perhaps you should go there sometime. Comments like yours are just plain annoying – it’s like someones done “Christchurch studies” and knows all the theory but has no idea what it’s actually like.

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  30. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    I thought Roughan’s column was let down by the irony of talking about the tea party as though he’d only heard one side of it.

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  31. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    Wow, John Roughan is an idiot. He totally misses the point of Campbell Live. The programme is a good example of ‘advocacy journalism’. It has never made this a secret, in fact it seems to wear that label proudly, eg emphasis on the views of ‘joe public’ with reporting of Christchurch.
    There’s other programmes, eg The Nation, Q + A, that meets the requirements of getting multiple viewpoints of issues explained which I personally prefer to Campbell Live for that reason. It’s amazing that John Roughan can’t see that there’s room for both types of shows.

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  32. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    DPF, if you want the ‘other side of the story’ it is here http://shapingeducation.minedu.govt.nz

    The MoE has taken full page ads in The Press in the last few days in their attempt to answer the question ‘Why Renew Education in Christchurch?’

    Reading todays editorial in The Press http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/editorials/7715291/Schools-shake-up-news-fills-Press-mail-boxes, I’d say the MoE attempts at explaining their decisions isn’t working too well.

    My advise to the MoE and to the minister is cut the spin and start treating us like adults, start by using the word ‘closing’ rather than ‘rejuvenate’ when talking about schools you are going to close. Admit that some of the changes are being made to save money and get Hekia Parata and John Key to actually sit down with school principals and listen to what they have to say rather than hiding in Wellington.

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  33. Couchpotatoe (28 comments) says:

    What YesWeDid said.

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  34. bc (1,364 comments) says:

    YesWeDid: “My advise to the MoE and to the minister is cut the spin and start treating us like adults”

    What a good idea. The problem is – spin is all Hekia has. Take the spin (which usually consists of a couple of sentences repeated endlessly in various combinations) away, and all that is left is ………….

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  35. Nookin (3,258 comments) says:

    One-sided TV is typified by the following:

    When the government declined to attend the Maori King’s hui TV3 had a legal expert on the say that the government was not acting in good faith and was in breach of the treaty.

    When Tainui boycotted the government’s consultation process there was no mention of good faith and treaty obligations. It was, according to Pedro as I recall, an embarrassment for the government.

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  36. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ bc

    “He totally misses the point of Campbell Live. The programme is a good example of ‘advocacy journalism’. It has never made this a secret, in fact it seems to wear that label proudly”

    I appreciate I’m coming in late here but the thing that annoys me about John Campbell is that he, like many of his buddies, trade on being the media and therefore ask (demand) for a bunch of rights that apparently the media are entitled too. But, as you suggest, he’s a ‘advocacy journalist’ when means he’s political. All power to him in his political endeavours, but don’t claim the moral high-ground of being a conduit of facts for the people when in fact you’re seeking to influence.

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  37. jcuk (663 comments) says:

    I have not watched TV since the run up to he Rugby World Club …it is amazing how one can kill off bad habits.

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  38. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Roughan may well be a card carrying member of the national party but apart from this he has little to offer..If Campbell live is one sided it is in response to the one sided response to 1,100 earthquakes in CHCH..The impact of the earthquakes pales in comparison to the way CHCH people have been treated in the past two years by a mixed bag of overpaid officials , incompetent , dishonest politicians and overpaid , wind bag poms such as Simpson and Lousy Lesley. CHCH people have always been very hard working and very entreprenurial..They have never had the luxury of zillions of the tax payer dollars keeping them afloat as the bloated much lazier Wgtnians have..CHCH people were conservative , hard working , loyal , polite quiet..I spent many years in Wgtn in another life..I could not believe the difference when I first moved to CHCH..where people faced tough realities everyday..Now they are subjected to half cut nongs like Parata..Key Morningtea guy , lousy Lesley and her infantile staff member who made the principals wear colour coded name tags according to the fate of the their schools..It is well known here that lousy Lesley has been brought here to be a hatchet woman to NZ’s education system ..Well she and her ilk are not welcome in CHCH.
    The only two people to write accurately and honestly about CHCH in recent times are Martin Van Beynen and Rev Mike Colman. Roughan should go back to his vege patch..As long as CHCH residents are treated like trash by the authorities there will be a great need for Cambell live.

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  39. big bruv (13,672 comments) says:

    joana

    “CHCH people were conservative , hard working , loyal , polite”

    You forgot to include racist, one eyed, small minded and inbred as words to describe most (not all of course) Canabs.

    I can only speak for myself but I am starting to get a bit pissed off at hearing Cantabs pissing and moaning about the lack of my money being spent on them. Many of us are happy to pay for your rebuild, many of us were happy to dip deep into our own pockets to help the people of Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes and most of us know that it will cost us for some time to come.

    However, as much as it might surprise the people of Canterbury there is a lot more to NZ than them, we know you need help but there are other groups and areas that need it just as much. So please, a bit of fucking gratitude would not go amiss and how about showing that much talked about (but not often seen) Cantab spirit and harden the fuck up.

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  40. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    As a Cantab, Joana, I heartily agree with Big Bruv.

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  41. campit (467 comments) says:

    So I’m none the wiser. Why are the schools being closed? Is this a money saving measure? Is the land going to be sold off? Presumably staff numbers won’t reduce if the number of kids remain the same?

    The ministry told The Press this week that Woolston School’s roll was 220; its principal said it was 265 and growing. Other principals also reported that the information the ministry had about their schools was incorrect.

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  42. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    I’m a former Cantab resident and have returned regularly enough to be present for 2 of the 4 major quakes. I’m pretty aware of the various heartaches for residents knowing families who lost loved ones, red zoners, a survivor of the CTV building and several TC3 folk battling on and I have to agree with John. The Press has become a mouthpiece for one sided whining. I get that people are pissed off and tired and that perhaps a school merger is some kind of straw that breaks some camel’s backs but there is one statistic that everyone commenting on this subject needs to never forget – 4,500! That is the number of students who have left the city! It is one of a raft of statistics one could cite to try and give some sense to the magnitude of the catastrophe that is Christchurch. Whilst this huge loss falls disproportionately on the eastern suburbs and its schools, the ripple effect goes across the whole of Chch. The MOE is taking the opportunity to tidy up a raft of anomilies that have grown over decade in one fell swoop.

    There frankly is no nice way to do this. There is no process or procedure that would minimise the shock or pain. Media and people can vent about the HOW all they like but let’s all be honest, even if the MOE had managed the world’s most amazing consultation and spin doctoring there is no way to sugar coat this. We can debate the finer points of the proposals (like closing or merging schools in suburbs like Hillmorton that are not very badly affected) but I think that another crucial fact has been lost in all this reporting – these are PROPOSALS and are not fixed in concrete. Any proper robust consultation process results in changes that are negotiated. I fear that there can be little rational discussion on this subject now. The absolute moral authority of the parents, staff and pupils of the possible affected schools trumps, in the minds of the media, any rational discussion about how any government reallocates hundreds of millions of dollars because a city dramatically shrinks in size. Are the long suffering tax payers of NZ just to continue to fund hundreds of empty classrooms and the payroll of hundreds of teachers surplus to requirements just because people don’t like the news? Is that what the protestors are asking for? Please tell us what method of announcement or process would make the adjustments needed to accomodate the loss of 4,000 students palatable? The Pope and Justin Bieber could be the combined PR face of an announcement and the result would be the same – deep anger and frustration.

    Post earthquake Christchurch life is very very difficult. But as difficult as it is, 97% of the residents have earthquake insurance to even argue about. Its a figure 3 times higher than the residents of San Francisco and Kobe had and about 96% higher than the residents of Haiti! As a percentage of a country’s GDP being poured into one city, the spend on Chch is absolutely unprecedented in history. Even the Marshall Plan got spent across an entire continent and not just on 400,000 people! Some big picture perspective on this is sorely needed.

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  43. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    So many CHCH experts who don’t even live here..I hope you will all know half as much when disaster strikes you. And as for gratitude , get a life. As I said , all CHCH residents have seen from the politicians is gross incompetence, meddling , stupidity , arrogance , buffoonery , insult , madness , condescenion and of course from Brownlee , the usual laziness. He is well remembered for not caring two jots for the school he was supposed to be teaching at and caring even less for the boys who were supposed to be in his care.

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  44. artemisia (235 comments) says:

    joana, your over-emotional language and personal attacks are not helping your cause. On the contrary …

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  45. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    joana

    Answer this – Are you wanting the tax payers of NZ to continue to fund the classrooms and teachers salaries for the 4,500 students who no longer live in Chch?

    What city in the world has ever tried to do what Chch is doing? See if you can guess the percentage of Japan’s GDP that was soaked up by the Tsunami/Earthquake and/or the Kobe earthquake? What percentage of the US GDP was devoted to recovery from Hurricane Katrina?

    How many land geotech engineers will it take to clear the backlog of the 17,000 odd TC3 properties? How many trained engineers in this specialty are there in the world? What percentage do you think might have free time to come to NZ on contract or would quit current employment in an equivalent 1st world country to receive a lower NZ salary for the same position?

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