The Press on CCC

November 12th, 2012 at 9:26 am by David Farrar

editorial:

The desire expressed recently by Mayor Bob Parker for to take back more control of the city’s affairs echoes the feelings of many Christchurch people. The mayor spoke of the matter two weeks ago, when he said he was looking forward to the council regaining control of the central business district from the Central Christchurch Development Unit “sooner rather than later”. While acknowledging the important role the Government had in the rebuild, the mayor said: “We think [the city centre rebuild] is something that should be driven by the people in the city and council.”

An understandable desire, but it is worth pointing out that most Councils are equipped to deal with one or two major projects at a time. Dealing with a rebuild of an entire city centre is to be blunt well beyond the resources and capability of a city council.

The greatest interference with the council’s functions, though, came from the creation of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority as a government department and then later the CCDU as a unit within Cera to plan the reconstruction of the central city. This, according to Parker, has left the council’s elected representatives feeling “politically impotent” and accounts for the dysfunction (“so-called dysfunction”, according to Parker) on the council.

Here, Parker has got his analysis backwards. The creation of Cera did not cause ructions among otherwise efficient and smoothly functioning councillors to erupt. Cera was necessary for several compelling reasons. But one of them, surely, was a fear, among other things, that councillors would not be able to put aside their differences to face the mammoth task before the city without petty distractions.

Whatever the cause, councillors certainly proceeded to live down to expectations when in the midst of the calamity, and egged on by irresponsible outside elements, they plunged the depths of mindless backbiting and bitchery in an ultimately trivial row over the chief executive’s salary.

Exactly. The Council came close to being dismissed for their inability to function, as the backbiting was so extreme. Things have improved, but a long way to go.

Power over the city’s affairs will of course eventually be returned entirely to the council. So far as the CCDU is concerned, Parker is holding discussions with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. In order for him to be able to make a persuasive case, however, the council must show that it is capable of doing the job. Whether that is the case yet is far from clear. It is alarming, for instance, to hear that it is in danger of losing its accreditation as a building consents authority because of 17 identified shortcomings.

I think the saying is look after your own backyard first.

The fact the CEO thinks he can grant an extra 12 days paid leave to all Council staff without even informing the Mayor and Council of his intentions in advance, shows that there is still a fairly high degree of dysfunctionality.

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12 Responses to “The Press on CCC”

  1. marcw (259 comments) says:

    It may turn out to be Marryatt’s final decree, as his unilateral disposal of $4 – 5million cost of ratepayer funds without keeping Councillors informed breached the agreement they had pledged earlier to keep things improving. Leopards and spots come to mind. And I don’t agree with the editorial that the bickering earlier was “just” a trivial row about $68,000 salary increase – it was about the whole concept of the Council and CEO + Bob faction not communicating. The salary was just a symptom of the broken system.

    Next November, it is likely that Bob will either not stand again for Mayor (will find other “opportunities” to pursue) or if he does, will be handed his arse on the ballot and shown the door. Marryatt will follow at the next CEO review occasion.

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  2. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Marryatt has seriously lost the plot. Possibly the most bizarre action ever taken unilaterally by a local government official. He has to go.

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  3. barry (1,191 comments) says:

    the ‘rebuild’ of Christchurch is far too importantb to leave to the CCC.

    For a start there seems to be a thread of insanity in Christchurch.
    They want some (anyone but them) to spend 100 million rebuilding the Cathedral (which will fall down in the next earthquake – its a property of rigid buildings that they do this….) and the rsidents of Latimer Courts spent all they had and then had to get out (didnt they know that rigid buildings tend to break up in earthquakes) and they still weant to ‘save’ an unsavable structure.

    Im reminded of the Peter Ellis case whenever someone in Chch comes out with another “we must save it” plea. There seems to be a lack of at least two things:
    1. A realisation that the earthquakes – as bad as they were – are actually an opportunity to plan for the future (and not the past)
    2. There seems to be a stubborn disbelief in the realities of physics and the rules of nature.

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  4. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    The Marryatt decision is a wonderful example of how Local Government officialdom has out-manoeuvred the public. All this dates back to 2002 when the Labour Government accepted NZLGA pleas and took the so-called “corporate model” to a ridiculous extreme.
    There is no possibility whatsoever of any private sector C.E.O. taking to him or herself the power to grant an extra 12 days paid leave to all staff without gaining the prior approval of the Board. Talk of telling them beforehand is a smokescreen devised hide how screwed up Local Government administration has become.
    This is a classic example of Local Government legislative disfunctionality. The public believes it/they elect a Mayor and Councillors to run their town/city. Rubbish. And what a bloody waste of time and money. Given that the Council C.E.O. has all the “power” , why bother with the electoral bullshit? And all this talk of local democracy is worse than bullshit. It is out-right deceit.
    Solution:
    1. Rewrite the local Government legislation now before parliament to place ALL responsibility on those elected to govern.
    2. Fire Marryatt and all C.E.O.’ s (et al),
    3. Rename C.E.Os. as Chief Clerks, and pay them accordingly.
    No ifs, No buts. Just do it.

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  5. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    Flipper……Well said

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  6. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Yes the rebuild is “too big” and “too important” for the Christchurch council –

    This job calls for a failed carpenter and sometime woodwork teacher from Rangiora! :lol:

    And what flipper said, seconded… although the “corporatization” of the public service is hardly a new thing that the last Labour Govt invented… Crown Health Enterprise, anyone?

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  7. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    Well, RRM, one supposes a light-weight (in the context of RRM’s comment that would defintely apply! :) ), pussy cat and former TV presenter with no executive or administrative power, could and would do a better job.

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  8. hinamanu (1,068 comments) says:

    “The fact the CEO thinks he can grant an extra 12 days paid leave to all Council staff without even informing the Mayor and Council of his intentions in advance, shows that there is still a fairly high degree of dysfunctionality.”

    It’s called conspiracy

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  9. Viking2 (11,674 comments) says:

    Actually, it is probably a timely thing to do. After all the CEO is responsible for the staff and the budgets. He is also responsible for the health and saftey of the staff and for sure many of them have worked their little butts off and also been personally affected by the whole earthquake thing.

    For once I can agree with this and all you moaning lefties and their little helpers like flipper should go and work in that situation before you rant on.

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  10. GPT1 (2,021 comments) says:

    Bob Parker is an egotist presiding over a council that ranges from the barely competent to the outright unbalanced. His woe as me tirades reported in The Press from his self adulatory re-election ramblings masquerading as a biography simply underline his arrogance. How dare people from Wellington steal HIS press coverage from HIS Earthquake.

    The entire local body system needs to be looked at. It is little wonder that a council, in effect a directly elected cabinet, cannot operate with any degree of efficiency at the best of times let alone post a major disaster.

    Sadly the Peter Townsends et al with actual ability know that the system is set up for failure and stay out of it.

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  11. V (765 comments) says:

    CCDU, even sounds soviet era. What is their moto? “Rebuilding, because we can’t trust the citizenry”.

    The issue was destined to be a failure the second the narrative of “the rebuild” took hold, as if it’s a single collective event. Reality is building/land owners needed to individually assess their situation and then look at reinvestment. Instead we have govt. quangos deciding the fate of businesses.

    Look at this disgrace:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/7937671/Quake-hit-Bicycle-Thief-to-be-demolished

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  12. pq (728 comments) says:

    we have been trying to get rid of Marryat for over a year now, any ideas

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