The ones who wouldn’t even have organised the rubble to be cleared by now

December 6th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reported:

MPs hand-delivered a letter to Prime Minister John Key today, voicing concerns about the lack of democracy in Canterbury.

Green MP Eugenie Sage, Labour’s Lianne Dalziel, and NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke wrote the letter on behalf of signatories including Save Our Schools, Historic Places Canterbury, Christchurch Civic Trust and the Wizard of New Zealand.

The letter requested the reinstatement of democratic elections for the regional council, Environment Canterbury, in 2013.

It also protested the demolition of heritage buildings, school closures, Government acquisition of land in the CBD, and asked for a reassessment of the April 30 deadline for red-zoned homeowners to move out of the red zone.

Did they also complain about the Easter Bunny not turning up?

There is a legitimate issue around ECan. I don’t think the Govt made the right decision there, and people have every right to protest that decision. Well, they have the right to protest any decision, but the others are really just calls for Christchurch to remain a ruined city. Let’s take them one by one.

demolition of heritage buildings

I’m sorry, but there was a fucking . People died. They got squashed by unsafe buildings. These heritage buildings are generally now death traps.  The Govt hasn’t decided to demolish them because they hate heritage buildings. They are being demolished because they are unsafe. I have zero sympathy for people who put heritage ahead of safety. I love heritage buildings. I wish we had more of them, like they do in the US and Europe. But there was a fucking .

school closures

Yes the Govt stuffed up with the initial proposals. But these MPs are calling for indefinite delays. They say they don’t like the consultation deadline of this week, but are not proposing an alternate one. Basically they just want no change from the status quo. That is the luxury of opposition – do nothing but oppose, oppose, oppose.

Government acquisition of land in the CBD

This one is just nuts. They demanded that people have their say on a new city centre. They did have their say. The blueprint released had widespread support – it had the green spaces people wanted, it had buildings not too tall etc. Now of course in any remodelling of the CBD after a disaster, there will have to be some compulsory acquisitions. Sure you can argue against that from a libertarian perspective and say the Govt should have no power of acquisition. But how the hell can you argue for a new city centre, and then whine about the fact the Govt will actually make it happen. Are those MPs really suggesting that the new city centre have to be built only on bits and pieces of land that is already Council or Govt owned?

Put it like this, if Labour and Greens were the Govt and the earthquake happened on their watch, do you possibly think they would not be using compulsory acquisition powers to rebuild the CBD due to their libertarian beliefs?

a reassessment of the April 30 deadline for red-zoned homeowners to move out of the red zone

Again, they just want nothing to happen  it seems. I think most people in Christchurch want progress. Of course they are not happy with every decision the Govt has made. Who is? But almost everything they are calling for is to slow or stop the rebuild – basically they just oppose anything that has anyone upset.

April 2013 will be 30 months after the first earthquake. The Govt could in fact have made no offers. It could have said this is between you and your insurance agency. Instead we’ve had the largest ever expenditure on a natural disaster (as a % of GDP) in the world for decades.

UPDATE: I see the NZEI has voted to go on strike the day after the final decisions are announced about Canterbury schools. Wouldn’t it have been slightly less knee jerk to wait to see what is decided, before voting to strike about it? Basically they are indicating that they are going to strike regardless. They want no change at all. I understand change is upsetting. but schools exist for the benefits of pupils, not teachers. If there are not enough pupils to justify a school not merging, then change is inevitable.

 

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35 Responses to “The ones who wouldn’t even have organised the rubble to be cleared by now”

  1. Mobile Michael (443 comments) says:

    I can’t get over this obsession with heritage. Christchurch was destroyed by two large earthquakes, that is its new heritage. A new city will be the next chapter in its heritage, just as the art deco buildings of Napier became its new heritage. In 50 years time, Christchurch will become a world renown city for its early 21st century buildings. Trying to rewrite history will achieve nothng for Christchurch.

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  2. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Chrictchurch has been a dysfunctional place ever since the peter ellis case. That awful episode seems to have let the dogs of stupidity and belief in black magic lose.

    Thus we now have people seriously thinking that they can rebuild rigid concrete or stone buildings and that they wont be wrecked by another shake. Sure if millions are spent they might not fall down – but as sure as the sun comes up in the east, they will crack up.

    And as for the school – basically the government is talking about brand new schools allover Chch -100% new facilities – and the Chch people can do is wail and moan.

    Maybe if the government withdrew the very good offer of valuation for wrecked properties and let the residents argue with the insurance companies, then the people of Chch might suddenly realise what a bloody goo deal they have been given.

    The city is starting to turn into a self centre bunch of moaners.

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  3. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    It’s not about ‘moaning’ etc.

    The underlying cause of upset with Central Government’s actions in Christchurch is not seismic activity, it’s the application of a doctrine of consolidated and exclusive decision-making. There’s a terrible lack of consultation, but worse than that there has been very little done in structuring consultation procedures to reflect the fact we live in a) the 21st century b) a city with relatively poor infrastructure.

    Locals understand things will change, with x-thousand less students in the city school closures are inevitable. But if you continue to frustrate the agency of citizens, like CERA and Ecan has, then you will have citizens seeking to affect change through other methods which exist outside of the system. i.e Striking, protesting, crime etc

    Everyone accepts, down here, that not everyone is going to agree about everything – but it would placate the locals if Central Government bothered to ask us our opinions, considering that we’re the ones who’ve got to live with their decisions.

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  4. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Will Heck Yeah listen to teachers now they’ve chosen to strike? I doubt it.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/8042079/Canterbury-teachers-to-strike-over-changes

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  5. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    Consultation doesn’t get shit done.

    Leaders get shit done.

    Imagine if Churchill had to consult Britain for a month before he did anything?

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  6. Nookin (3,274 comments) says:

    “Will Heck Yeah listen to teachers now they’ve chosen to strike? I doubt it.”

    For the most part, teachers’ experience and training is focused on the teaching of students. I have not come across too many teachers who are experts in the reconstruction of infrastructural assets, the effects of major natural disasters on communities – particularly where they will live (or cannot live because of unsuitable ground conditions) and the total redesign and reconstruction of a city. Of course, NZEI & PPTA may know better. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion, however, that the teachers unions are being very small-minded and lack any forward thinking.

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  7. KiwiGreg (3,234 comments) says:

    “The Govt could in fact have made no offers. It could have said this is between you and your insurance agency. Instead we’ve had the largest ever expenditure”

    Oh I wish they had. And taken the opportunity of the earthquake to abolish the entirely redundant EQC. But this is the National(isation) government.

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  8. dave_c_ (217 comments) says:

    Yer right FlyingKiwi – “Leaders” who are greedy, opportunistic, sometimes corrupt, and promoting nothing but their own agendas, not to mention government members who support this “leave everything to us – we know best’ approach. Democracy – blah – doesnt exist, and never has.

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  9. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    “Imagine if Churchill had to consult Britain for a month before he did anything?”

    Straw man much?

    Christchurch does desperately need to fix infrastructure etc – and I think generally SCIRT is doing well. However, what we’re talking about here is a constructing a base for development over hundreds of years, it’d be smart to have an ongoing facility for consultation that held sway over the executive – you know, like a ‘council’ or something.

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  10. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    nocommentkiwi …

    The Govt (ie : us taxpayers) are mostly footing the bill and thus the golden rule applies (“he who has the gold – rules) but if you dont like that then….

    tell the Govt to go shove their valuation cash offer and youll do your own thing without that money…

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  11. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    “I have not come across too many teachers who are experts in the reconstruction of infrastructural assets, the effects of major natural disasters on communities.”

    Oh, so Heck Yeah is suddenly an expert in these matters?

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  12. Lance (2,629 comments) says:

    @ross69
    Are you just trolling or are you really that thick?

    The government has experts !!!!!!!!!!

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  13. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, but there was a ***** earthquake.

    I find that a lot of critics seem to forget this.

    For example: the insurance companies weren’t withholding cover for the heck of it, they were avoiding writing new policies because of the very real risk that yet another major earthquake would knock down what ever they had just insured.

    No one would take that risk from an insurance prespective.

    But now that we’ve had more than 6 months without a 6+, the insurance companies are starting to write policies again.

    Secondly, just because a building didn’t get knocked down doesn’t mean it is savable. I was talking to an engineer today, and (I kid you not) about half of what is *still there* is due to be knocked down in the next few monts. This is simply because buildings (Even the 2007 built IRD Building) have just sustained so much damage over so many shakes that they simply are going to cost too much to repair.

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  14. Keeping Stock (10,270 comments) says:

    @ Ross69 – are you the NZEI stooge who was parroting the old “the Government wants to use Christchurch to test its new ideology” meme on Breakfast this morning?

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  15. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    scrubone –

    Absolutely – but the trouble that some insurers (e.g. AMI) have found themselves in seems to suggest (to me) that a lot of them haven’t really informed themselves about the structural engineering of the buildings they have been accepting premiums for “covering” for years and years.

    A lot of modern tall buildings are designed so that in strong shaking they will take damage in a reasonably controlled, non-destabilising way, in discrete areas of the structure, as a means of dissipating the otherwise overwhelming energy of a strong earthquake. This is the reason there are new or near-new buildings that are write-offs even though they stood up and protected their occupants, in earthquakes where the peak ground acceleration was basically twice the code level that they were actually designed for. The buildings performed well, but there is a difference between their performance and people’s expectations that is the main issue.

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  16. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    The buildings performed well, but there is a difference between their performance and people’s expectations that is the main issue.

    Yes. I also think many people don’t realise just how much more expensive it is to deliver the difference – literally a couple of orders of magnitude in cost in some areas.

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  17. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    “the Government wants to use Christchurch to test its new ideology”

    Ooooo. Did they also make the claim that the government was punishing people for not voting National? That’s a good one too.

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  18. Rick Rowling (809 comments) says:

    If architects and developers were like car and computer manufacturers, everyone would prefer new buildings, because they would be better than the old ones in nearly every way (including styling).

    Then we wouldn’t have to risk people’s lives for the pleasure of heritage aesthetes.

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  19. Mark (1,474 comments) says:

    The schools issue is a typical parata shambles but overall the govt has done a laudable job on chch. Heritage buildings in an earthquake prone city are and expensive bit of nostalgia that we can’t afford to keep.

    Brownlee has made mistakes but has also achieved a great deal. This is new territory for the govt and mistakes are the inevitable result of doing stuff. He deserves plaudits for getting on with it.

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  20. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    DPF –

    Left-leaning consulting structural engineer here… Your comments on demolition of heritage buildings and CBD land acquisition are spot on IMHO.

    Schools issue I don’t know enough about to comment on. I see all the teachers in the whole district took a personal risk in going to an illegal strike yesterday, there must be something they are pretty upset about.

    Residential red zone… why doesn’t the council just stop issuing rates invoices to those properties, and disconnect their services? People will eventually get the hint that they are pushing sh!t uphill demanding everyone else uneconomically fix their broken and deserted former neighbourhood… and that the Govt’s offer is worth considering after all. They have survived what is – touch wood – probably the great natural disaster of our times, but their houses and sections didn’t. That’s sad, but they are being offered significant help.

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  21. dave_c_ (217 comments) says:

    RRM – “Significant help” – Seems to me like Insurers of folks who have (and pair for) ‘replacement value cover’ are doing their very best to avoid delivering the ‘significant help customers have paid for all their lives (or at t least the period they’ve owned the property)
    Until all parties come clean and behave ethically, and are seen to behave ethically, then the perception is always going to be there, that everyone is trying to screw the little man, and run their own agenda

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  22. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    dave_c_ – I meant the govt purchase offers, not their private insurance!

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  23. niggly (817 comments) says:

    I’m really getting f***g sick of hearing people from Christchurch whinging about heritage buildings etc, especially these Labour (and now Green) politicians and their proxy activists in disguise purporting to be representing community interest groups. They are sullying the majority of residents with their political agenda. (I even heard Mary Wilson on Checkpoint yesterday roasting some education union turkey who sounded like a thick meat head for their planned unlawful strike next year).

    When the 1930’s quake hit Napier, what’s the bet the people of the time accepted their fate, thankful for their survival, and just got on with rebuilding their lives without being political drama queens and wanting things to be wrapped up in cotton wool.

    I would really like the lazy MSM to get off their arses and dig back into their OWN archives to review the people’s attitudes of the time and contrast it to now. I’ve been waiting since 2011 for this and have yet to see one single article. Why is that?

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  24. Paulus (2,603 comments) says:

    Having had a large working portion of my life in insurance and having had many dealings with the likes of AMI senior management, it was continually inherent that Christchurch was precious, and so different from the rest of New Zealand.
    As a precious place with precious people no such thing as an earthquake could occur there. That nasty place called Wellington yes – but the eternal city – no.
    The arrogance that was there in the insurance industry was sad, but intransigent in their thinking.
    Now it is a political game against the Government to get back the seats it lost in the last election, This Government have done more from taxpayers money than any other country would have considered.
    Yes – I have spent many years dealing with insurance in other countries.

    As for the teachers who are part of the political bitching they will not accept that they have lost 9000 children from Christchurch. New ones will emerge into a system of over $1 billion of new and refurbished schools.
    Stupid as Stupid is – and they are called Teachers – poor pupils.

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  25. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    I gave a hitchiker a ride once. She was convinced that cutting teachers in Christchurch would mean schools woudn’t have teachers.

    She was so emphatic about it I didn’t feel like pointing out that the cuts would merely take the ratios down to what they were everywhere else.

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  26. scrubone (3,092 comments) says:

    niggly, it is my observation that the media are deliberatly digging up the people most likely to complain, and doing their best to get negitivity from those people.

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  27. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Interesting post. The letter’s first demand is for democratic elections. Bloody lefties! So the essence of the dispute is Democracy vs Herr Gerry. Not a surprise as to who DPF would back here.

    And the NZEI event is another exercise in democracy our host finds upsetting. Maybe we should put Herr Gerry in charge of education?

    [DPF:Luc time and time again you show you do not even read the posts you comment on. I explicitly said I oppose the Govt's decision on not holding ECan elections.

    And 30 demerits for Herr Gerry]

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  28. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    To everyone who responded to me….

    It wasn’t about backing up the government but the fact is sometimes decisions just have to be made. These decisions are the backbone of any decent leader. I’m not saying the government is this, I’m provoking thought on the wider issue – why aren’t they?

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  29. Mark (496 comments) says:

    Why wait to strike till Feb, why not strike now. Oh that right it school holidays and they wouldnt want to risk not getting paid during school holidays.

    NZ Govt should lock them out and not pay them. Teachers are the biggest drain on the NZ economy – losers.

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  30. willtruth (243 comments) says:

    DPF makes it sound like there was no choice but to demolish the buildings. Yes there was an effing earthquake in Christchurch. Just as there was an effing war in Europe in 1939 – 1945. In German cities they often made the decision to restore heritage buildings. In Britain they usually chose to demolish them and rebuild. We could have chosen the German way. But we chose the British way. And if you don’t care about heritage buildings that’s a perfectly logical choice. But please don’t try and say there wasn’t a choice.

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  31. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    willtruth –

    And elsewhere around New Zealand, there are innumerable old brick & stone masonry “heritage” buildings whose owners cannot find the money to strengthen them to even 67% of current seismic design code levels, let alone 100% that we are striving to encourage them to do. And these are buildings that have paying tenants in place, and are NOT damaged, and NOT unsafe to enter or even approach to work on.

    While the owners of these buildings are struggling to fund restoration and strengthening projects, it does not surprise me that the owners of damaged, empty, unsafe and semi-derelict old buildings in Chch cannot afford to do so.

    It is great to have pieces of our bricks & mortar heritage preserved. But all that costs money,which has to come from somewhere. And there doesn’t even appear to be money enough to save NZ’s greatest historic building (Chch Cathedral) so it doesn’t surprise me that preservation of many much lesser historic buildings hasn’t been pursued.

    On the other hand, if private building owners DID get their funding together and DID apply to CCC for building consent to carry out repair and strengthening schemes for their buildings, would CCC decline them?

    In other words – who, exactly, are this “they” who “should be doing more” here?

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  32. willtruth (243 comments) says:

    RRM. In poverty stricken post war Germany, I think it was a mixture of central and local government that funded the restoration work. The same thing would have been possible here. But the government here just has different priorities. It cares less about heritage buildings than the post war government in Germany did. That’s a perfectly legitimate set of priorities I suppose. But it is dishonest for DPF to try to make out like there was no choice here. There was a choice.

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  33. annie (539 comments) says:

    The one thing I never hear heritage enthusiasts talk about is: who will pay for restoring and retaining these buildings? And who will guarantee the safety of the public in the meantime?

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  34. Bullitt (139 comments) says:

    Annie, I dont think thats a valid argument. I would gladly pay far more than my fair share to restore the Christchurch Cathedral to look the same as it did pre quake (complete with extra earthquake strengthening as required). While I may be in the minority I have no doubt suffient funds could be raised in a very short time. The problem is we dont have the opportunity. If the church doesn’t want to do it someone else could step in and rebuild it for another purpose but that option has never been made available.

    Sure lots of heritage buildings have been lost forever but there are many more than could have been and continue to be saveable. In 50 years time any buildings built in 2012 will have minimal architectural value just like those built in the 1960s-70s dont. The turn of the century buildings are in a different class.

    Noone is saying we have to save all of them but those of sufficient merit should have every effort taken to save them (and in some cases even build exact replicas where there is sufficient merit such as the cathedral). To date that hasnt happened.

    These views have nothing to do with my political leanings. I just feel our early european culture is far too easily forgotten.

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  35. OneTrack (2,987 comments) says:

    “annie (482) Says:
    December 6th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    The one thing I never hear heritage enthusiasts talk about is: who will pay for restoring and retaining these buildings? And who will guarantee the safety of the public in the meantime?”

    That’s because it is always “somebody else” or “the government” ie anybody else except them.

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