The Press reported:
Christchurch 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 earthquake. 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 earthquake.
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.