The news ricocheted across the city yesterday morning, like a thunderclap.
Despite all the soothing tones of reassurance, despite all the varnished rhetoric that the big bad wolf of revocation would be kept from the council door, International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) has walked the talk and blown the house down.
The Christchurch City Council has incurred the unique and ignominious distinction of becoming the nation’s first consenting authority to be stripped of its accreditation.
On the day that the IANZ letter, outlining their intention to revoke, was brought to the public’s attention by the Earthquake Recovery Minister, the Christchurch mayor’s first reflex was to absolve the council of any blame or responsibility.
He slammed Gerry Brownlee for launching a ”media missile”, and he accused the Government of ”undermining public confidence in the council”.
And that is something I doubt he will recover from. Up until the Govt made it public, the Council itself wasn’t aware they were on the verge of losing accreditation. And Parker attacked the Government for their transparency.
In the wake of such embellished bravado, the political fallout for Bob Parker is thunderous. Just three months out from election day, it’s a hell of a black eye. But beyond the political ramifications, this is a withering hammerblow to our sense of trust in the council.
Would you trust them to be straight with you?
Late last week, the council’s senior management were trumpeting all of the progress they’d made to ward off and neutralise the compliance concerns IANZ had flagged.
But as the council brass back-slapped themselves into believing that all was well in the state of Denmark, ministers Gerry Brownlee and Maurice Williamson were busily deploying contingency plans, just in case the council was duly defrocked.
Now that the nightmare scenario has become a reality, we should learn more about those plans tomorrow. But a show of accountability would also help clear the head.
So, now that the good ship Christchurch has hit the rocks, stripped of its accreditation for one its most critical functions, who will resign?
I think the Chief Executive has to go. Consenting is a core function of Council, and losing accreditation is a management failure. This was not a surprise – IANZ had been warning for over a year.