Did Lester reopen Wellington CBD too quickly?

The Dom Post editorial:

Mayor says “it’s not my job to create chaos or fear or hysteria.” Of course it’s not. But he wouldn’t have created any chaos or fear or hysteria if he had simply delayed his “business as usual” declaration for several days.

As it is, Lester reopened the central business district the day after a massive quake struck. He is now in the odd position that the more the city looks, the more trouble it finds, and the more buildings have to be evacuated.

It simply isn’t true that, as he said yesterday, “not that much has happened in the past few days.” More and more buildings are being evacuated, either as a precaution or as a result of apparent defects.

Lester says he took the decision on the advice of experts and even that Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee agrees with what he did.  But Brownlee said yesterday that he was “a little surprised, after closing the city on Monday, the decision was so very quick to say it was OK on Tuesday.”

Brownlee said he  was “unhappy about that, and we are going to have to talk to them.” And the politician is not the only veteran of the Christchurch earthquake to suggest that the mayor was too hasty.

It isn’t a great look to have had significant buildings deemed at risk of collapsing after the CBD reopened. They are a small proportion of the total, but they do pose a risk to neighbouring buildings – not just themselves.

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