Hon MARYAN STREET (Labour) to the Minister of Civil Defence: What is the basis for according priority to entry of the red zone in the Christchurch central business district?
Hon Maryan Street: How many business owners and residents are still unable to access their offices and homes in the red zone?
Hon JOHN CARTER: I do not have that information to hand. The member can put the question in writing if she wishes to find out that information.
Hon Maryan Street: How many business owners could have been given access to equipment and records that are vital to restarting their businesses, if time and resources had not been diverted to escorting the Prime Minister through the red zone on repeated occasions?
If Labour thinks they will win the election by complaining that the Prime Minister is allowed access to a restricted area, they really are deranged.
I actually have great sympathy for local business owners who are frustrated at being unable to access their businesses. But to try and blame this on the fact the PM has had access is sad and rather pathethic.
In case it needs to be stated, the Prime Minister is the person who will primarily make the major decisions on the earthquake recovery. He decided to call a state of national emergency, he decided on relief packages for employers and employees, he will make decisions on many things related to the earthquake. No one can seriously think he should not be able to see the earthquake damage first hand.
If Labour wanted to complain about people being shown around the earthquake zone, who shouldn’t have been, I’ve got a name for them the stupid hypocrites. Helen Clark.
I actually had resisted criticising Clark’s private tour around the earthquake zone up until now, because I think her request was made with good motives. But for fuck’s sake if Labour is going to attack the PM for being given access, then Clark’s visit is fair game.
As I said, I think Clark’s private visit was asked for in good faith. Rather than merely give her a private visit, what I would have suggested in response was that all the former PMs visit together – Palmer, Moore, Bolger, Shipley and Clark. That would have been a really nice symbol of unity – as Clinton and Bush 41 were in the US.