Brownlee v Parker

The Press reports:

Earthquake Recovery Minister says calling Mayor a clown was “over the top” but reflects his frustration with the city council’s problems. …

In yesterday’s Christchurch Mail, Brownlee called Parker a “clown” over comments about possible rates rises in the city.

Parker told The Mail last week the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) Act allowed the Government to force the council to hike rates or sell off assets to fund the city’s recovery.

“Cera has the ability to say, `This is how you have to meet your costs, and can make us take measures such as raising rates or selling assets’,” the mayor said.

Treasury officials had made overtures to the council about a potential rates rise, Parker told The Mail.

Brownlee dismissed the remarks, saying the legislation did not allow the Government to make the council set a rate. “That’s an outrageous abdication of his responsibilities. The Cera Act specifically forbids that,” he told The Mail. 

Brownlee told The Press last night the clown remark was “probably over the top”, but was based on his frustration with Parker’s comments and the council’s problems. “We were going through a quite intense period of getting the council to recognise their responsibilities … I am sick and tired of the council running and telling people what we’re going to do.”

Ironically this will probably make Gerry more popular in Christchurch.

It seems clear the Mayor was incorrect in his comments. Having said that, the remark just adds fuel to an already difficult situation. Hopefully it won’t become a major issue.

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