Monday 13th June may be a turning point in the 9 month (and counting!) saga. Questions raised way back in September 2010 and the issues reiterated at the Rally for Christchurch in April 2011 still remain largely unanswered. Deadlines of getting heating to the most vunerable before winter have been missed, demolition progress criticised and days before the 5.7 and 6.3 shocks the media were only just beginning to recognise the growing angerthat has been rippling through our community.
Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker responded to 5.7 aftershock with an interview on radio ZB where he dismissed the idea that people had had enough, rehashing the exhausted line that we’re a ‘tough bunch’. Shortly after the 6.3 he spoke first of the CBD and the numerous buildings that had been effected and how it will ‘speed up the demolition work’. Both points illustrate how out of touch he and the official line has been. The mainstream media have at least recognised that many of us couldn’t care less about the CBD and focused primarily on the Eastern Suburbs and residents of Sumner and Lyttleton. What they found were salt of the earth people, maddened by the lack of information and increasing level of uncertainty.
The Local TV News – real articles, real people article found on this site describes the “white noise” of the media. We all witnessed the news flashes, the extended news coverage and eye witness accounts throughout talk back radio and t.v, but basic information such as boiling water before drinking, conserving water and power wasn’t made clear until hours after the event. This information is potentially life and death yet there is still no clear line of communication from the governing bodies to the people on the street.
Brian Tut of the Bexley Residence Association today, Wednesday 15th June, on Radio NZ stated that people are “getting close to the tipping point”. He described how “Mr Key says he has sympathy for us, Mr Brownlee says their doing their best…we seem to be going around in circles…CERA has a corporate uniform, perhaps that shows their priorities are in the wrong place.” Profit and contracts before the welfare of people?…
…Well if we look at how quickly Fletchers gained the contract to rebuild residential homes since September and the growing frustrations felt by trades people and property owners alike, it certainly suggests back scratching has been going on. The people behind the scenes of Fletchers is a line up of ‘who’s who’ of New Zealand’s top influential figures.
Corporations and Government’s around the World have been watching closely as to how the fledgling EQC and Earthquake Recovery Minister Brownlee respond. This goes some way to explain how an Insurance Company can be bailed out with public money (because it can’t uphold it’s basic agreement to it’s investors – to compensate them when they need it) while 1000’s of families are left to shelter in broken – potential death trap – homes in the winter chill.
Brownlee, the EQC and CERA have been awarded the greatest level of authority, they are the judge, jury and executioner of the Canterbury Plains. They have now admitted they know what area’s have to be bulldozed with maps drawn out months ago, why hold on to this? Why not give us an idea what we can expect and let us move forward…instead we have a smug Brownlee telling us in recent days, it “should be blindingly obvious” which suburbs will be targeted. We’ve known it, for many since September, for many more since February and yet we’re still waiting to see what’s behind the closed doors. The recent shakes and the Government’s indifference to people’s concerns may just prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Gordon Campbell wrote in Scoop – “In September, the year-long accommodation supplements will start to run out for many. What is Key planning do then (if anything) to help people who will be as much as six months to a year ( or more) away from significant repairs to their homes, and/or a complete rebuild? Thousands of Christchurch people will shortly have to face the full blast of (a) servicing their mortgage (b) while paying for alternative accommodation while (c) being without an income stream from a job while (d) they haggle with EQC and their insurance companies for relief. How exactly does the Key government propose to stand by them? Especially given that as time goes by, the government’s initial response – the wage subsidy scheme – looks to have been mere tokenism, and nothing more.”
A 5.7 and 6.3 aftershock in the space of a couple of hours is enough to warrant a visit from Brownley and Key, a few extended media coverages and numerous news flashes – what will it take to actually get the answers we so desperately need to move forward?
Meanwhile the citizens of Christchurch are busy rolling up their sleeves and digging out the silt from their homes and gardens for the fifth or sixth time since September. So many people have stood up and gone the extra mile, grass root – community groups have sprung up throughout the city and these are the hero’s of this seemingly endless story…
Kia kaha Christchurch!