On a Monday April 28 an attempt will be made to overturn Sideshow's Bob's plan to increase Christchurch council rents by a massive twenty-four percent.
This decision has generated a great deal of community anger but the vote at council level will be close.
So far, five councillors say they will be voting to replace the twenty-four percent increased with a more modest five percent while it appears a definite four councillors will vote against the motion.
At the March 24 council meeting the vote was 9-4 in favour of the massive rent hike.
Some councillors now they believe they were not presented with enough information and that the decision was steamrolled by Sideshow Bob and his council supporters, who prevented alternative proposals. being presented to the council.
One councillor who thinks sticking council tenants with a twenty four percent increase is just dandy is Councillor Susan Wells.
Although she told the March 24 council meeting that she was 'struggling' with a twenty four percent she still voted for it.
Clearly she has got over her 'struggle' because she will not support the proposal to decrease the increase to five percent.
Councillor Wells, who is on a salary of some $83,000, is the councillor who famously told the Christchurch Star that if ratepayers wanted to talk to her they could talk to her in the supermarket or while she was gardening.
Wells is not known for being a hardworking councillor. She, along with fellow Spreydon councillor Barry 'What's wrong with killing taggers?' Corbett, is extremely unpopular in her ward.
Deputy Mayor Norm Withers has come out against Mayor Parker saying that 'not enough information' was provided for the original decision. He is in favour of a five percent increase. Well done, Norm!
Sideshow Bob argued that the increase was needed to cover repair and maintain council properties.
This argument is nonsense.
Christchurch City Council Holdings (CCHL) fully owns City Care, which is responsible for maintaining council flats.
However CCHL is forecasting a massive $38 million dividend for the year commencing the 1 July - the very day rents are set to rise.
Sideshow Bob and his cronies say that this dividend helps to keep rates down.
But as Wigram MP and cabinet minister Jim Anderton has pointed out:
“What is happening is that the council is charging higher rents for the most vulnerable people in order to help keep rates for everyone else down. The higher rents mean council’s own maintenance company can charge more and contribute to increased profits for its holding company and keep rates down.’
It appears...that the council has moved from breaking even on housing after recovering its costs and cost of capital, to making a profit. The community should at least have been given a chance to contest those decisions.”
Interestingly, none other than property developer Dave Henderson (and Parker supporter)has recently been offering his opinion on council housing. He's arguing for 'business' involvement in council housing - eg people like him.