Christchurch Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker is in China to attend the signing of the disastrous New Zealand - China Free Trade Agreement. He's taken his wife as well and he's also been joined by the vile Councillor Barry 'Baz' Corbett. All up, this little jaunt is costing the Christchurch ratepayer some $20,000.
Bob and Baz probably welcomed the trip to Beijing given their unpopularity in Christchurch.
Having putting council rents up a massive twenty-four percent Bob and Baz have been the subject of some unflattering letters in the local papers.
L Richards had this to say in the Christchurch Star (April 2): 'I trust that Mayor Parker, having pushed through this 'unavoidable' council decision in record time, will now do the decent thing and give up the mayoral Audi. It won't help us council tenants, but it might just give him and inkling of how we feel.'
Glen Livingstone, also in the Christchurch Star (April 2) invited Sideshow Bob 'to swap his apartment and recently increased remuneration, which will no doubt continue to increase, for a council flat and a fixed income.'
And Corbett's insulting comment that the increase for tenants was a smaller proportion than he paid for his mortgage (Corbett;'s house is valued over $300,000) also came in for a load of flak.
Y.H. Gerard, for example, described Corbett's remarks as 'tactless in the extreme' and displayed 'his total ignorance of how these people have to count every cent in an effort to get by'. (The Press, April 3)
But Sideshow Bob and 'Baz' Corbett have now waltzed off to China - where the Stalinist regime are presently busily killing Tibetan protesters.
What did Sideshow and Corbett have to say on the issue?
Sideshow insisted that this explicitly political trip was, in fact, 'not about politics' at all.
Corbett, when questioned by the media, passed the buck to Sideshow.
'Those (questions) are best answered by Bob.' said Corbett and then parroted a few words about 'peace and understanding' that had clearly been drafted for Corbett by Sideshow Bob's office.