The decision by the Christchurch City Council to give failed property developer Dave Henderson almost $17 million for five over-valued properties has defined this council as elitist, undemocratic and arrogant. As well, there is the strong odour of cronyism - of mates looking after mates - coming out of the office of Mayor Bob Parker.
After putting council rents up a massive twenty-four percent - because Parker and his council supporters claimed the council couldn't afford not to - it managed to find $17 million to purchase five properties from a developer whose companies owe millions to finance companies and owe money all over the town.
Parker denied this was a bailout. But if you buy five properties from a developer and then give him first refusal on buying then back, what else is it but a bailout? It is akin to a bridging loan, to tide you over the difficult times.
I understand that Henderson is already talking to creditors and using the council deal as leverage to buy more time.
And, once again, this was a major decision pushed through rapidly - as was the decision to buy the old Post Office building in Hereford Street and the decision to buy the 'rights' to the Ellerslie garden show.
Councillors had only a day to study a council report on the purchases -and they were not told how much Henderson had paid for the sites.
Sideshow Bob also ensured that each property purchase was voted on individually. In that way, because none of the purchases had a value of more than $5 million, no consultation was required.
Already the Auditor-General's office, which is considering investigating the deal, has raised questions about this bureaucratic slight of hand.
The familiar excuse coming from Parker and CEO Tony Marryatt is that a decision had to be made urgently and, consequently, there was no time to consult.
It appears though that this is a deliberate tactic from a mayor and council supporters who see consultation and accountability as inconvenient obstacles getting in the way of their plans and schemes. It's so much easier to cut the public out of the decision-making process altogether!
In this respect they have borrowed heavily from the book of Dave Henderson.
Henderson thinks 'the market' should previal: "Consultation as it has now been mandated is bullshit, it can't deliver and it will end up to be seen as one of the great follies of our times. The market is about what people do, consultation is about what they say they will do,''
By 'market' Henderson means, of course, people like him.
It is an elitist and arrogant attitude that he shares with Mayor Bob Parker and the eight councillors who rammed this appalling property deal through.
Anyone who heard Sue Wells on NewstalkZB on Tuesday will know what I mean.
Her attitude was arrogant, overbearing and condescending. She was right and everyone else was just 'stupid', 'misinformed' or a 'mischief maker'. And that, apparently, included Canterbury Chamber of Commerce head, Pete Townsend.
It was Labour minister Clayton Cosgrove who had to remind Wells that she was supposed to be a representative of the people who voted her on to council in the first place. I doubt though that was Wells was listening - she was too busy wondering why people couldn't just see that she was always right. It must be hard being so much brighter then everyone else.
Similarly her fellow Spreydon councillor Barry Corbett has also displayed the same contempt for people who dare to disagree with him.
Patting himself on the back, 'Bazza' Corbett preached to the Christchurch Star this week ; 'Quite often you will make decisions that are criticised but when they turn out to be right everybody wants to take the credit.'
Ah yes folks, - Bazza has vision while we critics are mere philistines. Who knew Corbett was a genius? What a hero. What a wanker.
And then throw into the mix the acrid smell of cronyism.
It's like an episode of that old sitcom Soap except without the laughs:
'Dave is a friend of Garry who has a son called Johnny who worked for Dave and who funded his election campaign then lied about it and Garry gets a job from Tony who is also friend of Dave and Garry talks to Bob and Bob talks to Tony and they both talk to Dave and Dave sells them some properties after Bob gets his council friends to come to the party but now the Auditor General is taking a look at it and people are angry and, meanwhile, Dave owes a lot of money all over the place..'