A clear pattern has emerged under the regime of Christchurch Mayor Sideshow Bob - make decisions behind closed doors then get the council to rubberstamp them. And, at the same time, keep the Christchurch public out of the loop altogether.

Three recent major decisions illustrate this.

First, the decision to spend $2 million on acquiring the 'rights' to the Ellerslie Garden Show. That deal was effectively made by Sideshow Bob Parker without it even going to council.

Secondly, the decision to spend $105 million on new council offices was made at breakneck speed. The councillors were given only twelve hours notice that the massive commercial project would be on the agenda of the final council meeting - and the councillors were only provided details at the meeting itself.

Sideshow Bob's lame excuse for this rushed decision was that it was 'use it or lose it' deal so a decision had to be made immediately. The building in question though - the old Post Office building in Hereford Street - had been empty for years with its owners, Nga Tahu, unable to find anyone to take it off their hands.

And now we have the decision to bail out failed developer Dave Henderson by buying five of his central city properties at the cost of some $17 million.

Once again this purchase was pushed through at a rapid rate of knots. 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 $5 million, no consultation was required.

Council CEO Tony Marryatt, who is acting more and more like a thirteenth councillor, claimed a decision had to be immediately because there was 'a danger' that the five properties would be broken into smaller lots or developed as 'big box retail'.

Marryatt's claim is hollow because it is well know that Henderson is having difficulty selling his properties.

In the end the Christchurch ratepayers have ended up paying Henderson virtually what he paid for them - despite the fact the property market has collapsed. And, what's more, 'Hendo' has first refusal on buying the properties back.

And, ominously, the council have also agreed to use Henderson's 'services'.

It is a sweetheart deal for Henderson and a mighty kick in the pants for the people of Christchurch..

But Parker (and Marryatt's) method of operation is certainly in line with Henderson's philosophy.

In ex-mayor Garry Moore's farewell book Henderson preaches that consultation has proved to be 'a huge brake on inner city action'.

Henderson says: "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,''

And it appears that Sideshow Bob and his councils supporters are following Hendo's undemocratic and elitist philosophy.

And, not surprisingly, it's Henderson who is the ultimate beneficiary.


  1. Act, Big Money, Ayn Rand and all that.

  2. What an unfair observation. Why, the CCC website invites all sorts of consultation, on the big issues, like:

    Stanley Park - Management Plan Process

    Private Plan Change 37 - Call for further submissions to the submissions received.

    St Leonards Park Tree Renewal Programme and Landscape Upgrade


    How could you say that ratepayers are not included in the running of the city! It's only a few million dollars - Garry, Bob, and Tony know what is best for us all.


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