The few supporters of failed property developer Dave Henderson often refer to 'Hendo' as a 'visionary.'

People like Mayor Bob Parker and Councillor Sue Wells claim that Henderson has been good for the central city and invariably cite his South of Lichfield (SOL) development as evidence of this.

Henderson's critics, such as architect Peter Beaven, say that SOL has simply become another venue for binge drinking and general mayhem.

It also seems that SOL has been a popular venue for underage drinking.

Five bars within SOL have been caught selling alcohol to teenagers.

The four bars are The Fish and Chip Shop, Cartel, His Lordships, Fat Eddies and Ishimito.

In March the poilce sent two teenagers (aged 16 and 17 years) into a number of central city bars during a controlled operation.

The Liquor Licensing Authority heard that, on all four occasions, the teenagers were served alcohol in the SOL bars. None of the bar staff asked to see identification.

As a consequence, the four general managers at the SOL bars have had their licenses suspended for 30 days. The bars were also suspended from selling alcohol for set periods of time, ranging from 24 hours to three days.

The Cartel bar is part-owned by Johnny Moore who is the son of former mayor Garry Moore. The ex-mayor is working for the Christchurch City Council as a private consultant on 'urban renewal'.

It's ironic that Mayor Bob Parker and his council supporters claim they want to 'renew' the central city but, at the same time, are financially assisting a failed developer whose 'major' development is the scene of binge - and underage - drinking.

Very 'visionary'...


Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker drives around in a $100,000 Audi which he got from one his election campaign backers - John Fairhall of Archibalds Cars.

Now another one of his election backers is in the spotlight.

Nuk Korako gave $5000 to Sideshow Bob's election campaign. Sideshow Bob has described his campaign backers as 'good people'.

Fairhall said he supported Parker because he was a 'very market orientated person'.

Korako, a travel agent, is also the chairman of the Rapaki Marae Development Board. The board is asking for $400,000 from the Christchurch City Council as a contribution to its new $2.7 million marae in Lyttelton.

Sideshow Bob, clearly rattled by the public reaction to the $17 million bailout of failed property developer Dave Henderson, opted out of voting on the funding issue.

The rest of the council though decided not to vote on the funding and the matter has now gone to a 'working party' to 'explore funding options'.


The Ali Jones Show on Newstalk ZB has been wanting to ask Sideshow Bob Parker a few pertinent questions on the $17 million bailout of failed property developer Dave Henderson.

But the unpopular Christchurch mayor says he's unavailable.

One of his lackeys has told the Ali Jones Show that his diary is booked out ‘for the foreseeable future’.

That’s like Dave Henderson telling a creditor that ‘the cheque is in the mail’.

However Sideshow Bob has found time in his busy schedule to greet local Olympic athletes arriving at Christchurch airport - where he will no doubt be on the lookout for photo opportunities...


Following closely on the heels of the job losses announced at the Cadbury factory in Dunedin, Fairfax have announced that 165 jobs will be lost among its nine New Zealand newspapers, including The Press and the Dominion.

These job losses have come after Fairfax announced, including its Australian operation, a A$386.9 million profit for the year ended June 29 – a leap of some 47 percent.

The New Zealand end of the operations posted annual earnings before tax of $191.6 million, up 3.1 percent.

Once again, there has been no response from the Labour Government and a deafening silence among pro-Labour bloggers.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little is a good Labour man and he won’t be rocking the boat.

The gutless Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union have released a press release condemning the job losses, but that’s about all we will get from the pro-Labour EPMU.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little is a good Labour man and he won’t be rocking the boat.

As he did over the Air New Zealand and the Fisher and Paykel redundancies, Little will huff and puff a bit - but that's all.


While Cadbury are all set to fire 145 workers at its Dunedin factory, the confectionary corporate recorded a 46 percent rise in first half profits. It's profits for the first half of the year rose to £223million, or approximately $700 million.

Chief Executive Todd Stitzer told the media last month: "No matter how bleak economies look, people always go for treats and that's why we have seen no real slowdown in the first half and we see confectionery as a robust category in difficult economic conditions,"

Economic analysts commented that Cadbury had turned in a 'strong performance'.

Last year Cadbury announced it was going to cut 7,500 jobs worldwide.

While Cadbury's Australian PR people were trying to 'sell' job losses in this country (including some corporate propaganda masquerading as television and radio 'interviews'), they were also announcing redundancies in Australia.

Workers at its Hobart factory were told that 160 of them would be looking for new jobs come 2009. The Hobart factory presently has a total workforce of some 700 people.

Other jobs are to go in Victoria as well.

Anne Urqhart from the Manufacturing Workers Union says the effect of the job losses will be felt across all of Tasmania.

' It will create huge economic problems for Tasmania without that level and capacity of income going back into the community."

Cadbury in Dunedin have been the recipients of some generous rates relief from the Dunedin City Council. It's proved to be nothing more than corporate welfare - all the workers have received is low wages and redundancy slips.

The reaction of the local unions - following the CTU line of not 'embarrassing' the Labour Government - has been less than impressive.

Service and Food Workers Union southern region secretary Campbell Duignan, a man who would clearly rival David Brent for ineptness, said that there appeared to be ' some acceptance' of the job losses. Unless he had talked to the entire workforce then Duignan was just making this up.

Duignan even found something positive in the fact that the job losses would not happen for a few months.

'It certainly could be worse,' said Duignan, who is on salary of over $60,000 per year.

Cadbury probably think that Duignan is a pleasure to work with.


This is clever and a bit of a laugh..


When he is in trouble, one of Dave Henderson’s favourite tactics is to deny everything.

Here’s another example.

An elderly Queenstown couple, Alex and Thelma Dickson, are taking legal action against our man Hendo for $500,000, plus interest and costs, over a $1.3 million Gibbston property deal

Alex Dickson – who’s almost 80 – says Henderson’s company Anthem Holdings has failed to repay a $500,000 loan due six months ago.

When the Dicksons sold their historic Gibbston property to Anthem for $1.3m two years ago, they were paid $800,000 – the other $500,000 was loaned as a second mortgage to Anthem, with Henderson providing a personal guarantee.

“The money became due last February,” says Alex Dickson.

He also says Henderson stopped paying interest on the loan about March.

“I want the money and I want Henderson to honour his commitment.”, he told Queenstown's Scene newspaper

Guess what? Henderson denies he owes them half a million dollars.

Pontificates Dave: “I’ve got some issues with all of that and I hope they can be resolved in a full and proper way.'

What 'issues', Dave? They wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you are in debt up to your eyeballs?

Alex Dickson has health problems. He had a stroke some two years ago and travels to Dunedin every week for the treatment of an ulcer in the eye.

Now he has 'the curse of Henderson' to deal with.


When Cadbury – from somewhere deep in Australia – announced that 145 workers were going to lose their jobs at its Dunedin factory, the silence was deafening. Even the Cadbury workers themselves said nothing.

Although Cadbury denied it, the work staff were told not to talk to the media, and most of them didn’t. Why? Because it was probably an attempt to shorten their odds of being one of the unlucky people who get sent down the road. Best not let the boss catching us talking to a journalist, eh?

Although Cadbury are in the chocolate business there’s nothing sweet about their attitude to their workers. Like other major corporations, its all about profit margins and dividends.

As usual when job losses are announced we also got exactly no response from the Labour Government.

Of course this isn’t surprising – they are, after all, the prime architects of the free market and free trade policies that have wrecked the economy.

And Labour supporters have kept their mouths shut too, just like they do on most embarrassing issues.

On the one hand they pontificate about ‘social justice’ and berate the National Party for being in league with big business, all the while turning a blind eye to job losses at companies like Cadbury and Fisher and Paykel.

It’s rank hypocrisy and they’re not even embarrassed about it!

I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll be reading some pro-Labour blogger telling me that Labour ‘cares’ for ordinary people – as opposed to nasty John Key, who only cares for big business.

They are as bad as their mates in the trade union hierarchy, presently busy trying to keep the industrial scene quiet so in order to boost Labour’s re-election chances.

Meanwhile the pathetic Greens get even more pathetic. Unable to make a stand on anything substantial, in case they annoy Helen, they are reduced to organising guided tours of the supermarket where ‘consumers’ can learn to be more ‘conscious and ethical.’ Well, that’s what militant firebrand and Green MP Sue Kedgely was doing last week.

But at least one party has spoken out.

Once again the Alliance takes the lead in speaking out for ordinary people.

This is what Alliance Dunedin North candidate Victor Billot said:

“We are seeing a slow motion disaster for working people as secure jobs evaporate in Dunedin and throughout the nation as major players like Fisher and Paykel and Cadbury shut down plant and lay off the workforce.”

He went on to say:

“We have to start asking ourselves whether we need a system where working people and communities control and own these enterprises rather than to be continually cast aside and have their lives disrupted. We need a regulated economy with a strong local manufacturing base, where secure jobs are seen as more important than private profit.”

“New Zealand’s economic base is on the fast track to becoming a farm with a golf course in the back paddock. That is not the recipe for an advanced 21st century society, that is a recipe for an imbalanced economy and a wealth and social class divide.”

Well said, Victor. At last someone actually saying something relevant.


The proliferation of binge drinking and big noise in Henderson’s Lichfield Lane development and general nuisance prohibits quiet inner city living.

When a noted and influential New Zealand architect speaks out on urban matters, then I listen. Peter Beaven is a man who knows what he’s talking about.

This is what Beaven had to say on the ‘Henderson affair’, in a letter published in today’s Press newspaper:

The scandalous purchase by Christchurch City Holdings of the five central city sites owned by struggling developer Dave Henderson is defended by the Mayor as a vital move to protect the city centre sites from inappropriate development that could jeopardise plans to regenerate central Christchurch.

The council’s ability to allow every big box development in the outer areas contributed to the inner city decline, and its inability to create a City Plan that allows real urban design for the inner city makes this a hollow excuse indeed.

The proliferation of binge drinking and big noise in Henderson’s Lichfield Lane development and general nuisance prohibits quiet inner city living.

Is this the appropriate development that Parker is looking for?

I was involved in a recent development plan for one of Henderson’ sites, and the market value of the site was estimated then at only 60 percent of the stated price Christchurch City Holdings has just paid.

Further, Tony Marryatt, the council’s CEO, says the Henderson site at $4 million cost is sweetened by the inclusion of $6 million for plans and resource consents.

In a long career I have never even imagined getting fees and consents at one and a half times the land value.

This is Alice in Wonderland. We need a rigorous inquiry into all this.


I've posted this video before - I think - but I thought, in the light of recent developments, it was worth another spin.

It was produced by 'the pegasus boys' and first appeared on You Tube back in September last year - shortly before the council elections.


Property Dave Henderson has often said that his ‘vision’ for central Christchurch ‘dovetails’ with that of Mayor Bob Parker – as it did with former mayor Garry Moore (now advising the Christchurch City Council as a ‘private consultant’ on ‘urban renewal.’)

What is that plan? Essentially Henderson and Parker want to drive 30,000 people into living in the city – into what Henderson loftily describes as a ‘classic mixed use urban neighbourhood.’

This was the scheme Moore pushed and his successor – Parker- is continuing to pursue this futile plan

If the plan was ever fulfilled all it would have done is create urban ghettos and push up house prices even more.

But it’s a plan that has been accepted uncritically by Parker’s supporters on the council.

Fortunately though, it’s never going to happen.

The reality is the Christchurch business district is now a beast that can’t be tamed.

It is the product of long years of council incompetence and inaction that has allowed large malls to be built in all areas of the city.

Henderson’s vision – of building bars and cafes in city alleyways and refitting old offices with cheap apartments – is not going to change this.

Parker often talks of creating a ‘metropolitan city centre’ – but this is a big town of some 300,000 people. It’s not London. It’s not New York. It’s not even Melbourne.

But Parker and his council supporters continue with this folly. At the same time they have allowed property developers to run riot in the suburbs. Character houses have been demolished to be replaced by nasty concrete boxes.

Meanwhile Henderson continues to blow hot air about his ‘mixed urban environment’.

Some of his fans mistake his grandiose bluster for ‘vision’. That would be okay except Henderson’s House of Cards is always built on other people’s money. Like the small investors in Hanover Finance and Dominion Finance for instance.

Now his pals in the Christchurch City Council have given him $17 million of ratepayer’s money so he can attempt to carry on with his folly.


The Office of the Auditor-General has confirmed it will investigate a property deal the Christchurch City Council made with a developer.

The council is spending almost $17 million to buy five properties from developer. Dave Henderson.

The move has drawn criticism from those who believe Mr Henderson contributed to Bob Parker's successful mayoral campaign, and council guidelines were ignored so the deal could get passed.

Eight formal complaints have been made to the Auditor General and the office confirmed on Wednesday it will hold a formal investigation.

The agency it has begun by looking into the council's decision-making processes.

-Radio New Zealand News


Since arriving back from Beijiing, Sideshow Bob Parker has been keeping a low profile.

A man always on the lookout for some media publicity ('announcing the purchase of the Ellerslie Garden Show, his 'stand' against boy racers), Sideshow Bob has not been at all keen to promote the purchase of $17 million worth of over-valued properties from failed developer Dave Henderson.

Sideshow has been evading media questioning, declining to be interviewed by both The Press and by the Ali Jones Show on NewstalkZB.

If this is such a fantastic deal as Bob claims, one would of expected him to be out there publicising it to the wider Christchurch community. But - not a word.

Clearly Sideshow Bob is hoping that the whole affair will just go away. Of course, he also thought that if the purchase was announced on a Friday afternoon - while he was in Beijiing - it would somehow slip through without scrutiny. A bad miscalculation on Bob's part.

There is, however, a pathetic defence of the shonky property purchase on his mayoral website.

Also on his website Bob says he always interested on hearing from us, so readers can leave Sideshow an appropiate message if they want..


As usual Dave Henderson is blaming someone else for the the controversy that has erupted over the shonky property deal he did with the Christchurch City Council.

This time that 'someone' is the media: "I think most of it is hysteria whipped up by the media. There's no seriously intellectual discussion. In three months it will be forgotten and I'll be a whipping boy for something else.' (National Business Review, August 17.)

That's right Dave, its just one big media beat-up orchestrated by people who have nothing better to do with their time.

Meanwhile the Henderson deal has gone down like a bucket of cold vomit with the local business sector.

Local developer John Pike has comented: "It's criminal. Everyone I've spoken to is just gobsmacked. It's extraordinary. You'll be surprised how many people are outraged. They're saying 'how can it be stopped?'" (National Business Review, August 17).

Of the five properties bought Pike says: '"No one wants these properties, they're not strategic. They have all been passed over by the private sector. They've been on the market for ages."

Yet, of course, both Sideshow Bob and his right hand man Tony Marryatt have claimed that the properties had to be bought quickly just in case someone else nipped in and got them in a firesale.

Pike adds: "We're funding developments we don't need or want. I don't Know if it's stupidity or corruption. It seems to be a repeat of the Turners & Growers sale to Wellington developers under [former mayor] Garry Moore. But nothing's happened on that site in four years."

Meanwhile Henderson has a date in the High Court in a fortnight when there will be a move to wind up Property Ventures and Five Mile (which is in recivership).

Smith Crane and Construction, which began proceedings, say that supporting creditors repersented about $5 million worth of unpaid debts by Henderson's companies.

And this is the guy Sideshow Bob and his council lackeys intend to use in a 'consultancy' role! Talk about letting the fox loose in the henhouse!

Finally, there is a rumor that local businessman Tim Glasson, with an eye on liquidation proceedings, has put in an offer of some $40 million for South of Lichfield.


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..'

Stay tuned!


Failed property developer Dave Henderson says he never contributed financially to any candidate in the 2007 local body elections - but he isn't telling the truth.

He donated money to the election campaign of Johnny Moore, the son of outgoing mayor Garry Moore.

In 2007 Johnny Moore stood for the Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board but he wasn't elected. Henderson appears to have been the sole financial contributor to his campaign, donating $1250. (see Johnny Moore's election declaration above. Click on the image to bring up the larger version).

Yesterday Henderson e-mailed The Press to confirm he had not made any political donations to last October's local elections.

"The answer is no, I didn't. Actually, I didn't support anyone last election,' he said.


Councillor Sue Wells, not known for her modesty, has arrogantly dismissed the Christchurch public's opposition to the Henderson deal as 'stupid' and 'silly'.

Wells, like her fellow ward councillor Barry Corbett, is deeply unpopular with the people she is supposedly representing.

Dismissing the concerns of ratepayers who pay her inflated salary is par for the course for a councillor who famously told the Christchurch Star last year that if people wanted to talk to her they could do so while she was gardeniNG or in the supermarket!

This from a woman who campaigned on 'accountability' and the importance of 'consultation'!

She also voted to increase council rents by twenty-four percent after claming she had 'stuggled' with the increase.

Wells can be contacted at


Can there presently be a more unpopular New Zealand city council than the Christchurch City Council?

Already the subject of an Ombudsman inquiry on its decison to put up council rents by a massive twenty-four percent, it now looks like its decision to spend $17 million on five over-valued Dave Henderson properties will be the subject of an inquiry by the Auditor-General.

The Auditor General's office has received several complaints abut the shonky deal and will decide next week whther it will investigate.

Once again there has been more PR bluster from Christchurch CEO Tony Marryatt, intruding once again into the political domain. He claims that the decision will 'stand scrutiny'- but this is the guy who constantly refers to Henderson as 'Dave'.

Meanwhile the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce has demanded more information about the deal and called it a "knee-jerk response".

They'd like to know, for example, where the $17 million is coming from - since it was never budgeted for.

And what of Mayor Sideshow Bob? He's still in Beijiing. When the going gets tough - well, Sideshow Bob is nowhere to be seen..


Failed property developer Dave Henderson will be fronting up on Newstalk ZB this morning, as he attempts to justify why he should of received $17 million of ratepayers money for five over-valued properties.

Joining Hendo will be one of the councillors who gave him the money - Susan Wells. Perhaps she drew the short straw.

Representing the Labour Government will be local MP Clayton Cosgrove and Pete Townsend of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce will be there to outline the concerns of his organisation about the deal.

The debate can be heard on the Ali Jones show at 10.00am.

It can also be heard through the NewstalkZB website at

The line-up is a little disappointing.

Wells is one of Parker's cronies so we know what kind of drivel we will get from her.

Townsend, while critical of the property deal, continues to claim that Hendo is some kind of urban visionary - he appears to have conveniently forgotten that Henderson is also one of the main reasons that finance companies Dominion Finance and Hanover have got into trouble. Thanks to developers like Henderson defaulting on loans , 'small mum and dad' investors will only get some of their money back, if that.

That ain't 'visionary', Pete.

Hopefully Cosgrove will stick it to the shambolic Henderson...


On Monday 11 August NewstalkZB's Ali Jones talked with Bob Parker about the Christchurch City Council's decision to buy five central city properties from failed property developer Dave Henderson. The full interview is published here.

ALI JONES:On the line from Beijing, Mayor - Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker. Good morning, Bob.

BOB PARKER:Good morning, Ali.

ALI JONES:I do appreciate you're being available. I know it's, what, twenty past five in the morning there?

BOB PARKER:It's just a wee bit early, yes. Yes. But there is a - there are signs of - there are signs of light outside the window. Don't know if there are any signs of life out there yet, but now it does feel pretty early.

ALI JONES:All right. Well, I do appreciate you're being available. On the issue of the purchase of Dave Henderson's buildings, how long did the councillors have to consider the deal? When where they told of the plans.

BOB PARKER:Well, the - we've probably had about a three or four day period to work through all of the issues. I've been trying to tally up the number of hours we would have spent on it. Now, it's a very short time frame. That was the - that was the background to the event, we had to move quickly. But we would have spent, conservatively, probably 10 hours or so discussing this as a group. One person I spoke to actually felt it was more like about 15 hours, but we spent a lot of time talking about it, answering questions and so forth, very long sessions. There were a lot of important questions to be asked. We had our legal counsel present with us and our planning people as well, as we worked our way through the - the issues, the potentials and the potential costs as well.

ALI JONES:Not all the councillors were there, of course?

BOB PARKER:Couple of councillors are away at the moment, so they obviously weren't part of the discussions. On the day of the debate, our deputy mayor, for personal reasons, family reasons, was unable to be with us and he had a leave of absence from that meeting. And I think at one of the very first meetings, possibly Councillor Williams wasn't at that meeting.

I think she was engaged in something else and maybe was late arriving to one of the sessions. So, for those of us who took part in the actual debate there was a lot of time, albeit over a short time frame.

ALI JONES:This is a major spend and a major issue, Bob. You've got councillors not there, the deputy mayor not there. Why on earth could this not have been rescheduled at a time where you could have had more people voting on it?

BOB PARKER:A very simple reason and that was there was, in the background, looming up, what effectively amounted to the beginning of a wind-up process around those properties that we were interested in. We needed to get in before the process went to the courts. And, you know, basically, if we didn't move in that time what could have happened was that these sites would have gone to some kind of a wind-up process, a sort of a mortgagee fire sale, free-for-all I guess you would call it.

And that would have meant, potentially, the sites would have been split up or bought by people who would have used them for inappropriate development purposes. For example, you know, we don't need another tilt slab, big box disaster happening in the middle of our beautiful city, basically, and we needed to move to protect those sites. They're absolutely key to the central city urban regeneration program that we're working on.

ALI JONES:Isn't the best mechanism for controlling development through the city plan, not buying millions of dollars worth of property that might be developed unsympathetically?

BOB PARKER:Yes, that would be ideal, but we didn't have the time to move on that and make a change to the city plan the kinds of control…

ALI JONES:No, no, Bob, the city plan issue - sorry to interrupt. This city plan issue has been an issue for at least the last decade, possibly 15 years. There's tilt slab rubbish going up in suburbs all over Christchurch. Zoning has been an issue. I would suggest to you that the council has been remiss in not dealing with the city plan at a much, much earlier stage. And you're now in a position, setting a dangerous precedent, of buying properties from developers in order to protect the city when the city plan should be doing that.

BOB PARKER:The city plan, ideally, would do it, but - and we are working our way through a lot of those issues. But you need to understand that a city plan process of significant change would require a variation that could take between two and three years, depending on the number challenges you've got to it. So, we didn't have the luxury of time in this case and these are very, very key properties to the urban regeneration program, and we needed to move quickly in order to protect them.

We're not in there to be land developers. We're in there because we had a long term vision for our city. We've had a large number of discussions with community and business about the shape of the central city, you can look at the number of strategies and papers that we have and there is a time when actually you do need to act. And for us, this was definitely one of those times. And the majority of the councillors present supported that idea, supported the vision, supported the need to move quickly.

ALI JONES:Will you now be putting the city plan and the issues that are obviously creating what is actually a pretty, I would suggest, unacceptable situation where developers can now come to you and say, hey look, I've got a bit of land here, I'm going to turn it into tilt slab, you'd better buy it from me - you've set a precedent, there is no denying. You are now going to put the city plan at the forefront of discussions with the council and get it sorted?

BOB PARKER:The city plan is at the forefront of discussions with council and we are getting it sorted, but it's a massive process to work through. And we're talking about a very clearly defined area of the inner city and, in fact, if someone else in that same area was facing a similar set of issues, we would certainly look very closely at it. These are prime sites. They are sites that already had a significant amount of development work done, in terms of planning; intellectual property, which is part of the purchase, comes to council.

We want to put a master plan in place over these areas in a very specific way and that means we can then release those properties back on to the market and we can be sure of the outcome of them. And that's what we've done.

We've moved, because we need to be sure of the outcome on several very key sites in the downtown area and that's about the future of the city. And I could, you know, talk about why it is that we need to do that and, fundamentally, we're - we have to build the city which can compete favourably with other cities in New Zealand and around the world for our young people, to get our young people home to create a new urban environment…

ALI JONES:Okay. Right. I - I understand that, Bob.

BOB PARKER:I mean, so, it's a very, very focused area of the city that we're talking about.

ALI JONES:Okay. Well, it's actually not that focused, cause we go into Sydenham as well, which is way over the avenues.

BOB PARKER:Well, that - okay. That - but that's a different situation again.

ALI JONES:Ah, okay.

BOB PARKER:There we have a site that had already got a complete plan, all of the consents were in place, and we knew that there were people out there who wanted to buy that site in Sydenham for a big box development. So, in that case there was a site that had already been discussed with the community by the developer, there was an ideal outcome, an example of what the sort of new urban intensification, a mixture of retail and residential, so it was very, very advanced. And it is a different situation to that one, but it's still about putting something in place which can protect an outcome.

ALI JONES:Where are you borrowing the money from, Bob?

BOB PARKER:Well, it'll effectively just come out of council's normal banking processes. And in the scheme of things for us, another $16.9 million, which it is in this case, is, you know, not something which is going to bring the bank down by any means. It's probably almost within the facility that council has to draw down on funds [indistinct]…

ALI JONES:So Ngai Tahu is not involved in…

BOB PARKER: … involved with a lot of large projects.

ALI JONES:Ngai Tahu's not involved? No? Okay.

BOB PARKER:No, no, this is a - no, correct. This is just council borrowing the money, we'll be paying interest only. And, of course, a number of those sites will be returning, in the meantime, quite a good rental stream, I think, particularly the one - the Penny Cycles one. That's the site that probably has the best rental income. So that will offset the spend as well.

ALI JONES:Were councillors provided with independent valuations of the properties or just indicative valuations provided by Mr Henderson?

BOB PARKER:We were provided with the valuations on the properties that were provided by Mr Henderson in the first instance. Then we used valuers that council uses to revalue the properties to current market conditions. So, bearing in mind that we have a falling property market, a weak property market at this time, new valuations were then sought and they were the basis for the discussion.

I think in the end we peeled probably about another $1.5 million off the prices, the valuations that we were provided on those buildings. And, of course, we had our own valuations in there from quotable value as well. So we knew what we were going into and we were determined to make sure that we, as much as we could control it, got a price range that was reflecting market conditions. So we used the valuers that council uses in these situations.

ALI JONES:And the councillors all saw those independent valuations?

BOB PARKER:No. What we - we didn't have time to do that. What we set was a range of valuations based on the information that we had at that time and we then gave, if you like, the chief executive and several of the councillors an opportunity to sign off on the actual final offer. And they came in below the valuations that have been provided from the, you know, the original [indistinct]…

ALI JONES:So Bob, just let me get this right…

BOB PARKER:… banks and what have you.

ALI JONES:Yep. You've got the whole council, the number of councillors there, those who were there who were involved in making this decision, who did not…

ALI JONES:… see independent valuation figures related to the properties they've voted on to buy?

BOB PARKER:No, the figures that we were provided in the first instance were provided by independent valuers, but the…

ALI JONES:But they were Dave Henderson's.

BOB PARKER:… but some of those figures weren't current.

ALI JONES:But they were Dave Henderson's figures.

BOB PARKER:Yes, but they were by value - they were valuers that council uses frequently in its own processes, so we were very confident…

ALI JONES:Yeah, no, no, I understand that. Bob…

BOB PARKER:… that the figures we were provided with and then we went away…

ALI JONES:Bob, it's a simple question.

BOB PARKER:…and got them revalued again.

ALI JONES:Okay. Simple question.


ALI JONES:Did the councillors…

BOB PARKER:Well there's - what's underlying the question is probably this, did we - did we pay too much for those sites.

ALI JONES:No, no, no, no. No, it's not.

BOB PARKER:Were - were they in some way…

ALI JONES:Bob no, that's not what's underlying the question.

BOB PARKER:What I'm saying is we got - we got, we got independent current valuations, and they were the basis for the purchase price, and we delegated authority around the final figure for the chief executive, our legal team.

ALI JONES:No, I'll ask the question again. Did the councillors who voted…


ALI JONES:…on the purchase of Dave Henderson's buildings see independent valuations commissioned by the council before they voted on the purchase of the properties?

BOB PARKER:They didn't see the final valuation, but that came in significantly less than the independent valuations, if you like, that were provided by Mr Henderson's people in the first instance.

ALI JONES:Yeah, okay, that's all right. That's all I want to know, so…

BOB PARKER:I mean, what they're using - what he's using is the same valuers in the city that [indistinct]…

ALI JONES:Yes, I know, but he's trying to get money from you. He's selling a property to you. I'd say that it would be prudent of…

BOB PARKER:Quite right.

ALI JONES:… the purchaser, surely, to be able to say, look, this is what the properties are worth, and to the people who are making the decisions on the spending of the money, here's the independent valuation and that's where the council sits on it, surely?

BOB PARKER:Well in - well, in effect that's what we did. And what we then did was got them revalued again, on the current market conditions where that was required, and those valuations came in lower and that was the basis for the offer that we made on the properties. So [indistinct]…

ALI JONES:And the councillors saw those valuations?

BOB PARKER:…value was involved.

ALI JONES:And the councillors saw those…

BOB PARKER:What the councillors did was approve effectively a maximum purchase price and we then had the job of getting the properties revalued. They came in below the price that…

ALI JONES:I understand that.

BOB PARKER:… we'd been working for.


BOB PARKER:Okay. And that was an independent valuation.

ALI JONES:Yes, but the councillors saw that.

BOB PARKER:But no, the councillors - yes, but they delegated the final authority for the decision on purchase based on a range of valuations that we had. I mean, this is part of the business that council is in, and valuing properties is part of the weighting process. We're aware of values around the city. We have our ear to the ground. That's our job.

What we then did was delegate, finally, the decision for purchase, having in general terms agreed to it but not having tied down a final number. That final number came in below the quantum that councillors had been basing their original discussions on, that was our hope, and we delegated the authority to do a deal on that independent valuation that was gained effectively almost on the days of the purchase offer.

ALI JONES:Okay. Now, the Civic Building, the old…

BOB PARKER:We're really satisfied that we got it right, Ali.

ALI JONES:OK, yeah. Now the civic building, the Civic Chambers building, Dave Henderson involved in that building at all, once you leave, as I've just heard a whisper that he may be involved in developing it?

BOB PARKER:That will be an independent valuation process, and once again it'll be an open tender process for the council site.

ALI JONES:But Dave Henderson not involved in that, at any - at this stage?

BOB PARKER:Well, look, I really have no idea whether he'll be involved or not.

ALI JONES:But he's not involved at this stage, Bob?

BOB PARKER:No more than any other developer in town who knows that those properties will eventually be coming on the market, is involved, correct.

ALI JONES:Okay. Was Gary Moore involved in the pulling together of this deal?

BOB PARKER:No, Gary wasn't involved in this at all.

ALI JONES:Okay. If you haven't got the zoning right in these areas you're now working on, as I said earlier, I just want reiterate, the city plan will start working hard in its speed to get these zoning issues sorted?

BOB PARKER:That's an interesting question, from the point of view that, you know, zoning and, if you like, the city plan, probably can't say, well, you can't have a building made from tilt slab. It's interested in terms of outcomes, space occupied, maximum height, site coverage, parking, a whole raft of issues. So it's perfectly possible for somebody under, you know, even a more highly developed city plan, if you like, and there are certainly areas where we are working on it, where we agree with you, that it's an absolute priority, but it takes time to bring variations to plans.

What we can do by purchasing the sites is we can put specific controls, as any property owner can, on the site and on the outcome that will be appearing on that site, if you like. We're going to develop master plans for these sites. A lot of it will be pretty close to the sorts of plans that Mr Henderson was developing for the sites because, quite frankly, the work that he's done in the central city area, think of the Lichfield Lanes area and the South of Lichfield, SOL, Square and so on, is absolutely outstanding.

And what we're aiming for in Christchurch City is to bring world class - bring world leading, urban design projects into the core of our city. We'll secure those development sites, we'll secure the plans, the way that they will look, and then we'll go back to the market as quickly as we can. And we're developing over the next three months, master plans for those specific sites. That's what you can do when you're a property owner.

But when you're a council, you effectively create an envelope within which development can actually take place. So you know, even if we tighten up the city plan in a number of areas, we can't necessarily guarantee that somebody won't build a large capacity warehouse type of building, I don't think there's a plan alive that could probably stop you doing that. But what we can do as the owner of the land is, effectively, put conditions on the sale and only sell to people who are prepared to develop to those conditions. Now that's the intention of the council at this time.

ALI JONES:Bob, I find that mind boggling. I find - as a ratepayer, I find that mind boggling. That the Christchurch City Council effectively cannot control even the size of a building on a site. And the only way, you're telling me, the only way the council can do this…

BOB PARKER:No, that's not what I said. No, that's not what I said.

ALI JONES:You said a large capacity…

BOB PARKER:Well, look, let's put it this way. When you - the planning controls that we put on sites, have to do with things like height, the volume, if you like, the total amount of that site that can be used, the amount of land that can be covered on the site, the percentage that it can be covered on. We are working in relatively general ways at the level of the city plan.

Now, what you're saying is that there are areas of the city plan that need to be improved to keep up with the perceptions and changes and uses that occur in the community all the time. And, absolutely, we agree with that and we are working through a series of variations on the plan.

But when you get down to the specifics of the shape and look of the building, whether there are access ways and lanes put through, many of those things, if they come under an existing plan, can only be controlled by you to that kind of detail when you actually own the site. And then as an owner, when you on-sell the site you can put in much tighter conditions, just like you could if you sold your house, you could put a covenant on the property. And, effectively, that's the process that we're working our way through.

ALI JONES:Okay. It just seems an expensive way to do it. In recent times we've seen the Ellerslie Flower Show purchase rushed through, a bid's been placed before councillors - or the bid was placed before the councillors even knew about it. The additional money needed for the extra space in the new Civic Chambers, the speedy deal on the new Civic Chambers itself. AMI is going to cost us too. Is - supplementary reports and late editions to meeting agendas, is this a new way of governing, Bob?

BOB PARKER:If you want to work your way through each of those situations one by one, you'll find that they - most of those aren't rushed situations at all. For example, AMI. Now the decision on AMI for council to underwrite was made in the last term of council; council was always very open about it at that time. An underwrite is an underwrite. We're not at the end of that process yet. I mean, what we…

ALI JONES:Ellerslie?

BOB PARKER:Well, the Ellerslie Flower Show, once again, council had talked and consulted with community about events, we had an events strategy, the purchase of the Ellerslie Flower Show completely aligned with the events strategy that we consulted on with our community…

ALI JONES:The bid was placed before the councillors even knew about it, Bob.

BOB PARKER:But, Ali, councils have to work at times with significant amount of speed. We can't work as fast, generally, as private business, but when we have, for example, as we do with our Central City revitalisation or with events, an already discussed strategy - I mean, for example, with events we'd work through a program with the community about getting iconic events. We had an events strategy; it had been the subject of immense discussion. An opportunity came along, and councillors have the job to make a decision on those.


BOB PARKER:They don't have to act. They can say. no, we're not going to do it. But in each case, the majority of councillors felt that this was an opportunity that needed to be taken up.

ALI JONES:Okay. Jim Anderton has…

BOB PARKER:So, you know, I don't think that this…


BOB PARKER:Yeah, carry on. Sorry.

ALI JONES:I was just going to say, Jim Anderton - I know, it's - it's the delay, I know.

BOB PARKER:Sorry, because a) there's a time delay and b) I've just climbed out of bed. So you're going to have to bear with me just a little.

ALI JONES:[Laughs] No, no, no, I appreciate you being on the phone. Just finally, Jim Anderton has suggested that this purchase, this Henderson purchase of these properties by the council, may affect the council asking for $30 million from the Government for the low cost housing. What do you say to that?

BOB PARKER:Well, with all due respect, I think Mr Anderton, frankly, got his facts wrong in the first place about the city rents. I mean, after existing government subsidies are taken into account, the overwhelming majority of tenants will need to find around $6 a week to meet the rise. We'd rather there was no rent rise, but we don't think that $6 a week on average is too bad. And, frankly, I wouldn't blame the Minister of Finance for turning down further subsidy for tenants.

So we're still paying around 45 per cent less than market rentals for equivalent properties in Christchurch. So Mr Anderton has decided to ask the Government - sorry, ask the Minister of Finance for this money. Some might actually suggest that Mr Anderton won't gain the support of the Minister of Finance for further tax pay out funds, because frankly, it's not a good idea. And I would say in this case that he's using a very sensible decision, albeit one made in a tight timeframe, to protect a number of key central city sites and something of a smokescreen to cover up the fact that he maybe can't deliver on a promise he's made to city housing tenants.

I mean, we're just the meat in a political sandwich in this case, we're in the business of building an even better city, we're in the business of competing with other cities around the country and around the world to revitalise our population. The reality is we have an aging population; we need to attract young people into our city. The sort of development that we've seen around SOL Square and the Lanes, which is emerging as a new way for this city to reurbanise the centre of town, is something which is much admired, which is commented on by people locally and internationally, and we are determined to see a great outcome for our city.


BOB PARKER:And that's the vision, that's the basis on which we're actually working here, Ali.

ALI JONES:Now I know you live in the centre of the city, Bob, a lot of us obviously work or live in the suburbs, and - for example, the Mount Pleasant Community Centre had a request recently for $5000 for urgent maintenance turned down by the council. There are other issues, groups have been going through…

BOB PARKER:That's because the funding there - okay, that's because the funding for that has come out at community board level, not from council level. It is within, if you like, the community board's ability to approve funding for something like that. That was not a metropolitan project. So council turned it down because it is a community funding project. It had never been a line item in a council budget. From memory, there's been basically an ongoing relationship between the community board and that community centre, in which they approved funding. They can still do that.


BOB PARKER:Well, they can go to the community board and ask for a grant at community board level. Community boards in Christchurch have tens of thousands of dollars given to them to actually apply to projects and things in their specific wards that they want to support. So it should never have been coming to the metropolitan part of council, that is the city council, which has an overall city responsibility. It's a decision that a community board can still make, to give a grant to a facility in their own community. That's something they can do.

ALI JONES:Okay. Well, I just suggest if you can put - you know, a supplementary reports and supplementary editions to agendas, then maybe these are the sorts of things you can probably consider as well. I'm just concerned that some of the communities in Christchurch may now actually feel they're being left behind. It's all about the central city.

BOB PARKER:I don't believe they'll feel that at all. But without a working central city, we condemn ourselves to a future which is not going to be the sort of future we need to survive the challenges, if you like, of the twenty-first century. We have to build a great city, we have to build a city that will have an urban heart that actually functions, and if the centre of the city doesn't function, then the city as a whole doesn't function in a way that it needs to function, to face up to those challenges.

Now the - the centre of Christchurch has been hollowed out by building suburban developments around malls. And you might be able to say, well, you know, when council allowed malls to happen in a proximity to the Civic Centre, which it has done of around say five kilometres, and so that was a bad planning decision and I would agree with you there. The city plan didn't foresee that challenge, if you like. Once again, council has moved to close some of the loopholes around the way that malls can continuously expand.

But without a - without a living, breathing, functioning heart to our city, we're just a great suburban area. We don't have definition and we don't have something that we can all feel proud of, as a city.

ALI JONES:Okay. Thanks for your time, Bob, I do appreciate you getting up so early.

BOB PARKER:Yeah. Well as I say, I do apologise, I hope I'm sounding coherent, but I did have another phone call at about 1am this morning, the phone rang and it was, you know, the National program wanting to talk. So, I wasn't sure that my tongue and lips would actually be functioning at this time of the day.

ALI JONES:No, absolutely fine, we're not that rude. Not 1am, 20 past five. Thank you very much, Mayor, Bob Parker.


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.


The eight councillors who voted to give failed property developer dave Henderson $17 million of public money for five over-valued properties were: Sideshow Bob Parker, Barry Corbett, Ngaire Button, David Cox, Susan Wells, Claudia Reid, Helen Broughton and Bob Shearing.

Yani Johanson and Sally Buck voted against the proposal.

Deputy mayor Norm Withers and Mike Wall were absent.

Councillor Chrissie Williams was absent at the time of voting and Gail Sheriff is on a ten week holiday and was last spotted in Bali.

Sideshow Bob, Susan Wells, Bob Shearing and council CEO Tony Marryatt will carry out the final negotations with Henderson. This was opposed by Johanson, Broughton and Williams.

None of the dismal councillors who voted to help out Henderson have had the guts to publicly defend their decision, rather they have left it to Sideshow Bob - from far away in Beijiing - to defend the shonky deal.


Failed property developer Dave Henderson describes himself as a ‘libertarian’ but even his fellow libertarians are against the property deal he made with Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker and his council lackeys.

Mark Hubbard, a Christchurch accountant, writes on Lindsay Perigo’s Solo passion website:

‘Mayor Parker, once again you have allowed my money to go to your head…It is not the business of Christchurch City Council to use ratepayer money for private sector property development, and certainly not to bail out private sector developers. You had no mandate to purchase buildings from Dave Henderson.‘

He goes on to say:

“Rates money is other people’s money, not your own. Christchurch is not your fiefdom. If you want to set up Empire Parker, then do it in the private sector on the risk of your own capital, not on mine.’

Hubbard also makes the point that the council paid too much for the properties and that Henderson’s claim that he sold the properties for ‘less than book value’ means nothing in a depressed property market.

Mark Hubbard concludes:

“Flower shows, commercial property development — what next? Tell you what, why doesn't the Council buy my house, for a ridiculous price?’


The relationship of Christchurch Mayor 'Sideshow' Bob Parker and his council supporters to failed property developer Dave Henderson is rightly coming under intense scrutiny given recent commercial developments, but what of former mayor Garry Moore?

Some people close to the council are saying that he has never gone away - indeed last year the CEO of the Christchurch City Council Tony Marryatt appointed Moore as a private consultant on 'urban regeneration.'

The job was never advertised. Marryatt told the National Business Review's Chris Hutching that Moore had been appointed 'for his expertise'.

Perhaps this is the same 'expertise' that last year saw Moore appointed by the Labour Government to the boards of Land Transport New Zealand and Transit New Zealand. He picks up $55,000 per year for sitting on these boards.

So Moore is still there in the background, no doubt 'advising' Sideshow Bob - the man he publically declared he wanted to succeed him as mayor.

Dave Henderson and Garry Moore are also very good mates.

Such is the cosy relationship between the two men that Moore's son, Johnny Moore, went to work for Henderson's Property Ventures. He was laid off earlier this year when Henderson's property 'empire' began to crumble.

Johnny Moore is also a tenant of Dave Henderson's. He is part-owner of Cartel, located in 'Hendo's' 'South of Lichfield' development.

And Henderson's relationship with Johnny Moore also extends into the political field.

In 2007 Johnny Moore stood for the Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board but wasn't elected. Henderson appears to have been the sole financial contributor to his campaign, donating $1250.


Christchurch mayor Sideshow Bob Parker and his merry band of council supporters have plumbed to new depths.

It has been announced that the council have bought five central city properties from failed property developer Dave Henderson. These are Sydenham Square (purchased for $4 million), Penny Cycles ($2.55m), two sites formerly occupied by Para rubber ($1.6m and $3.8m respectively) and Welles Street Electrolux site ($4.9m).

All up, Sideshow Bob has spent some $17 million bailing out his mate and supporter Dave Henderson.

Remember - just three days ago 'Hendo' claimed he had not been approached by the council about any of his properties. But this, of course, is also the man who has constantly claimed he would never accept public money.

This deal was pushed through by Sideshow Bob and his right hand man, council executive Tony Marryatt.

Sideshow Bob has laughingly defended the deal as protecting the city from 'poor development' - but Bob has absolutely no evidence to back up this view. This is Sideshow just making it up as he goes along - any excuse will do.

Does this mean the council will be bidding for every inner city property that is up for sale? It's hardly likely.

It's not often that I agree with National MP Gerry Brownlee but he got it right with his observation that 'It would appear as though the council is either going to set itself up as a developer or has become a banking service for Mr Henderson.'

Councillor Yani Johanson said he was outraged by the deal.

'It is absolutely amazing this council can find $17 million to prop up a property developer but cannot find money to prop up rents for our most vulnerable tenants. It is an appalling decision. The reality is it is a bailout for an individual and I do not believe in the council doing that.'

Councillors Helen Broughton and Chrissie Williams also said the deal was a bailout.

Sideshow Bob, in his usual pompous manner, said the accusations of a bailout were 'cynical'.

No Bob - what is 'cynical' is you using ratepayers money to help out your mate. What is cynical is you claiming that the council couldn't afford not to put up council rents. What is cynical is you claiming to be 'fiscally responsisble'. What is cynical is you attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of the Christchurch public.

While this writer knew an announcement was in the wind, I was of the understanding it involved Chancery Lane. But obviously Sideshow Bob has been busy cooking up other property deals.

Which suggests a deal on Chancery Lane is still in pipeline.

Meanwhile a public backlash against this decision can be expected next week.

Interestingly, none of the councillors who supported this bailout have come out in support of Sideshow Bob.

Councillors like Barry Corbett and Susan Wells, so keen to give their opinions on other matters, are remarkably silent.

Perhaps they hope to weather the political storm that is brewing. Fat chance.

Already deeply unpopular with the good people of Christchurch, Sideshow Bob and his council supporters are on a one way trip to political oblivion.

The people of Christchurch should demand an immediate and independent inquiry into this disgraceful property deal.


The Christchurch police have distributed this poster to try and catch a teenage burglar who apparently resembles actor Robbie Coltrane.

The police actually know who they are looking for but the law prevents them from publishing photos of juvenile criminals.

It's a rather surreal story but it's made the British media! A quick check revealed that the story had made The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and the BBC News.

The poster says Coltrane is English but he's actually Scottish.

Coltrane is also 58 years old, lives in Stirlingshire, and would struggle to fit through the average patio door, let alone window.


The New Zealand media are all set to go gaga as the countdown to the Olympic Games opening ceremony begins.

In the case of TVNZ, having spent $15 million of NZ On Air money (money that was supposed to be used to fund programmes that otherwise would not be made) acquiring the games screening rights, it really is cranking up the gaga.

Apparently, according to Television One’s promos, four million people will be coming together as ‘one’ over the next three weeks.

Of course, what is threatening to crash the party is China’s appalling human rights record.

The media have done a few stories on this, but it’s a safe bet that such stories will disappear in the coming days under a ton of nationalistic jingoism.

Western apologists for the Chinese regime say that it is through such events as the Olympic Games and, oh, free trade agreements, that the Chinese regime can be ‘enlightened’ as to the ways of western democracy.

This argument flies in the face of reality.

In the Chinese factories within ‘free trade zones’, western companies are churning out clothing, electronic goods, white ware, sports shoes, and canned food. You name it and, more than likely, a western company is making it in low-wage China.

The Chinese state apparatus, with its military, police and vast surveillance system, has been harnessed to serve the needs of such brand leaders as Nike and Phillips.

This is the ‘modern China’ that we will see over the next three weeks but it won’t be reported that way in the corporate media.

Rather the emphasis will be on the spectacle.

On TV1'a Close Up a couple of nights ago Mark Sainsbury was in awe of the national stadium in Beijing and the ‘sheer size’ (his words) of it.

The architect who designed the Beijing National Stadium, Ai Weiwei, has not been invited to attend the opening ceremony – although he says he would not have attended anyway,

He told the New York Times: 'If I need to be more clear on why I’m not willing to be part of the ceremony, it’s that I think it’s too far from the spirit of freedom. I’ve always thought of this ceremony as a product of government bureaucracy, rather than a natural celebration and expression generated among free citizens. I feel that there are too many regrets in this ceremony, which could make me unhappy.’

He has labelled these Olympics the ‘pretend smile’ Olympics:

‘I did say it’s a “pretend smile.” I was questioning whether it’s possible for a society that doesn’t have democracy to excite the joys and celebrations of its people. And is it possible for such a society to win international recognition and approval when liberty and freedom of expression are lacking? There are all kinds of efforts under way that are means for stricter and tighter control. When these new security rules and restrictions are put in place, how can one smile and perform, cheer and pose?’ (New York Times, August 4)

But it seems that western journalists like Mark Sainsbury are all too eager to believe the ‘pretend smile’ of these Olympic Games.


With the Christchurch City Council about to do a deal with failed property developer Dave Henderson in the matter of Chancery Lane, its worth reflecting on his disgraceful behaviour back in 2001.

Henderson, who continually accuses other people of drinking at the public trough, threatened to close Chancery Lane if the Christchurch City Council did not contribute to its upkeep.

Asked if he would close public access to Chancery Lane if the Council didn't front up with the money Hendo said: "It could mean that. "It (the closure) might be in five years or it could be two years - it depends on redevelopments in there.'

Hendo wanted a lot of cash from the Council. Indeed Council property manager Angus Smith was moved to comment in a report that Henderson's demands were "considered excessive".

And Hendo engaged in more of his trademark bullying when he built an unauthorized wooden fence across the middle of Chancery lane, blocking access to the AMP building, to start the ball rolling in the process of forcing the Council to agree to his demands.

Now, in 2008, the Christchurch City Council are about to do business with the same man who employed standover tactics against them some seven years ago.

I'm reliably informed that the Council have decided to make a deal with Henderson and an announcement can be expected in the next few days.

Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker left Christchrch for Beijiing yesterday to spend a week at the political travesty known as the Olympic Games. So he may well be still out of town when the proverbial hits the fan. Funny that.


That both senior National MPs Bill English and Lockwood Smith harbour political views that differ from National Party policy is hardly a revelation – although you would not get this impression from the mainstream media.

Secret tape recordings! Secret agenda! The mainstream media, with TV3’s Duncan Garner leading the charge, wanted us to believe that they were delivering something explosive. Instead they delivered the off-the-cuff comments of two men (one of whom may of been ‘tired and emotional’) who indicated they disagreed with some aspects of National Party policy.

It’s hardly news that both English and Smith are ‘hard right’ and that they would express such views at a party conference is also not surprising. The only difference is that someone got their views on tape and gave them to the media.

Here’s some explosive news! National’s Maurice Williamson doesn’t believe that climate change is occurring! For that matter, neither does Lockwood Smith!

There are MPs within the Labour Government who hold personal views that are not Labour policy. I could name some of them but its hardly news.

What this little skirmish is about is the media looking for some point of difference between the two largest parliamentary parties. The media likes to describe both Labour and National as ‘centrist’ but they are, really, two right wing parties who adhere to free market economics and ideology.

In blogland Labour supporters are pointing the finger at National and suggesting ‘secret agenda’.

But what is happening is Labour simply attempting to portray itself as ‘less right wing’ than National. Yes, it’s the old ‘lesser evil’ argument and if you buy into that you will buy into such things as free trade agreements with Stalinist China, not raising welfare benefits and suppressing wage rates.


With Christchurch mayor Sideshow Bob and his merry band of council supporters considering helping out failed property developer Dave Henderson (see previous post), a regular reader of this blog, 'nefarious 2000', has pointed out the parallels with a Henderson property development from some six years ago.

Back then the Christchurch City Council were considering taking a role in the redevelopment of the old Turners and Growers site in Tuam Street. There was a proposal to build residential housing on the site. In particular, there was a proposal being considered to build student accommodation.

Enter into the equation Mr Dave Henderson. He too was looking at building residential housing in the same area of the city.

Henderson certainly didn't want the Christchurch City Council developing a competing inner city residential housing site.

So what did Henderson do?

Well, he had just bought the Sargood's building in Lichfield Street, which was part of a 'character group of buildings'.

Displaying the kind of bullying behaviour that he is known for, Henderson applied for a demolition permit for the Sargoods Building, unless the Christchurch City Council promised him that they would not become involved with the Turners and Growers site.

Of course Henderson is the same man who espouses the virtues of free and unfettered competition - although, apparently, not when it involves his interests.

In the end, 'Hendo' decided not to demolish the building and redeveloped it instead. And, no prizes for guessing, the Christchurch City Council did not pursue its interest in the Turners and Growers site.

That site remains empty to this day.

To add insult to injury though, the Christchurch City Council's own call centre moved in to the first floor of the redeveloped Sargoods building - paying the kind of high rentals that Henderson is also known to demand.

The mayor at that time, Garry Moore, - like Sideshow Bob - was also a big fan of 'Hendo'.

And 'Hendo' was a fan of Moore:

'Developer and libertarian Dave Henderson counts Moore a friend, despite early run-ins over various projects and their divergent political leanings. "What we have in common is that we both abhor rules and regulations," says Henderson. The developer believes that Moore is constantly frustrated by the limits of what can be achieved in public life, in stark contrast to the enjoyment he gets from his private roles on various trusts and as a director of Whalewatch. "He's passionate about making a difference. But he also has this burning desire to be inclusive, to involve everyone, and that is a one-way road to frustration and misery." (The Press,Dec 2, 2005)

Gary Moore's son, Johnny Moore, went to work for Henderson's Property Ventures - until he got laid off recently.

Johnny Moore is also a Henderson tenant, as part-owner of the South of Lichfield bar, Cartel.

Nefarious 2000 points out that the Sargoods building is also up for sale, but without the blaze of publicity that has surrounded the attempts by Hendo' to sell some of his other properties. Says Nefarious: 'I guess he doesn't want to be seen publicly to be selling a building which forms a part of "SOL Square", because that really would be the ultimate blow to the man's ego.'

Nefarious 2000 asks 'Isn't it about time the activities of Christchurch's mayors, both present and immediate past, were subjected to an inquiry?'

A fair question indeed.


Christchurch Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker is a fan of the shambolic Dave Henderson.

Like Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief Pete Towsend, Sideshow thinks Henderson has helped to 'revitalise' central Christchurch.

Failed property developer Henderson is also a fan of Parker – and publicly endorsed his mayoral bid.

Despite the fact that Henderson’s companies have defaulted on loans to such troubled finance companies as Dominion Finance and Hanover, it looks like Sideshow Bob and his merry band of councillors are considering doing ‘Hendo’ a favour.

Which is more than ‘Hendo’ is doing for all those small investors who are unlikely to get all, if any, of their money back from Dominion and Hanover.

The Press has reported that the Christchurch City Council is considering buying one of Henderson’s Chancery Lane properties - Henderson has six titles.

Last Friday the council held an extraordinary meeting – with the public (who pay the bills) excluded yet again.

The item on the agenda was the possible purchase of Chancery Lane.

Henderson, whose company Property Ventures is facing liquidation, is trying to sell a number of properties but it appears, in a collapsed property market, he is not having a lot of luck.

So is the Christchurch City Council going to help out Henderson?

The council, having been rumbled about the secret meeting, are now refusing to comment. Sideshow Bob has used the old excuse of ‘commercial sensitivity’ – which was the same lame excuse he used when refusing to divulge how much the Christchurch City Council paid for the Ellerslie Garden Show.

Why is this proposed property deal ‘commercially sensitive’? Who or what is it ‘sensitive’ to? Sideshow Bob? Henderson? The election chances of certain councillors? Certain meetings held away from council premises?

No, this has all the appearance of a dodgy deal being hatched between Hendo and his supporters within council.

Henderson claims he has not been contacted by the council in connection with the Chancery Lane property.

Nor can he explain why the Chancery Lane priperties would be the topic of a special and secret meeting of the city council.

Apparently it just happened – just like that.

Of course Henderson is the man who told the media just a short five weeks ago that he was ‘amazingly solvent’.

I rang a contact in the Christchurch City Council and I now understand that it was, in fact, Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker who called for the extraordinary meeting.

We’ll be following this little property affair very closely – because it’s got the smell of something unpleasant about it.

If anyone has got any information on this proposed property deal please email me at


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