While Mayor Sideshow Bob played a central role in the process that led to the National Government sacking all of Environment Canterbury's (Ecan) councillors, other Bob supporters have done their little bit as well.

Jane Parfitt is the General Manager for City Environment. She oversees a workforce of some 300 people whose task, among other things, is to maintain Christchurch's infrastructure services.

On November 29 Wyatt Creech met with several local mayors and council CEOs.

The former National Party Deputy Prime Minister was appointed by the Government to head the ECan review. At the time he was a Director of a company called Open Country Cheese Dairy Limited. which in 2007 was fined a total of $55,000 in the Hamilton District Court after pleading guilty to 11 charges laid by Environment Waikato relating to illegal effluent discharges and storage.

Jane Parfitt was Sideshow Bob's representative at this meeting. Parfitt may not have the same kind of public profile as CEO Tony Marryatt but she is nevertheless, like Marryatt, a loyal Bob lieutenant.

Parfitt, who ironically once used to work for ECan, delivered a range of criticisms of ECan which included the accusations that it was ' not practical' not 'cost conscious' and adopted a 'master/ servant' attitude in its relationship to the Christchurch City Council.

She also expressed specific concerns about ECan's management of the Red Bus Company. According to the minutes of the meeting released under the Official Information Act , she made the revealing comment that ECan was only interested in 'managing the buses and not the contract'.

As was pointed out in a previous post if the Red Bus Company does pass into the hands of the Christchurch City Council - which seems likely - the council will be legally obliged to sell it.

It is little more than privatisation through the backdoor and it will be the completion of an agenda that began back in 2006 when Parker's predecessor, Garry Moore, succeeded in having the bus company taking off the council's list of strategic assets. This was also the year when Moore attempted to sell the Lyttelton Port Company to a Hong Kong -based corporate but backed down when faced with fierce local opposition against the proposed sale.

Moore supported Parker's bid for the mayoralty and was subsequently employed by the council as a 'consultant' on 'urban renewal.'

It appears that Jane Parfitt is entirely comfortable with the privatisation agenda. Nor does she seem to have a problem with local people not only having their elected representaives sacked by central government but are also being denied the right to vote until at least 2013.

Also of major concern is that despite being an employee of the Christchurch City Council and not an elected councillor, she has openly supported and contributed to Mayor Bob's political campaign against ECan.

While she has been a consistent critic of ECan in recent times, in 2007 her husband stood for the ECan Council

Clem Parfitt was a candidate or for the right wing 'Independent Citizens' - basically the National Party in disguise- in the Christchurch South constituency.

Clem Parfitt is in the building industry, running a company that makes lifting and anchoring systems for precast concrete. Before this however he was a farmer for some twenty years.

In a candidate statement he said:

My particular interest is in promoting sustainable, efficient management and use of our natural resources especially water, soils and the natural landscape.

We must commit to ensure appropriate care is given to the enhancement of our living environment in Canterbury. This requires a well governed ECan to take a strong role in delivering cost-effective services for ratepayers.

His running mate in Christchurch South was Murray Francis. Williams is managing director of Road Metals which produces sand and aggregates for, among other things, road construction. It has also been involved in the construction of all of the South Island's major hydro power schemes.

In his candidate statement Francis said:

I don't approve of practical jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected. Central party politics should not be a factor with ECan.

Both men were well beaten by Kerry Burke (the former chairperson of ECan voted out as chairperson by right wing councillors) and by 2021 candidate Bob Kirk.


  1. I'm no expert, but surely there must be something in Parfitt's employment contract that prohibits her in engaging the kind of political activity she looks like she has been up to?

    I doubt a council employee who openly criticised Parker would get away with it.

    It is apparent that under Parker much of the executive administration has been politicised and I'm surprised it has been allowed to develop to this point. What do the 2021 councillors think of all this?

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