Who is coming to the rescue of Christchurch in these difficult and stressful days?

It's not the stock market, not the finance houses (the ones that are left that is), not the banks (although one or two have made tokenistic donations out of their obscene profit margin), its not even the media cheerleaders who have been telling us for years that there 'is no alternative to the free market'. They came to Christchurch for a few hours that ran away back to Auckland again.

No, it's the good old State. The thing that we have been repeatedly told by the free marketeers that we need a good deal less of.

When help was needed in Christchurch and the outlying regions, who rolled into action? The various divisions of the State - Civil Defence, Health, Welfare, Education, Transport, etc.

After being sliced and diced by the neoliberal Government's of the last two decades, its still the 'inefficient' , the 'bureaucratic' ' and just downright 'unfashionable' State that is up for the fight when the chips are down.

It's ironic that the powers of the State are being orchestrated by a Government that has spent its first term in office cutting back the resources of that very same State. Budgets have been slashed. Jobs have been axed.

And its ironic that the powers of the State are being employed by a Government that has plans to privatise further parts of it if it manages to get re-elected next year.

And what of the hypocrisy of Government Ministers who shed a tear for ordinary people at this time of crisis but are so callous and indifferent to these very same people in ordinary times?

The Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett, for example, has announced that some $2 million has been allocated for trauma counselling services in Canterbury. This from a woman who has caused a whole load of trauma herself in the wake of her continuing campaign to intimidate and harass beneficiaries off welfare and into desperate poverty.

She is also the same woman who is about to do a hatchet on welfare services in the not too distant future - the same welfare services that are doing such a sterling job in Christchurch and Canterbury today.


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