With the help of Fairfax Media, Sideshow Bob has gone on a ludicrous PR drive in an attempt to convince the angry residents of the working class suburbs of eastern Christchurch, that he is 'one of us'.
He even paid a special visit to the east, to be photographed with some of 'the locals'. Bob is rarely seen out here 'in the sticks' except when he's looking for votes. He's always preferred the wine bars of central Christchurch.
The Press has published a 'Isn't Bob wonderful?' article, masquerading as legitimate journalism, which has also appeared in the Sunday Star Times.
How bad is it? Try this on for size:
'The earthquake mayor is spreading his smile across the shattered east of his city. Bob Parker is the working-class boy with the voice of a toff who knows how to handle a crowd who haven't had a shower for a while.'
This is putrid stuff but it's interesting that Bob suddenly wants to play up his working class 'credentials' since he has spent the best part of his life trying to play them down.
This is the politician whose last two mayoral election campaigns were supported by business interests and by property developers. Faced with being soundly defeated by Jim Anderton at the last mayoral election a desperate Bob finally owned up to his National Party allegiances and called on help from John Key, who duly showed up at a fundraising event.
It was another National Party supporter, John Fairhall, who bought Sideshow's Akaroa homestead for $1.85 million in 2008.
Fairhall, managing director of Archibalds car dealership. donated $5000 to Parker's October 2007 election campaign. He later supplied Parker with his $120,000 Porsche Sportster 'mayoral car'.
Another high profile supporter of Parker was, of course, the failed property developer and ferociously anti-working class Dave Henderson. Parker and his council supporters subsequently paid $17 million for five of 'Hendo's' central city properties.
Yes, Bob is such a good old working class boy that he slashed council funding to struggling community groups while at the same time forking out $5 million for the Ellerslie Garden show - a nice wee plaything for his supporters in the wealthy suburbs of Fendalton and Merivale.
He also attempted to put up the rents of council tenants by a massive 24 percent, which was ruled illegal by the High Court. The flats are home to some of Christchurch's poorest and most disadvantaged people.
Bob, the good old working class boy, also expects council tenants to keep paying their rent even though they have no power, water or sewerage services.
Tenants still living in council flats in the eastern suburbs have been told they will be no rent 'holiday'.
One tenant asked for a discount and was refused.
Bob so wants to be seen as a 'friend' of the east side, the article has him employing working class jargon. Suddenly damaged buildings are 'munted' and 'mega-munted'. It's contrived and it's dishonest but it's so typical of Sideshow Bob.
But it looks like Fairfax Media and The Press are quite happy to go along with this pathetic charade.