Mayor Sideshow Bob writes a column for the Christchurch Star and, usually, its long on rhetoric and short on substance.
On Wednesday (April 13) he tentatively broached the thorny issue of the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority. (CERA). This is what he said:
'Under the legislation CERA will lead and coordinate the ongoing recovery effort in Canterbury . It will work locally with councils and engage local communities. CERA will be given the necessary powers to relax, suspend or extend laws and regulations for clearly defined purposes related to earthquake recovery'.
Gerry Brownlee couldn't have said it any better.
Notice how Bob defends the authoritarian and undemocratic nature of CERA as 'necessary'?
Of course Bob's cavalier attitude towards local democracy shouldn't come as any surprise. He, after all, campaigned for the sacking of the elected members of Environment Canterbury.
And, despite Bob's claims to the contrary, Gerry Brownlee and CERA are under no obligation to work with the Christchurch City Council or consult with the local community. The fact that the members of CERA's 'community panel' will all be picked by Brownlee tells us that CERA's 'community consultation' will be merely window dressing.
Sideshow Bob is the Government's political puppet and it is Gerry Brownlee who is pulling the strings.
But at least Councillor Yani Johanson is doing what he can to represent the interests of local Christchurch people.
In his Christchurch Star column (April 16) he highlights the undemocratic nature of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery legislation. He points out:
'Essentially the Minister does not have to consult on recovery plans being developed and amended...He can force the city council to do whatever he wants,whenever he wants. with very little checks and balances.
He also makes the point that city councillors had no opportunity to take a formal view of the legislation. He says that the legislation was given to Bob Parker and legal advisers 'in confidence' and councillors were not allowed to see the legislation until it had been introduced in Parliament.
Is this what Sideshow Bob defines as the Government 'working' with council?