I live on the east side of Christchurch and out here we're packing up our troubles in our old kitbags, rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done. Yes, things might be 'unpleasant' right now but we're Cantabrians and, united, we can overcome our difficulties. That's because they breed them tough down here. We're a gritty bunch....we can rebuild Christchurch, we have the technology. That's what the Mayor tells me, so it must be true.

Before you reach for the bucket, that isn't me talking. It's more of an precis of the 'positive message' being pushed in the Eastside by national and local politicians and local 'personalities'. Whether its the Prime Minister or the Canterbury netball captain talking , the message is the same - the situation is under control.

Whenever's there's cheerleading to de done in the media, you can count on Mayor Sideshow Bob to show up.

Bob has become little more than a mouthpiece for the Government's views and having walked away from his responsibility to accurately reflect the views and concerns of quake victims, he has indeed become a sideshow.

Last week Bob was talking about a pressing issue on the minds of all Eastside residents - Canterbury Show Week in November.

Sideshow Bob announced Restart 2011. The Christchurch City Council in conjunction with, surprise, the Central City Property Owners and Business Group, is aiming to have a section of the central city open in November.

'From 29 October, residents of Christchurch will once again be able to enjoy shopping and eating in the central city. It is essential we re-open on this date in preparation for New Zealand Cup and Show Week, one of our busiest and most prosperous weeks of the year, and for Christmas trade.' said Bob.

Excited? I know I'm not.

Somehow, I don't think they'll be many Eastside residents enjoying 'shopping and eating in the central city'.

Bob has again been attacked for ignoring the Eastside.

Disaster recovery expert Doctor Regan Potangaroa of Unitec School of Architecture commented last week: 'Aranui and the other suburbs out here in the east have been forgotten. The mayor should come out and talk to the people out here - there's a lot of anger and a lot of resentment and he needs to be seen down here on the marae and in the suburbs.'

Chief executive of Nga Hau E Wha Marae, Norm Dewes said: 'If I was to stay silent I would be condoning the behaviour of the mayor, and saying that I'm very pleased with his performance, and frankly I'm not,'

But the cacophony of cheerleading from establishment figures has held sway in the media and the voice of the Eastside has been drowned out.

While we're being talked about, we're not having our voice heard in the media.

Despite the attempts to suggest that some kind of 'normality' has returned to the Eastside, IT is still a disaster zone. Life has barely improved since the February 22 quake.

A lot of people are living in damaged houses, in garages, attics, with friends and other family members in overcrowded conditions. Many people remain without basic services and some streets have virtually been abandoned.

A haze of dust often casts a pall over the Eastside and the level of 'pong' varies from day to day. And there is an eerie quiet, the normal 'hum' of everyday life has all but disappeared.

The roads are severely damaged and major utilities remain closed or are being demolished.

And a huge wave of job losses in now sweeping over the Eastside and Christchurch. Jobs have already been lost in retail stores, factories, the service sector. Even the Christchurch City Councl has announced it will be making redundancies

Gerry Brownlee has not denied that over 20,000 people will lose their jobs.

But community resistance is beginning to emerge in the Eastside. Although still small in scale at present, it is likely that more community self-organisation will emerge, especially with Gerry Brownlee and CERA intent on imposing their will on the eastern suburbs.

And especially since Sideshow Bob and his council cronies have effectively abandoned the Eastside.


  1. Kia ora!

    Great to see some honest reporting - you start to think..."is it just me, or are things not adding up?" ... as for community organising, the seeds are beginning to be sowed - has anyone seen the posters and flyers over the last few days in the East - people are getting organised!


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