The Christchurch City Council are failing the people of Christchurch, says the Future Canterbury Network.

The Future Canterbury Network is an independent watchdog group was established shortly after the devastating February 22 earthquake.

Its brief is to monitor and assess the progress that Canterbury councils have made in the process of earthquake recovery.

FCN has just released a report assessing the performance of the Christchurch City Council since the February and September quakes and the council doesn't exactly receive a rave review (see scorecard)

The FCN praises the work that the council did in preparing a draft city council plan and says that it had been 'a model of community consultation' but suggests that tings have ground to halt since then. The reports says 'there appears to have been little translation of the grand idea into strategies.'

Certainly a malaise appears to have fallen over Sideshow Bob and many of his council chums. The report highlights the controversy that erupted over the appointment of the council CEO but equally, we can point to incidents like Councillor Sue Wells being allowed to travel to a wine 'conference' in Europe at the expense of the ratepayer. It is another manifestation of a council without focus, led by mayor who continues to play 'favourites'.

Despite indicating he would develop a better working relationship with the Labour-aligned councillors there is no evidence he has done that.

This writer has long criticised Sideshow Bob and his chums for their lack of accountability and transparency, and the report also criticises Sideshow Bob for his secretive ways.

The report comments that a lack of transparency appeared to be 'situation normal' for the Christchurch City Council.

Sideshow Bob , as we well know, is always hostile to any form of criticism - however mild. In the past he has rejected criticism as being part of a mysterious 'left wing conspiracy'. Or its all part of a Labour Party campaign bent on destabilising his mayoralty.

The problem for Bob this time round is that the FCN is chaired by a former National minister, Philip Burdon.

The members of the FCN come from a wide cross section of the community. They include the Vice Chancellor of Canterbury University , the head of the Salvation Army, architect Miles Warren and former mayor Garry Moore. Indeed, at other times, some of these very same people have been political allies of Bob's.

But that hasn't stopped Bob dismissing the report as a 'hatchet job'.

But Bob is proving to be something of a ventriloquists dummy and its the Earthquake Recovery Minister who has his hand up his bottom.

Gerry Brownlee has attacked the FCN as ‘hand-wringing talkers’ and ‘time wasters’ and its no surprise to see Sideshow Bob simply regurgitating the words of his master.


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