There's been a communications breakdown at the Christchurch City Council, claims Sideshow Bob. But we've all heard this excuse before.

Mayor Sideshow Bob never seems to tire of wasting other people's money and he's at it again. This time Sideshow and his faithful right hand man Tony Marryatt have decided to waste $80,000 of ratepayers money on an 'independent' review of the Christchurch City Council's 'communication issues'.

We've been down this road before. At the last election, when he was being pummelled in the polls by Jim Anderton, Sideshow explained his unpopularity on the basis that council decisions had been poorly communicated to the people of Christchurch.

In August 2010 Bob said that '“People need to know that I get it. I get that we have not taken everyone with us on important issues and at times people have felt that their input did not carry much weight. I acknowledge that on some issues I have not explained well enough the reason behind our decisions.'

But since then Bob has proved again and again that he actually doesn't get it. He is still running a secretive and autocratic council that is simply out of touch with the community it purports to represent.

It doesn't register with Sideshow that you might get away with running roughshod over the wishes of the community once or twice but if it becomes the norm, then expect the full weight of public opprobrium to descend on you. And that's what has happened to Sideshow Bob and his council flunkeys.

Councillor Yani Johanson is absolutely correct when he says that '"People are quite unhappy with the way things are being done; it's not just about communication,"

Ironically, despite chairing the council's communications committee, Johanson only learnt of the $ 80,000 review twenty minutes before a statement was sent to the media late yesterday. Once again this has been a decision hatched in secret by Parker and Marryatt and it has completely undermined Johanson's position on the communications committee.

Meanwhile Marryatt is trying to earn some brownie points by claiming that he accepts criticism of his lack of involvement in the local community. What he means by this, of course, is that he admits he has completely shunned the quake devastated eastern suburbs. Fifteen months after the first major quake it's a bit late in the day to claim that he now wants to talk to community groups and stakeholders.

This is political cynicism at its very worse compounded by the fact that that Marryatt still refuses to give back his massive and completely unjustified $70,000 salary increase.

Don't forget the protest outside the Christchurch City Council offices on Wednesday 1 February at midday.


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