The housing crisis deepens in the eastern suburbs. Meanwhile Sideshow Bob and his cronies on the Christchurch City Council think that red zone residents should still have to pay rates - for services that they are not being provided.
Despite the best efforts of 'the troika' - Brownlee, Sutton and Parker - to 'attenuate the positive' the crisis in the quake-hit eastern suburbs continues to deepen, threatening a winter of discontent for those who wish to portray Christchurch as entering a phase of 'renewal'. Plans are now afoot for another protest at the Christchurch City Council Civic Offices.
Little or no decent housing is now available with people forced to pay exploitative rents for inadequate and poorly maintained properties. How bad is the situation? How about having to pay $700 a week for a caravan? Well, you could just sleep in you're car - which is what some people have been doing.
There are numerous reports of landlords auctioning houses off to the highest bidder. Both the Government and the Christchurch City Council seem entirely unperturbed by landlords exploiting the desperation of people looking for somewhere to live.
Overall rents in Christchurch have risen by over 12 percent so far this year.
The response of the Government to the dire situation is to mindlessly chant that 'the market' will somehow sort on the situation. The victims of the Government's 'do nothing' approach are families living in overcrowded conditions and in garages and tents. The hardest hit by the government's neoliberal zealotry are the poor, beneficiaries, the disabled.
Cera chief Roger Sutton appears conscious that simply reciting platitudes about 'the market' coming to the rescue will do nothing to appease Eastside residents. Recently, in one of his regular newspaper columns, he has been boasting about the 'success' of the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accomodation Service.
This was set up in early 2011 but, as Sutton admits, is only presently helping out approximately 300 households needing temporary accommodation. This is simply putting a plaster on a situation when major surgery is required.
CETAS impact has been minimal especially when we consider Christchurch City Council lost 361 council homes after the major quakes and now has at least 250 people on its waiting list.
Over 2000 people have approached various agencies for help in finding accommodation.
Tenants Protection Association manager Helen Gatonyi commented earlier this month: "We are in a crisis, crisis, crisis. It's just about as bad as it can get and, yet, it's getting worse,"
The solution to the housing crisis is a real and substantial government intervention - an anathema to both the Government and to elements within the Christchurch City Council and the wider business community.
To add insult to injury, the Christchurch City Council has rejected a option for full rates relief for people with houses in the red zone.
"By definition, those in the red zones are homeless,'' said councillor Glen Livingstone.
And as one red zone resident commented: "We don't have any services. There's no water, no electricity, no rubbish collection, but we still have to pay rates."
While Sideshow Bob boasts about $20 million temporary sports stadiums, people in the Eastside are living in Third World conditions - and getting screwed over by the Christchurch City Council as well.