Pita Sharples and the Maori Party wake up to the fact that something is rotten in Christchurch...

Maori Party co-leader Pita  Sharples has apparently  just discovered there is a expanding and deepening  housing crisis in the quake devastated eastern suburbs of Christchurch.

On a brief visit to Christchurch, Sharples was apparently  'shocked' to learn of the appalling conditions that people are being forced to endure in the Eastside.

Reports The Press::

Sharples visited Christchurch late last month and heard the "chronic housing issues" Maori community workers were still battling with, including a blind couple who were living in a garage and a woman who had been living in her car for weeks.

"I was shocked when I heard details of the hardships some people were enduring and I was really annoyed that they are still in that position," he said.

The  obvious question is where has Peta Sharples - and the Maori Party - been for the past year or so?  

Organisations like the Wider Communities Earthquake Action Network  and the Tenants Protections  Association have consistently highlighted the deepening crisis.   There have been protests outside Gerry Brownlee's Christchurch  office. There have been numerous meetings. Mayor Sideshow Bob has been consistently  lambasted  for his  failure to represent the interests of the eastern suburbs.

Helen Gatonyi of the Christchurch Tenants Protection Association said in April: 'We are in a crisis, crisis, crisis. It's just about as bad as it can get and, yet, it's getting worse,"

And just last month businesswoman Ann Robinson released figures that showed Christchurch tenants had been hit with rent rises of up to $50 a week, forcing some families to "slip below the poverty line"

Said Robinson: "We are looking at ordinary people who are now on the bones of their backside through no fault of their own. It is the working poor that have been left with financial issues from all this....There are massive, massive issues here. People say we are in a housing crisis now, but we are well and truly on the brink of something a lot bigger..'

Sharples response to the crisis is to suggest that Christchurch folk  squat in abandoned red-zoned homes rather than endure the  harsh winter months in garages and cars.   This has earned him, not surprisingly, the ire  of  the do-nothing Gerry Brownlee who has described his comments as 'irresponsible'.

But what is really 'irresponsible'  is a  Government  that refuses to acknowledge there is a crisis  and thinks, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that 'the market' will solve all of Christchurch's problems.

Says  Gerry Brownlee : "I've taken a good, hard look at it over quite a long period of time and I don't think it's a crisis,''

Rather than political grandstanding, Sharples  and the Maort Party should be publicly challenging  the Government for its failure to accept that a massive social crisis has unfolded in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch.


  1. Poor Sharples. Was he attempting to assuage his conscience after taking his 40 pieces of asset sales silver? If so he's only dug himself deeper. Now he's been attempting to track down too-busy Brownlee in order to deliver a groveling apology. Not only does he accept that the onus is on him to abase himself, he's also compounding his humiliation by seeking to prostrate himself before the man whose last shadow ministry was Maori Affairs.

  2. There are hundreds of homes, apartments and accommodations for rent in Christchurch. Check Trade me. The difficulty, crisis, if you will is new poverty. People are looking for homes under $300 and that is where the problem is.
    It is not therefor a supply crisis generally, I have sent a lot of information about availability of homes in various categories to Brownlie. At the $400 and upward range it is a buyers market, at least it was in April / May when we had potential tenants haggle with us till we gave up, and opted for the insured Earthquake refugee market.


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