The Government is imposing a new economic order on Christchurch - one that includes a giant transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. What has Sideshow Bob got to say about it? Nothing.
September 4, of course, marked the day when, two years ago, Christchurch was hit by the first of a series of devastating earthquakes. The media did the predictable news stories and interviews to mark the occasion and, as a consequence, Mayor Sideshow Bob has been all over the media - television, print, radio, internet.
Of course we are talking Sideshow Bob, a lacklustre and ineffectual mayor whose own high opinion of his abilities aren't shared by most of Christchurch. This is mayor who has disgracefully refused to defend the interests of people living in the eastern suburbs in favour of snuggling up to Earthquake Recovery minister Gerry Brownlee.
On TVNZ's six o'clock news show Sideshow Bob was asked why it was taking so long to do things like repair people's damaged houses.
Bob's reply was along the lines of ' Yes, things aren't going as fast as we would like. We would all like to see things moving quicker. Yes, it is very frustrating.'
He made it sound as if no one was at fault, especially not the Key Government. It's just a natural phenomena undisturbed by human input. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west and people live in damaged houses and get screwed over by insurance companies and landlords. That's just the way it is. There's nothing we can do about it. So I'll just go holiday with the wife, okay?
If we had even a half decent television news service the glib Bob would not of been allowed to get away with this dismal defence of the Key Government but get away with it he did.
A few days earlier, on a lousy panel discussion on Newstalk ZB, Bob ventured the opinion that Christchurch people might have their 'differences' but we were all 'united' in the common cause to rebuild Christchurch. Bob made it sound that any disagreements were inconsequential to 'the big picture'.
While Sideshow was having a none too subtle dig at the Government's detractors he did speak some sense - but not in the way he intended.
The interests of the eastern suburbs have indeed been largely deemed inconsequential to 'the big picture' - the rebuilding and reconfiguring of the local economy.
As local capitalism is reshaped by neoliberal forces anything on the periphery to this project has been given low priority.
The Government is overseeing this new realignment with the compulsory acquisition of central city land which will benefit the large investors and the property developers.
Over 800 property owners have been served with letters of acquisition by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). Roger Sutton of CERA has described the plan for the central city as 'unbelievably exciting'. This is certainly not the view of local business interests who think they are being asset stripped in favour of a new corporatism.
And while the Government overseas the imposition of the neoliberal economic model on Christchurch, the Eastside has been left exposed to the ravages of 'market forces' and you don't have to look too hard for evidence;
Petrina Galvin of Richmond says her neighbourhood is falling into 'disrepair'. She says the road are 'a complete mess.'
' I have made calls and asked for someone to come and fix up these roads. I am not demanding that it be done immediately, but some communication would be nice.'
Ms Galvin is being too kind - after two years of inaction she has every right to demand that the roads be fixed immediately.
And community organisations in the eastern suburbs have been asking for months when the many state houses will be repaired. In Aranui alone there are over one hundred state houses that are empty, awaiting repairs. Just a short walk from my house in Shirley there is almost an entire street of empty state houses.
Meanwhile Gerry Brownlee has consistently ignored calls to do something about the escalating rents in Christchurch, declaring that 'the market' would sort it out and determine what a 'fair rent' is. . He has simply disregarded the overwhelming evidence that there is a housing crisis in the eastern suburbs.
In stark contrast Brownlee and his government haven't hesitated to intervene in the commercial property market.
What are we witnessing is the transfer of wealth to the already wealthy.
It will be interesting to see when the Government decides its opportune to sell the assets of the Christchurch City Council.
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