More hot air from Sideshow Bob....

Could the good people of Christchurch be stuck with a more poor mayor than Sideshow Bob? The man is specious, vacuous and duplicitous.

Such is Sideshow's craven capitulation to the Key Government he has registered no protest about  the Christchurch City Council being denied  any significant input into the rebuilding of Christchurch.

Despite the fact that thousands of Christchurch people  contributed ideas to the Council's draft central city plan that plan was summarily rejected by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA)

CERA's   Roger Sutton wrote to Sideshow Bob advising him that the inner city plan was not  acceptable to the government  because it  did 'not represent  the requirements or aspirations of commercial property owners or  investors'.

So CERA has undemocratically imposed its  own plan on Christchurch ,  a plan that might meet the 'aspirations' of property owners and investors but it certainly doesn't meet the aspirations of the people  of Christchurch.

People like Peter Townsend, the CEO of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce,  invariably claim that the interests of business and the interests of local people are one and the same.  They are lying.

But did Bob protest on behalf of the people who pay him a six figure salary to defend their interests? No, he  didn't.  In fact he declared CERA'S plan to be 'exciting'.

As I wrote at the time: 'What  we now  have is the blatant  denial of democratic process or community involvement in the rebuild process.  It seems that a select few in the corporate sector are to  benefit from or have any say in the rebuilding of Christchurch. '

But Bob has failed the people of Christchurch in many  other ways.

He has barely raised  a whisper about the  continuing crisis in the eastern suburbs, for instance.

Rents have  skyrocketed and people are sill living in damaged houses  in garages, in caravans and cars. Bob has  said nothing. 

Nor has he  had anything to say  about the continuing  difficulties  that people  are having with  the Earthquake Commission and the insurance companies. People's lives have been made a misery and, again, Bob has said nothing. 

So what exactly has  Sideshow Bob been doing?

This  week he has been pontificating  about encasing the quake wrecked Christchurch Cathedral in glass. Good one, Bob  - let's avoid the real issues that are of embarrassment to your government masters and talk about something that is safe and irrelevant  instead.

But, wait, there's more!

He's also been speculating about creating a food forest within the proposed Avon River corridor. Sideshow got this idea from his recent trip to Seattle where he visited the Beacon Food Forest, which opened in 2012.

A food forest is basically a self-contained ecosystem which provides edible plants, fruit, etc  for the local community. The Beacon Food Forest is a seven acre development run by the community on behalf of the community. It explicitly rejects the policies and values of  the corporate-driven neoliberal economy, which is something Sideshow Bob conveniently forgot to mention.

Such a non-profit community project providing free food for the people of Christchurch would be an  anathema to the neoliberal ideologues who want 'the market' to dictate terms.

Sideshow  Bob might  say that 'he is more than happy' to raise  the idea of a  food forest with government but it will be rejected.

So Bob is not only blowing more hot air he is simply pretending that the  neoliberal  market model that is being imposed on Christchurch has the capacity to meet the needs of the local community - it doesn't.

And, as Porcupine Farm has pointed out, the idea of a food forest has been advocated locally for many years. And it has been consistently been rejected by  local bigwigs.  So what has changed? Is it simply  a case of Sideshow Bob trying  to justify his Seattle jaunt?

Graphic: Porcupine Farm


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