While the good people of Christchurch continue to struggle, Sideshow Bob is enjoying some extended overseas travel -  all paid for by the people he is supposed to represent.

While the government sits on its hands and does exactly nothing, rents have continued to skyrocket in Christchurch. And there's no prospect of any improvement in the situation  anytime soon.

Trade Me figures have revealed that rents have risen a by  massive 24 percent over the past year. Anyone looking for a house to rent for less than $600 a week will have to look long and hard.

According to the real estate industry rents  have, since the big quakes, have risen almost $100 for an average house. Indeed after months of refusing to acknowledge there was a housing crisis, the Real Estate Industry of New Zealand  now says that the city's 'housing crisis is unlikely to ease soon'.  Meanwhile the vampires continue  to make a killing at the expense of desperate  folk looking for accommodation.

Not uncoincidentally, local doctors wrote  out a record number of prescriptions  for anti-depressants during the past year. Nearly 210,000 prescriptions were issued  - almost twice that of Auckland, despite its much larger population.

Unfortunately Christchurch is stuck with a Mayor  who won't do his job. Sideshow Bob Parker has barely acknowledged that there is a housing crisis  and will say and do nothing without asking permission from  his master, Gerry Brownlee, first. 

While economic and social conditions have continued to deteriorate useless Bob has whiled away his days appearing in vacuous videos for Canterbury Tourism and pontificating on such vital issues as proposed cycleways.

In fact Bob's lack of concern for the good people of Christchurch is such that he hasn't  even been in the city for almost a quarter of this year. Sideshow and the wife have been holidaying overseas under the guise of visiting Christchurch's 'sister cities'. So far the couple  have been in the United States, South Korea, Japan and China.

Most recently, they spent almost a fortnight in China. Bob particularly enjoys visiting China where overseas politicians,  however insignificant, are accorded the red carpet treatment.   Readers may recall Sideshow defending the Stalinist regime's bloody crackdown of the Tibetan uprising in 2008. He claimed the Chinese regime had been unfairly treated in the western media.

The Christchurch City Council has been unable to quantify what tangible benefits Sideshow's travels have for the people of Christchurch - possibly because there aren't any.

Graphic: Porcupine Farm


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