TOWNSEND TURNAROUND

Last year the chief executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce declared that the Christchurch rebuild was officially underway and that he 'could smell the money'. This month  Peter Townsend is saying that the rebuild 'has only just started'.  What will be his view next month? Who knows...

One of the chief cheerleaders for the government's undemocratic and bureaucratic rebuild of Christchurch has been Peter Townsend.

The CEO of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce has regularly been in the media  over the past three  years talking up the government's rebuild plans.

In October last year, for example,  he declared that the rebuild was officially underway and that 'he could smell the money'.

His comments were  later  endorsed by the editor of The Press, Joanna Norris. In a opinion piece published in March this year she wrote:

Developers are pushing ahead with a flamboyance and ballsiness that is to be admired. Our city is booming. As Peter Townsend, told The Press in October: "You can smell the money."

But - hold on, folks  - Townsend has now changed his tune.

At the annual meeting of the Canterbury Employers Chambers of Commerce this month, he declared  that, in fact,  'the recovery process has  only just started'.

So clearly it wasn't money that Townsend was smelling last October - and you can insert you're own crude joke here.  But despite over three years of  him talking nonsense about the rebuild The Press has remained silent about Townsend's  flip-flop.

Of course this isn't surprising given that the newspaper's editor Joanna Norris has aligned the newspaper with government cheerleaders like Townsend. Norris should hang her head in shame (she won't) for declaring that Christchurch is 'booming' when, among other things, there are over 7000 people homeless in Christchurch and rent rises are out of control.

What we do know - and have known for some time - is that the government attempt to reshape Christchurch to meets the demands of business and the corporates has proven to be another disaster for the people of Christchurch.

But what is also true, sadly,  is that Joanna Norris and Peter Townsend will continue to peddle good news stories about the failed top down approach of the  Key government.

But I prefer to consider the views of someone like Sarah Miles who wrote on her blog in January this year: 'My prediction for 2013 is that it will look very similar to 2012.'

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