THE NOT-VERY-SNAPPILY titled Future Christchurch Update is a free monthly tabloid dropped into the letterboxes of the good people of Christchurch. It's thoroughly absorbing - if you happen to have run out of toilet paper.
Future Christchurch Update is the replacement for another tabloid, the Greater Christchurch Earthquake Update, published by the now-defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority(CERA). The new publication is published by CERA'S replacement, the Greater Christchurch Group - in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council.
Although it describes itself as '"the voice of the Canterbury rebuild', you will searching long and hard to find any genuine community voices in this publication - because there aren't any. The only voices to be heard in Future Christchurch Update are those of the Greater Christchurch Group and the Christchurch City Council.
In the September issue we can read the monthly editorial from Karleen Edwards, the Christchurch City Council CEO. Ms Edwards wants us to know that Spring is 'a season synonymous with revitalisation and rejuvenation.' How nice.
She also wants us to know that the September issue of Future Christchurch Update is all about "the progress being made on the repair, restoration and re-opening of some of our much- loved heritage buildings." Inside the tabloid, there is a two page spread headlined 'Christchurch's heritage in safe hands."
Well, they might be much 'much loved" by the people of Christchurch but there are a whole lot less heritage buildings left to love after CERA's orgy of destruction.
While some heritage buildings were unsafe and there was no other choice but to demolish them, many could of been saved. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust fought a rearguard action to save Christchurch's heritage from the demolition teams but to no avail. The Government having stripped the Trust of any authority it was reduced to an advisory role - and CERA chose to ignore the advice of a body that Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson once described as the "guardian of Aotearoa New Zealand's national heritage".
Section 38 of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 gave CERA the power to carry out any demolition, regardless.
Former Christchurch City councillor and Trust board member Anna Crighton told The Press in 2011 that a "hasty" demolition process had allowed for the wholesale destruction of Christchurch's heritage.
"History will show just what a huge mistake we have made, ripping out our city heart," she said.
Also in 2011 former Councillor Peter Beck told The Press that the way heritage buildings were being pulled down left him feeling impotent.
''It's another example of the way in which the local community, through the council, is being ignored. The view of the people in this city is not being listened to.''
Green MP Eugenie Sage said:
"This is an unprecedented loss of our history and heritage. CERA and the Government appear to have blocked their ears to public concerns about retaining Christchurch's heritage buildings and how they contribute to the city's character and its attractiveness to tourists."
By February 2014, 43 percent of central Christchurch heritage buildings listed with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust had been pulled down.
So Karleen Edwards rosy view of Christchurch's heritage - or what's left of it - is false and airbrushes out of history CERA'S indiscriminate destruction that laid waste to some of the city's finest buildings. The people of Christchurch deserve better than being fed fairy stories like this.
incidentally, the man responsible for much of the carnage was Warwick Isaacs, the former head of the Christchurch Central Development Unit. It was reported last week that he had attended a taxpayer-funded management course in France, more than a year after leaving the CCDU. CERA covered the $55,000 course cost.