There have been howls of outrage from The Commentariat about the gunking of Gerry Brownlee. But where has been the outrage about the behaviour of the Earthquake Recovery minister over the past five years?

THE SELF APPOINTED arbiters of what is and isn't appropriate behaviour, have issued a declaration that gunking the Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee, was wrong.

Former aspiring  National Party candidate Paul Henry said that the 'pathetic loser' who threw the gunk should 'have the book thrown at him.' He also suggested that behaviour had been encouraged because the woman who had threw a sex toy at Steven Joyce had been allowed to get away with it.

On Newstalk ZB Larry Williams could be heard joining another government supporter, Barry Soper, condemning the gunking.

 'He didn't deserve being treated in such a vile way,' puffed Soper, writing in the New Zealand Herald.

Also on Newstalk ZB Rachel Smalley said that the protest had shown 'poor judgement' and had been 'disrespectful' to the memorial service.

Meanwhile, Duncan Garner, co-host of TV3's Story, in Christchurch for the memorial service , reckoned the protest was 'not on and also said it was 'disrespectful'. This is the same Duncan Garner who described the anti-TPPA protesters in Auckland as 'a mob'

And so the outrage went on.

It's pity that none of this outrage has been exhibited over Gerry Brownlee's behaviour over the past five years. This is the man, who through his actions - or lack of action - has inflicted great hardship and misery on thousands of people in Christchurch.

This is the man who, for over three years, denied there was a housing crisis in Christchurch - who refused to act even when his own officials were telling him there were an estimated 7000 homeless people in the city. This is the man who has sat on his hands and allowed landlords to charge whatever they liked for accommodation.

This is the man who has refused to bring the insurance companies to heel. Last year he said a lawsuit against Southern Response over insurance settlement delays was 'opportunistic'.

But all someone like Barry Soper can come up with is cloying, sycophantic drivel like this: "Brownlee was born and bred in Christchurch and he, more than anyone else around the Cabinet table, wants to see the city back on its feet again.'

Really? The author of The Christchurch Fiasco, Sarah Miles,  is one of many who don't agree with Soper's rosy assessment of Gerry Brownlee. At the protest in Cathedral Square on Sunday she said:

"The physical ‘disaster’ is far from the whole event. It is also made up of those shocking post-disaster events; such as delayed insurance pay-outs, top-down authoritarian decisions, ineptitude of government departments, wide spread corruption in the guise of free enterprise, corrupt professional bodies – and the list goes on....

I have one simple question to ask today – what would happen if last week’s magnitude 5.7 earthquake had been another 6.7 earthquake? Has anything changed in the last five years? What progress have we made? I suggest that we have made very little of the right kind of progress."

Barry Soper's fraudulent narrative - and of others like him - needs to be exposed time and time again. Gunking Gerry Brownlee did exactly that. We can establish our own narrative and acts of non violent civil disobedience help us to do that.

Photo of protester: The Christchurch Fiasco


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