"I think it [Christchurch] is probably the most interesting city to be living in at the moment because not only do you have all of the amazing natural assets of Christchurch but you also have this incredible rebuild going on." That's Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck in January talking  about the bureaucratic rebuild that even the Treasury has recognised is a mess. What's going on? Why does Mayor Lianne Dalziel continue to defend the hapless Earthquake Recovery minister Gerry Brownlee and how come the critics of Brownlee have nothing to say about her support for him?

FOR FIVE LONG YEARS the central Christchurch rebuild has slowly grinded on. Despite the fact that the supporters of the lumbering bureaucratic rebuild have insisted - bar a few hiccups - that its all been going swimmingly well its been clear for some time that it has failed. Some of us predicted this would happen many years ago so we are not being wise after the event.

The government imposed central city rebuild, lobbied for by the corporates, has been a complete government made disaster on top of a natural disaster - and even the Treasury mandarins thinks its a dog. In a second damning report on the state of the rebuild in less than six months they state:

"..successful delivery of the project requires changes to budget, schedule, scope or benefits. There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which don't appear to be manageable or resolvable without such changes being made."

While Treasury's view that the rebuild can be rescued with a few budget changes and some reprioritising isn't convincing - to put it mildly - it is at least asking questions of a rebuild that are conspicuously not being asked by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel. She is supposedly representing the interests of the people who voted her into office and pay her rather large salary.

Once again she has let down the people of Christchurch, by coming out in defence of the hapless Gerry Brownlee. Dalziel seems to put great faith on what she has described as her 'good relationship' with him. Which was something former mayor Bob Parker was keen to emphasise as well.

Barnaby Bennett: Critic of Brownlee but supporter of Dalziel.
Parker was roundly criticised for his backing of the central city blueprint and his cosy relationship with Brownlee, but these very same critics are nowhere to be seen when it comes to Dalziel. It doesn't matter what she does or say her supporters like the politically flexible Barnaby Bennett have nothing to say. He had nothing to say when the Christchurch City Council decided to flog off its assets and hike up the rates and he's got nothing to say when Dalziel backs Brownlee - again.

Bennett's criticisms of the rebuild extend as far as Brownlee and the government but no further.

It probably looks like I'm singling out Bennett but he illustrates that cloying layer of Dalziel supporters who are under the illusion that things will somehow be different - and better - under Cera's replacement, Regenerate Christchurch.

Bennett would agree with  Labour's Canterbury spokesperson, Megan Woods, who thinks that Regenerate Christchurch is a 'big win' for Canterbury and that its leadership 'has a real track record of making things happen in Christchurch'.

By leadership she means people like Lianne Dalziel.

But there has been  no 'big win'  - not for the local community, many of whom are still struggling in the aftermath of the quakes. Regenerate Christchurch remains under the control of the government. There is no avenue for real participation by local people. It's full steam ahead with the government's corporate-friendly agenda.

Local people, like the local people being ignored by Dalziel and her council in the quake hit eastern suburbs, are still being denied a real say in the Christchurch rebuild. Instead we are supposed to put our faith in 'representatives' like Lianne Dalziel. No thanks.


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