Murphy’s Road Vs footpaths in East Christchurch
Inquiry into Council contracting will be an urgent priority of John Minto as mayor
Christchurch City residents are right to be very angry that the council allowed contractors to decide repair priorities after the September 2010 earthquake with the result that a barely used country road – Murphy’s Road – was repaired by contractor Fulton-Hogan who just happened to have a major sub-division planned on adjacent land.
At the same time – six years after the quakes, residents in East Christchurch complained to mayoral candidates that In response to an Official Information Act request the council offered no explanation aside from the astonishing comment:
“This repair was identified for inspection and repair by our contractor at the time Fulton-Hogan. Repairs were undertaken during the emergency works period, to make the road accessible. The Christchurch City Council Pavement Maintenance Team Leader authorised the repair and invoice”
Since when have contractors made decisions about priorities for roading repairs?
Why were roads and footpaths in Christchurch East, where the damage was greatest, not prioritised?
Why are elderly residents there still feeling trapped in their homes by footpath damage unrepaired six years after the quakes?
I have written a blogpost on this situation which is here
The Murphy’s Road situation raises a host of issues around contracting. In Auckland bribery, corruption and fraud have been found in the contracting relationship between Auckland Transport and at least one contractor.
The public needs assurance the same does not happen in Christchurch.
In the Press debate last night incumbent Mayor Lianne Dalziel drew applause from myself and others for a statement we interpreted as a significant change in her attitude to asset sales.
Under fire over her record of supporting asset sales the mayor said –
‘We can obtain cash from these companies without selling
shares and I can say not a single share from any of these
companies needs to be sold to balance the books’
In less than 12 hours the mayor was backtracking on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report which reported:
“This morning, on RNZ’s Morning Report Ms Dalziel would only confirm that
strategic assets would not be sold without public consultation.
Asked whether she could guarantee not a single share would be sold, Ms Dalziel
said she could not.”
I think the mayor’s comments at the Press debate were designed to mislead voters and our assets will be back on the block after the election.
The mayor knows a big majority of Christchurch residents are adamantly opposed to asset sales so she sought to defuse the issue before the election rather than honestly front the issue.
Voters don’t want weasel words – they want to know if the mayor intends to resume her asset sale program if she wins the election and if so what assets she intends to sell.
KOA has released its Charter on Quality Public Services.
Predicated on the assertion that quality public services are essential for the development of a fair, prosperous and democratic society the charter underpins Keep Our Assets commitment to our community’s well being.
Decisions by us, for us, made here
“Great cities are known for their architecture; truly great cities are known for the way their citizens treat each other” said KOA mayoral candidate John Minto. “Clearly the corporate rebuild of our City has been an objective failure, it is time for a people’s centred agenda” added Minto.
The fundamental importance of Quality Public Services is in building communities that are economically and environmentally sustainable, based on social and economic justice.
Release of the Charter coincided with the Minto for Mayor endorsement by the ‘Jobs that Count’ campaign whose candidate pledge calls, in part, for putting families first, “so they can live a good, full life – with warm dry housing and food on the table”.
The Jobs that Count Candidate Pledge
I’ll be there
As an elected member of local government, I take the Jobs that Count pledge to make our towns and cities better places to live and work.
I stand for people.
I will put our families and kids first, so they can live a good, full life – with warm dry housing and food on the table.
I stand for good jobs.
I will promote people’s voices at work, fair pay, and the fundamental right to be a union member.
I stand for the things that matter.
I will ensure the businesses that operate in our community are fair employers, keep our rivers clean, and sustain our natural environment.
I stand for community.
We all benefit when we look out for each other
Christchurch deserves a full and frank explanation
Christchurch mayoral candidate John Minto is challenging National MP Gerry Brownlee to a public debate on the government’s payout of $595,000 each to four of the minister’s wealthy constituents when they were entitled to just $20,000 each from EQC.
The payments were made for land remediation following the September 2010 earthquake.
While other properties were to be covered by a $140 million fund National’s cabinet agreed to pay five landowners on “isolated properties” (four in Fendalton) individual pay-outs of eye-watering sums which other Christchurch residents with similarly damaged land could only dream of.
The government’s explanation has been weak and unconvincing. Christchurch deserves a full and frank explanation with the opportunity to question the minister.
Hence this challenge issued by email to the minister today.
Enable to go back on the strategic assets list
Christchurch Mayoral candidate John Minto is delighted at the announcement by incumbent mayor Lianne Dalziel that the council’s fibre broadband company Enable will go back on the council’s strategic assets list after the election if Dalziel remains mayor.
We are very pleased the mayor has had a change of heart.
Enable was quietly removed from the strategic assets register last year so no consultation would be needed for the council to sell it.
Under pressure on the election trail the mayor made the announcement at a candidate meeting in St Albans Uniting Church on Friday night.
“I challenged her about Enable being dropped from the strategic assets register so it could be sold without consultation. The mayor responded that she’d be happy for it to be reinstated because the council now owns 100% of Enable. She repeated this later saying it would be reinstated after the election should she win.”
“It’s clear the mayor wants to neutralise the issue of asset sales during the election campaign with the abandonment of the sale of City Care and reinstatement of Enable.”
“The problem for Christchurch is that without a change in city leadership these assets will be back on the block for sale after the election.”
Our assets help future-proof the city against rate increases which are already too high.
KOA Convenor Murray Horton comments:
“Today is the sixth anniversary of the first earthquake. It has taken that long for the Mayor and her pro-asset selling Councillors to come to their senses and start to step back from the shock doctrine of disaster capitalism rammed down their all too eager throats by a pro-privatisation central Government. There never was a need to sell pubic assets and it’s good to see the Mayor and Council coming out of their trance, first with regards to City Care and now with Enable. Better late than never – but KOA won’t put away our banners until the Council completely abandons its policy of selling assets”.
KOA Media Release
Last week Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee sent me a letter in response to a blog I wrote about four of his wealthy constituents getting $595,000 each for land remediation after the September 2010 earthquake when they would have been entitled to only $20,000 each from EQC.
The original story in the Press is here.
The blog I wrote about it is here.
Mr Brownlee’s letter to me is attached to the end of this blogpost. He is offering a briefing from EQC’s senior leadership team, the Insurance Council of New Zealand and Regenerate Christchurch to let me know how they go about their business.
A cynic may say Brownlee’s letter is an attempt to bury – under a mountain of erroneous detail, confusion and diversion – what appears to be a straightforward case of corrupt practice. Is it an attempt to shift the blame from the Minister to nameless officials in government agencies?
Keep Our Assets Canterbury, for whom I’m standing as a mayoral candidate in Christchurch, is following up on the Minister’s offer.
However, I am following up with questions to the Minister about the government’s gold-plated decision for Fendalton but readers may also have questions for Gerry Brownlee on this rotten deal or on other aspects of the earthquake, the rebuild or government priorities for Christchurch.
If you have questions for Gerry Brownlee please include them in the comments section below. We will collate them and send them direct to the Minister for answers.