Diary of a Frustrated Christchurch Limbo Local

13 May

It is coming up to mid May 2012 and we (the long suffering orange zone limbo landers) continue to languish in our damaged houses. An entire suburb of nearly 250 households of young and old left hanging with no end in sight and wishing bolts of lightning upon the bureaucrats dithering and diving in closeted offices.

D-week for a decision release to red or green zoning, promised by both CERA and Gerry Brownlee by end of April (mind you he did not say which year), did not happen. Neither did Gerry’s first stab with October 2011, as this date passed quietly by without anybody feeling the need to inform us, the earthquake victims.

It is no secret this Earthquake Minister and master of bluster is nicknamed ‘bully’ around Parliament, and no surprise he has shown scant understanding of the plight of residential quake victims. Nor is it surprising that he is widely perceived as stealing the thunder of the real architects behind the commercial rebuilds by only turning up to front the media.

You will not see Mr Brownlee in robust debates or at public meetings, unless of course you can confront him when his mouth is not full at the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival for instance.

He has droned on about the Christchurch city rebuild, and like his more literate clone Mayor Bob Parker, is starting to realise you can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the voters all of the time. Hence he does not bother answering most queries, emails or letter, unless it is to stand once again larger than life in front of another temporary sports stadium erected in 100 days, basking in his own self-induced glory.

There is resentment by a large number of residents about the focus on the re-build of Christchurch, namely the inner city, when the overwhelming majority live outside that environment, some in awful conditions exacerbated by lack of decent accommodation, and hefty rent increases, absorbed by reduced household budgets spending less on the basic necessities.

There is a growing social disaster in particularly the eastern suburbs, areas where amidst raw sewage are pockets of people, some elderly, surviving in broken houses blinds drawn to the depressing of an empty neighbourhood, stark reminders of a slum with overgrown gardens and damaged streets.

Where there is illness brought about by the living conditions, mental fatigue from battling authorities, and despair about the future.

Areas where some street lights don’t come on, dogs and itinerants scavenge or steal as the remaining reside clinging to the little comforts they have left and praying the winter will be a less desperately cold one as 2011, facing massive  power and rates increases.

While the control of the inner city rebuild is manipulated by Czar Brownlee and his business cronies, as appears to have happened, the rest of us dream of saving our suburbs, and leave Brownlee to his publicity stunts and pomposity and beligerant ignorance.

Meanwhile the Orange roughies down South Shore, now entering 21 months since the first quake, contemplate the preferable return of the Roman Emperor Nero who fiddled while his city burned. At least he entertained his citizens while they suffered.

A land decision for us will still only be the very beginning of a process with the Government and insurance companies where it could be another two or three years before we get to either a rebuild or repair.

Brian Donovan

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One Response to “Diary of a Frustrated Christchurch Limbo Local”

  1. Kiri Stevens May 13, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Hm this is really interesting, sad and angering read Brian. Christchurch has not been in the news much recently which is very annoying and worrying. Thank you for reminding me of the things that people are facing everyday in Chch.

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