On March the 21st a group of Christchurch property owners held a protest at the length of time it was taking for them to be permitted to visit their earthquake damaged properties cordoned off in the red Zone of the city. After the failure of the head of the CD to speak to them, the property owners stormed the cordon. The usual lame talking heads that dominate the political discussion in NZ condemned their actions as unsafe and unnecessary.
Worst, National’s John Carter, the Minister responsible, issued a statement highly critical of the property owner’s actions and admonishing them much in the way a school teacher might admonish unruly school children.
“It is foolish to breach the cordon around the red zone. People died behind that cordon,” Mr Carter said. “The destruction from the earthquake was extensive and left many buildings in an unsafe state. Civil Defence has been working tirelessly to get the area into a safe state. [..] Business owners need to exercise patience and consider their need to access their businesses, bearing in mind that in doing so without authorisation they may not only endanger their own lives, but also the lives of others. Safety is paramount and business owners will not be allowed into unsafe buildings.[..] It is serious that people think they can storm or breach the cordon. They put lives at risk doing that and they will be prosecuted.”
This is arrant patronising nonsense of course. Carter was misusing the serious matter of public safety to justify the inefficiency of the bureaucracy he was responsible for. The truth of this assertion is made obvious by the fact that only a few days later, after weeks of delay previously, the cordon is lifted and access is permitted.
National controller Steve Brazier said Civil Defence had made significant progress in opening the cordoned areas due to staff working overtime and good planning.
What the hell? This was an urgent and important matter. They should have been working overtime anyway. Furthermore, if good planning is given as the reason for the change, then clearly it wasn’t being used before. What was going on here? No overtime when the job was about as urgent as one could get, and a deficiency of good planning, while property owners suffered from a very costly loss of income and a plague of looting?? Outrageous.
The long term trougher Carter is leaving at the end of this term. He should be fired right now for clearly being asleep at the wheel on the Christchurch earthquake recovery project.