Why a change in tack is well timed

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 07:58 16/02/2013

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The Rebuild

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OPINION: We now live in a city of rebuild, not recovery.

A captive audience of more than 40 local and international journalists were on hand to hear Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee make this proclamation yesterday.

Christchurch's central city red zone will henceforth be known as the "rebuild zone", the minister said, on account of the number of people in the area now working on repairing or building structures instead of demolishing them.

The shift in language is well- timed ahead of next week's second earthquake anniversary and the announcement is not wholly disingenuous.

Perception is reality.

If the people of Christchurch are given a reason to believe the earthquake recovery has turned a major corner, they will, and Brownlee did come armed with evidence.

Of the nearly 1100 people working in the central city red zone, many are interior design companies, painters, electricians, scaffolders and builders.

The red zone, already just a 10th of the size it was in February 2011, will be gone by the middle of the year, when New Zealand Army- manned cordons finish, and demolitions are complete.

There were updated figures for building consents, CBD land acquisitions, red-zone settlements, infrastructure spending and progress on building solutions for Technical Category 3 land.

A competition is under way for Canterbury children to design a new central-city playground.

Winners will be announced in the third term of the school year.

All are worthwhile achievements, but they should not detract from the focus on the future.

A two-year anniversary is a difficult milestone to manage.

Yesterday, Brownlee got the rhetoric just right. A lot has been achieved. But there's a long way to go if we are to realise the minister's vision and become "the best small city in the world".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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