Humour wins the day at rebuild plan debate

SHELLEY ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014

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Two major players in the Christchurch rebuild have taken aim at each organisation's role - all in jest of course.

Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji and Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild (Scirt) engineer David Rowland led their teams in The Great Debate at the Canterbury Club last night.

The debate topic was "The rebuild needs structured planning not creative thinking."

On the affirmative were Rowland, and Wynn Williams lawyers Sarah Hoffman and Jeremy Johnson.

Manji, lawyer Andrew Riches and former University of Canterbury student president Erin Jackson made up the negatives.

Rowland landed the first shot by poking fun at former mayor Sir Bob Parker and the council's Share An Idea campaign.

"Bob soon found out that when everyone is involved there are dumb people and dumb ideas, and we don't have time to explain why they are dumb," he said.

Parker discovered "we need technical stuff like all the rules required" to build structures, Rowland said.

"If we had skipped all of that we might actually be finished one of those bloody anchor projects."

Manji delivered a king-hit when he mentioned the award-winning, but flood-prone Fitzgerald Ave bridge built under Scirt's watch.

"It floods whenever there is a little bit of rain - that's what happens when you leave engineers in charge of the rebuild," he said.

The city was behind on the rebuild because there were too many plans and strategies, Manji said.

Riches delivered the line of the night, about the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera). "We need to start pushing back at the knobs at Cera, before they start taking the knobs off us," he said.

Manji's team was judged the winner.

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