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Marryatt unsuitable for city recovery, says MP

SAM SACHDEVA AND RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2012

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Christchurch City Council chief executive Tony Marryatt is not the right man to lead the city's earthquake recovery, Christchurch East Labour MP Lianne Dalziel says.

Dalziel, Labour's earthquake recovery spokeswoman, has called for the appointment of a recovery manager to handle the council's quake response, allowing Marryatt to focus on "business as usual".

Dalziel, who attended Wednesday's protest against the council, said the large crowd showed the high concern about the council's performance. The council should separate its work into two streams, with Marryatt leading the council's normal business and another manager running its quake response.

"I don't think he's the right person to lead the recovery. You need someone with a very good way of communicating with a range of groups to lead and inspire the community."

The Government needed to clarify the "ambiguous" relationship between the council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority that was responsible for some of the problems, Dalziel said. "The council's not clear on what its role is, and it's not totally its fault.

"Part of it is that the Government doesn't communicate its position very well."

She opposed appointing commissioners, saying the move would increase the city's "democratic deficit", and new elections were "the only way to go" if the council's performance did not improve.

Internal Affairs Department spokeswoman Jo Watt said as far as it was aware, no council had held mid-term elections in New Zealand's history.

This excluded the amalgamation of, or replacement of, councils by commissioners, such as when a royal commission proposed dissolving the Auckland Regional Council and all seven territorial authorities in the city, instead opting for a single authority called the Auckland Council.

Christchurch's situation, with protesters seeking mid-term elections outside the normal election timeframe, was unheard of, Watt said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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