Christchurch councillors weigh in on anti-Brownlee blog

An opinion piece shared widely on Facebook accuses Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee of being an obstacle to ...
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An opinion piece shared widely on Facebook accuses Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee of being an obstacle to progress who does not understand what makes cities function.

Two Christchurch City councillors have shared on social media an article calling for Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to step down.

Just days after Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel backed the Government's new plan for Christchurch's rebuild to be overseen by Brownlee, crs Ali Jones and Raf Manji on Saturday shared on Facebook an opinion piece written by architectural designer and PhD student Barnaby Bennett.

The article heavily criticises Brownlee and calls for him to step down. The Facebook post then says: "Share if you agree".

Manji also "liked" the article. He could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Jones, who has since taken down her post, said on Sunday she did not share it because she agreed with it.

"I shared it because anything that adds to the conversation about where we are going is good.

"I do not agree with him and I do not disagree with him."

She said she perhaps should have read the proviso "share if you agree" before sharing it.

Jones later clarified her position on Facebook, saying she shared the article because it raised issues she thought needed further investigation and discussion.

"I don't like witch hunts and I don't like character assassination but I don't think this is that."

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At 5.30pm on Sunday, Jones removed the post, saying "upon re-reading, it is very personal and I don't like that, regardless who it's about".

In the article, Bennett says Brownlee consistently misled the public, struggles to work with other people, has a habit of blaming other organisations or people, is not engaged with Christchurch, is wrong about heritage and existing buildings, is an obstacle to progress and does not understand what makes cities function.

Bennett then writes, it is "possibly not fair to blame all those things on the minister" and he has "some respect for the fact he is still standing after four years of this".

"But leadership change is sometimes necessary and he's done his time."

Jones said the part where Bennett suggested it could be time for Brownlee to step down needed further investigation but she was not calling for him to be replaced. 

"He must be bloody exhausted."

She said she and her fellow councillors were open to criticism and she saw it on social media all the time. 

Brownlee's spokesman Nick Bryant said the minister would not want to comment on the issue.

Dalziel could not be reached for comment.

 - Stuff

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