Cantabs lack confidence in leaders

SAM SACHDEVA AND JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
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Mayor Bob Parker
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More than a third of Cantabrians lack confidence in those leading the recovery, with the Christchurch City Council the least trusted, a new survey has found.

The organisation is the worst performer in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's (Cera) 2012 wellbeing survey.

The survey of Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri residents shows that 37 per cent lack confidence in decisions made by those in charge of the rebuild, while 34 per cent say they are confident.

The Christchurch City Council was the least trusted of the central and local government agencies, with 41 per cent lacking confidence in their decisions, compared with 27 per cent who say they are confident.

In contrast, 40 per cent had confidence in Cera's decision-making and 29 per cent lacked confidence.

Residents are also divided on whether they have enough of a say.

Thirty per cent say they were satisfied with their opportunities to influence recovery decisions, while 28 per cent are dissatisfied.

Mayor Bob Parker said he was not taking the poor rating "personally".

The region had been through a "politically charged" era, where the council had been "barbed" by some people and judged on headlines.

Parker cited Finance Minister Bill English claiming in October the council was in financial trouble, which was "shown to be not really based in fact".

He was confident the council would fare better in future surveys as its sometimes "invisible" progress became more obvious.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the public's lack of confidence likely reflected "unfortunate issues" which had been "only too well canvassed".

However, he said those issues were now largely dealt with and the council was doing "a good job".

Brownlee said perceptions the Government had done a poor job communicating information should be put in "perspective" against the vast amounts of letters, newsletters, advertising and videos produced in the last financial year, as well as the advice centres set up in Kaiapoi and Avonside and the more than 70 public meetings held.

"Many of those public meetings have been uncomfortable affairs . . . [but] we haven't shirked from holding them."

Labour's Earthquake Recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said the survey did not necessarily reflect reality.

"The statistics don't show how much of a struggle people are going through, particularly in the east but also in pockets across the city," she said.

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The Canterbury Communities Earthquake Recovery Network spokeswoman, Leanne Curtis, said the results showed that agencies involved in the rebuild had failed to engage with the community.

"Leadership in that area has not been terribly visible . . .

"The times we've wanted Cera to step in and resolve issues with EQC and insurance, they haven't bothered."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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