Angry Aucklander triggers Chch debate

AMY GLASS
Last updated 08:46 14/12/2012
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BEN WATSON/Fairfax Media
ANGRY AUCKLANDER: An Auckland man has called Christchurch a "grotty little country town".
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Do you believe David Brown has a fair point?

No, his comments are offensive.

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An Auckland man who called Christchurch a "grotty little country town" with its "hand out for free stuff" has sparked debate this week.

On December 10, The Press published a letter from David Brown criticising Christchurch and the city's rebuild.

"As an Aucklander, I am sick of hearing about the ambitions for building some new super-duper, multibillion city to replace the grotty little country town that Christchurch was," Brown wrote.

"I don't want to pay towards its rebuilding, and many people all around the country agree with me.

"Canterbury has had its hand out for free stuff for too long. You want to live there? Pay for it yourselves." 

The letter triggered an angry response from Press readers.

One letter writer wrote: "Until I read David Brown's letter to the editor, I was unaware of the pain and suffering Aucklanders have had to endure because of our quakes

"How could we have been so selfish as to stage the quakes? Obviously they were planned, and done to draw funds away from Auckland roading developments." 

Other writers invited Brown to come and see the city's devastation.

"How sad that David Brown's thought processes have spiralled out of control when he refers to the greed of Christchurch people emptying the pockets of New Zealand's citizens," Lillian Lambert wrote.

"It is my fervent wish that David Brown never experiences the death and destruction Christchurch residents were exposed to through no fault of their own."

Colleen Biggs wrote: "Could somebody please pop David Brown's dummy back in his mouth."

Brown responded in The Press yesterday, calling Christchurch people arrogant to expect the taxpayer to "provide the funds to rebuild a city to a higher standard than they are willing to pay for themselves".

"If Cantabrians before the quakes were not prepared to put in the due diligence or pay the costs to ensure that safe buildings were built, why should the rest of country now pay to replace shoddy buildings?'' he wrote.

"At every level - design, construction, consenting - Christchurch's infrastructure industry has always been in the hands of cowboys and cheapskates." 

Bill Parks responded to Brown in today's Press, calling his comments "a slap in the face".

"Whether his point about rebuild funding has merit is immaterial; the tone of the letters is offensive," Parks wrote.

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"Alas, rather than take the high road of reasoned argument, some writers to The Press have descended to the same low level, using terms like 'Jafa' and calling Auckland 'cruddy, crime-ridden'.

"We residents of Christchurch have had a hard time of late, but that is no excuse for us to resort to cheap insults.

"I do not for one second think Brown's opinion reflect all Aucklanders. I've met too many wonderful Aucklanders to write off an entire city based on nasty comments from one individual." 

Do you agree that Christchurch is grotty and residents are greedy? Have your say on the debate below and vote in our online poll.

- The Press

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