Where There's a Will
Mayor Bob Parker and Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee continue to bicker over whether Cantabrians need an insurance advisory service or an insurance advocacy service - as if the difference matters about 30 months after calls for assistance with insurance companies were first aired.
Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, pictured, questioned Brownlee about the insurance assistance in Parliament on October 26, 2010.
''Will he [Brownlee] support my recommendation to set up an advocacy support service to provide earthquake-affected residents with help in dealing with their private insurers...?''
Brownlee answered: ''I think it is very important that we do not begin by setting out a conflict situation between private insurers and claimants'', as if claimants were creating conflicts.
He continued: ''We first need to let the private insurers go and see what is required on their part, whether it is rebuild or repair.
Authorities re-opened Manchester St in central Christchurch last week and this morning it was like revisiting an extraordinary sequence in Christchurch history.
On one side, there were high piles of concrete rubble and twisted building iron. Over there, the massive Majestic Church building still advertises sermons from February 2011, when an R theme was underway: Repair: Feb 13; Rebuild: Feb 20; Restore: Feb 27. A little further north, Boogie Nights was planning a ''Back to Skool'' party on Feb 24.
Day-glo orange spray paint advises that the Money Club building at 146 Manchester was cleared by urban search and rescue on 6/3 at 1600 hrs. Another building boasts a good old-fashioned yellow sticker, even if it's dated 2012.
The Kensington Building at 179-185 Manchester, which last housed Comics Compulsion and a Turkish kebab restaurant among enterprises, is a fine commercial building of the sort that once dominated this great street. It's not on Cera's Demolition List so maybe it'll be saved.
I'm not getting rich from the Christchurch earthquakes and rebuild, but some people are clearly overloading their bank accounts and I wonder what's wrong with me.
The rebuild will bring something like $30 billion into the province over coming decades and you'd think it would take average intelligence and little luck for a miniscule percentage to flutter into a wallet.
On current form, I'll trouser nothing more than my salary.
You'd expect demolition companies, architects, building company owners and of course lawyers to get filthy rich out of the Canterbury situation, but almost every week I hear another tale about people finding golden bounties slipped under their door by the money fairy.
Peter Beck announced today he won't seek re-election to Christchurch City Council.
This hardly surprises, given the ''toxic'' disputes that have riven council since the quakes and Beck's essential gentleness.
Although Beck ''found the political infighting hard'', he's got sharper elbows than he admits.
First, he rose to be dean of Christ Church Cathedral, a significant position in the Anglican church in Christchurch.
And he stood up to his boss, Bishop Victoria Matthews, for as long as he could.
It's awkward for a Cantabrian to write about the Government spending taxpayer money bailing out private businesses and citizens.
After all, my province is the recipient of several billion dollars in earthquake bailouts. These include the purchase of about 8000 homes in the residential red zone and the Port Hills, the AMI insurance rescue, called Southern Response, uncounted millions for Christchurch City Council, survival grants for small and medium-sized businesses, a temporary rugby stadium. The list goes on.
Now the Government may have to prop up Solid Energy, which is troubled by $390 million in debt and low coal prices. Some might say that Cantabrians can't argue against bailouts for others when the province has been the recipient of so much. But let's see if these bailouts can be distinguished.
The financial assistance for Canterbury highlights the fundamental decency of New Zealanders. When the province was brought low by natural disasters, the nation responded with vast generosity. Cantabrians understand we owe a moral debt to the rest of the country and will pass that to our children and grandchildren and people not yet living here.
When Wellington is toppled by earthquake, Auckland smothered by volcano and other regions afflicted by massive natural disasters, Cantabrians will repay this debt.
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