Protesting with Christchurch's elders
Here are my impressions of Wednesday's Just Say No rally protesting Christchurch City Council:
About half of the attendees had grey or white or little hair. I don't call them old. I call them elders - wise, experienced watchers of Christchurch City Council over many decades who lent their mana to the protest because the council has gone astray.
Or else, the not-retired didn't attend because they have jobs and can't get away at noon on a Wednesday. And it was the first day back for school and every parent in the city was finally getting back to their treasured routines.
And by the way 4000 people didn't turn out, as the police asserted. I put the number at 1000.
When I was standing on the southeast side of the crowd, the loudest derisive cheer went up when an early speaker noted that 29 people work in the public relations department at council. This was compared to three - count 'em three! - council staff who are authorised to sign-off building consents.
Alas, we weren't told how many people are employed overall in the building consents department. Betchya it's 29 or more.
University chief refuses pay rise
University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr issued a little zinger yesterday. ''Prior to Christmas I advised the VC Employment Committee of Council that I would not be accepting any increase in my remuneration during the remaining two years of my current term as VC,'' he wrote to staff.
''That is a personal choice which in part reflects the circumstances facing the university and the leadership role I hold.''
See it's not hard.
According to the letter delivered to council at the end of proceedings, protesters want two things: Tony Marryatt's head and early council elections.
Nick Smith yesterday crapped on both ideas. Forcing Marryatt from office overlooked "basic employment law", Smith said, and early elections wouldn't necessarily bring about the changes needed.
I have to agree. We're stuck with these people until 2013.
Rival protest movements?
Cr Glenn Livingstone wins praise for wanting a People's Republic of Christchurch, as I hoped last week.
Alas, this was quickly squashed by protest organiser Peter Lynch and rabble-rouser Rev Mike Coleman. They've got their own protest brand - Cantabrians Unite - and don't like competition.
Photo: Joseph Johnson/FairfaxNZ