Protesting with Christchurch's elders

Last updated 12:17 02/02/2012

protest eldersHere 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.

Consent concerns

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.

We're stuck

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

- The Press

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j.mayhew   #1   12:56 pm Feb 02 2012

Hey Will You need to go back to school to learn how to count past 1,000.

Lou   #2   01:08 pm Feb 02 2012

Why is the city competing with its ratepayers? If it provided the essential services and contracted the rest out to its ratepayers, it would save millions. No depreciation, layers of management, directorships to name a few. Where will the resistance come from? Clearly all those with a vested interest in the status quo. Unaccountable, bureaucrats, councillors having directorships for which few have the knowledge, skills or talent. Paying people for responsibility rather than performance encourages empire building. All heads of departments should be employed by the council on renewable, reviewable, performance based contract. Each head of department is allocated a budget (let’s start with last years for the example) from that he/she pays all wages, contracts and out goings. If there is a surplus at the end of the year, it is shared amongst the staff as a bonus. If there is a shortfall, it is cut off next years. If the maintenance is screwed to produce a surplus, it will catch up down the track. The appointment is for three years, if the executive has done a good job he/she is reappointed, if not down the road. The CEO reverts to being the town clerk, with the appropriate salary.

Joe W   #3   02:18 pm Feb 02 2012

"rabble-rouser Rev Mike Coleman"? I'll say this for Mr Coleman - while he's displayed a handy sense of humour in his public appearances and statements, he's never descended to that kind of self-demeaning cheap shot. He was also magnanimous in giving credit at yesterday's event to Mayor Parker's qualities - in my humble opinion, he was generous to a fault.

A little background on why Coleman was driven to become a public figure:

Fred   #4   03:02 pm Feb 02 2012

Dear will, 1. go back to school and learn how to count. 2. Stop being an apologist for Nick Smith. Incompetence has always been a lawful reason for sacking and even the odd early election (did anyone ever mention Ecan to you?)

TomV   #5   06:28 pm Feb 02 2012

I hope you guys attend class with him, there was nowhere near 4000 there.

Louis   #6   02:19 am Feb 03 2012

Stuck until 2013... Ah not if the protest goes on and the rates strike starts up. Just take it chch... Or actually fight back for a change. Hold a Saturday protest.. Demand a change not just beg for one and them go ho humm. Bob say nothing is going to change- prove him wrong.

EdW   #7   07:46 am Feb 03 2012

Fred #4

Sadly NZ law does NOT allow sacking for incompetence as such. You would have to go through a whole host of warnings, written warnings, identify performance definciences formally etc. (and this would be from his manager). That's not my opinion, it's a fact under the law.

As for an early election, well, as someone previously pointed out, existing councillors were elected by the majority of people in Christchurch. Even if there were 4000 there (media outlets have varied between 1000 - 4000, so suspect there was less than 4000), this represents 1% of the population of Christchurch. Hardly equitable if we allow 1% to force the hand of the other 99%, now, is it?

Untitled   #8   01:08 pm Feb 03 2012

At least Will says 'I put the Crowd At 1000'. I've seen various organisations state the crowd was 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 people. Someone ain't got it right. Maybe throw an 'estimate' in there somewhere.

Another fact that might need pointing out. CCC recently began recruiting for more staff in it's building consents area. Of course this was critised as a waste of money probably by the same people who are now complaining that consents aren't getting issued quickly enough.

Can one person tell me exactly what Tony Marryatt has done that deserves him to be sacked? And jealousy is not a reason.

sparrow   #9   07:55 pm Feb 03 2012

Hello untitled, in answer to your question just read the PRESS.

Henry   #10   12:55 pm Feb 04 2012

It's by far cheaper to get rid off the CCC and the wonderful CEO now, even they get a golden handshake, than having such an incompetence there for another 18 months. Nick Smith shows that he isn't much more of a fit for his job!

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