'We're too jaded to cause a fuss'

19:50, Dec 04 2013

I was blown away by the response to last week's rant, with people emailing, phoning and stopping me in the street, all agreeing with my sentiment.

My feeling that the master-planned future-Christchurch has no place for all the seedy colour that any good city needs drew a strong, supportive response. Now I'm wondering, what next? How can we change things?

Just to recap: I am worried that the powers-that-be are shafting hard-working land and business owners - people who in the past have proven they could make a success of something, attract people into the central city, create jobs and make a buck.

These people seem to be being pushed aside in an effort to create a utopia, a city that I suspect can be on-sold within a very select group at a later date.

So, I got a lot of support, yes, but nobody had any suggestions on how we could resolve this mess.

It seems that although many of us are dissatisfied with the way things are playing out, we're too jaded to cause a fuss.


Maybe people just want to get back to normal and if that means lying down and taking it quietly, then so be it.

Why aren't we marching in the streets? Why aren't we knocking on the front door of Parliament, demanding the wider community have a role in this and asking the parties outside Government what their solutions are?

I think people are just worn down. They feel the big ball's rolling and there's no way to stop it. We also find it difficult to explain exactly why we're not happy - it's vague and esoteric and it's hard to rally against something like that.

"Generally Unhappy With the Way Things are Playing Out," is not the most succinct message to paint on a placard.

My parents' generation marched at the slightest sign of a rallying call.

They'd drop the kids with Grandma and take to the streets, cause a bit of unrest and make their point.

And do you know what? They managed to effect change. Who would have thought some hippies disrupting a rugby match would provide inspiration for those fighting to end apartheid in South Africa?

Now we have the internet and most activism happens in a virtual world.

The web is useful because if your subject is juicy enough, you can get the whole world interested.

But it also keeps us separated physically and I think our elected representatives still react more strongly when they see us assembled, shouting, in a mass.

Even now, most of them are from that generation of public protest and their reaction to it is far more visceral than, for instance, electronic signatures on an internet petition.

So I took heart to see frustrated homeowners rallying outside the Southern Response headquarters this week.

This group had the advantage of having a clear goal and, to be fair, Southern Response played the PR game well and have gone away to investigate people's issues.

I guess then we have to work on a rallying cry and what solution is needed, even if the solution is another round of discussion.

"A Bit Concerned That They May Not Have Our Best Interests At Heart" won't cut it. How about, "There's an election in 2014.

"You better start talking to a wider group of people"? Or, "Auckland, you have all the votes. If you let them cock this up, we'll all be up there sleeping on your couches.

"Save Christchurch, save yourselves."

The Press