Editorial: That's a lot of money

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2013

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There was no relationship between the stories except where they appeared on the page. Which was beside each other.

Oh, and both involved money.

One, our lead story yesterday, highlighted a lack of it.

Timaru housing rents have gone up 7 per cent in the last year, and that is hurting some lower income families. Said one: "With the rental and petrol prices it's a killer for us all. The poor are getting poorer."

But not everyone is poor, as the story right next to that one coincidentally noted.

Doug Martin has just been appointed the Crown manager to sort out the Christchurch City Council's building department mess . . . on a rate of $2000 ... a day.

With his accommodation and travel expenses on top of that.

Those struggling to pay $280 a week for a three-bedroom Timaru house could not begin to fathom having that sort of money. "Rent? Heck, I'll buy the house, and the one next to it."

Nothing against Mr Martin personally, but he could pay the rent on a Timaru house by morning tea on Monday. Now sure, we all have different skills, and sorting the Christchurch consenting process is vital, but $10,000 a week?

Paid for by ratepayers? That's a staggering amount of dosh.

Is it really the case that Mr Martin or someone else could not have been employed for $8000 a week, or $6000 or $4000?

Who sets these sums? Certainly, the building department is in something of a pickle.

To issue consents it must be registered, and to be registered it must be accredited, but its accreditation has been revoked.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says that doesn't mean the council can't issue building consents.

He explains it thus: "(The council) is still registered under section 191 of the Building Act and revocation of accreditation does not automatically revoke the council's registration, but it does mean it no longer meets the criteria for registration."

O ... kay.

If you can follow that maybe you are worth $2000 a day.

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- The Timaru Herald

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