Thursday, October 06, 2011

A dictatorship in Christchurch?

Eighteen months ago, in what can only be described as a coup, the government disestablished the democratically-elected Environment Canterbury and replaced it with a clique of hand-picked dictators. Now, they may be planning to do the same to Christchurch. In Question Time yesterday, earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee was repeatedly whether he was planning to replace the Christchurch City Council with dictators. He repeatedly refused to deny it:

Brendon Burns: Having told the Press that the Government saw no need to install commissioners into the Christchurch City Council “at this time”, will he now confirm that the Government is in fact discussing such an option for implementation after the 26 November election?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I cannot speak for what the Government after 26 November will be doing.


Brendon Burns: Will the Minister confirm that among the reasons the Government is ruling out commissioners only “at this time” is that he knows that Christchurch City councillors will fight tooth and nail against the Government’s agenda to force the council, as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority legislation allows, to sell Christchurch’s $2 billion - plus in public assets to help pay for Christchurch’s earthquake recovery?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I have responsibility neither for the next Government nor for the Christchurch City Council.

In a political context, such repeated refusals to deny can only be taken as an admission. If Brownlee wasn't planning a Christchurch dictatorship, he could have said so. The fact that he equivocated and dodged tells us he is hiding something. The people of Christchurch should be very, very afraid for their democracy.