Friday, July 05, 2013

Asleep at the wheel in Christchurch

It sounds like Bob Parker is asleep at the wheel in Christchurch:

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker never read the initial report that raised concerns about the city council's building consent process.

Instead, he trusted the judgement of council staff and expected any serious issues to be raised with him.


Council staff never alerted him to the September 2012 audit by International Accreditation New Zealand (Ianz), which identified 17 failings in the way the council performed its building control functions. It was seen as a routine audit that all 69 consenting authorities in New Zealand deal with twice each year.


Council staff, including chief executive Tony Marryatt and regulatory services general manager Peter Mitchell, failed to tell Parker about a much more damning letter Ianz sent to the council on May 30. The letter gave formal notice of its intention to revoke the council's accreditation as a consent authority on June 28 if processing problems were not fixed.

Instead, he and other councillors learnt about it nearly a fortnight later through Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee's "media missile".

While no elected representative can read everything they are responsible for, they set the parameters for what they are informed of, whether explicitly by telling people "I want to know X", or implicitly by just ignoring stuff. While Parker is trying to blame his staff, the truth is that the only person responsible for his lack of knowledge is himself.

Its now up to the voters of Christchurch whether they are willing to endorse such lax oversight. But if Bob Parker was my mayor, I'd be voting him out on his arse.