Friday, November 18, 2011

Colour Protest: Key Lies, Brownlee Bullshits, Parker Poses, Sutton Silent

78 images, Cranmer Sq:

19.11.11. Rev Mike Coleman, spokesman, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq


             RIP CHCH

19.11.11. Protesters, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

Sunny Sat afternoon, 19.11.11: Those words were on protest placards held by citizens in the Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq. Spokesman, Rev Mike Coleman voiced complaints by citizens dissatisfied with poor communication by CERA, whenever colour zoning of Christchurch quake damaged properties was announced.

More than a year post Sept 4 quake & 9 months post Feb 22 quake, citizens were tired of waiting for slow CERA decisions, as post quake house zoning was taking months to complete, with incremental information, or zoning, coming in impotent dribbles.

Regarding PM Key, Labour leader Phil Goff recently stated in a TV election debate that Key lied.

Minister of Quake Recovery Brownlee often made confusing or obscure statements in the media regarding quake recovery.

CERA boss Sutton wasn't as media chatty as Brownlee & wasn't assertive enough, despite his majestic salary & guaranteed sheltered employment by CERA for the next 5 years. Sutton was govt appointed. He didn't have to hustle in elections like Key & Brownlee. (Dec 2014. Sutton resigned - sexual harassment).

Christchurch mayor Parker was notorious for his media posing at photo opportunities. Meanwhile Parker's Council charged rates to people forced from their quake damaged homes by red stickers, with varying geotech reports. CERA, EQC & insurers were on homeowners' backs too.

In the middle of Cranmer Sq, although there were speeches by several men, including Rev Coleman, protest placards said it all in the approx 400 crowd. Those 400 were a microcosm of 1 000s of dissatisfied people in Canterbury, regarding CERA's performance. Rev Coleman said Canterbury was the elephant in the room.

For 6 months post Feb 22 quake, Jake battled to find another hospitality job in Christchurch, few & far hospitality jobs post quake. He'd lost flat, job & best friend in the Feb 22 quake. People left Christchurch in droves, better jobs in Australia, higher wages & salaries. (Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce dissembled in "Aussie Exodus figures almost double"). Rebuild was stalled, due to slow EQC, CERA, insurer decisions & payouts.

Meanwhile PM Key & Auckland's ACT crony, John Banks fretted about a journalist taping them at a restaurant tea party. Didn't Key & Banks have more important things to do? They expected Christchurch citizens to vote for their parties in the 26.11.11 election, despite the elephant in the room.

Cranmer Sq protesters held Christian crosses, representing colour coding of CERA's post quake housing zones & symbolizing home hassles caused by the quakes. There were many colourful crosses: green, orange, red, white, black, blue, grey...

19.11.11. Protesters, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

The protest also wanted a "Call for an independent advocacy commission empowered to suspend CERA powers in the public interest." (Mainland Press 18.11.11). Citizens were angry at CERA's confusing, colour coding of properties, as well as battling wasteful, incompetent EQC & tight fisted insurers.

CERA's occupation of the CBD was an extension of the post Feb 22 quake, national state of emergency, with NZDF soldiers 9 months post quake still check-pointing the CBD red zone cordon. Brownlee & Sutton had huge state legislated, CERA powers to manipulate citizens, too much power for two men, as their decisions affected 1 000s of quake traumatized people.

More than a year post Sept 4 quake & 9 months post Feb 22 quake, a new, temporary Bus Exchange, CBD quake bus tours, shanty shops & container shops, mushrooming on demolition sites, didn't make Christchurch recovery.

19.11.11. Rev Coleman & protesters, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

Although young people protested, most protesters were Baby Boomers, successful people who owned homes, trashed by quakes. Tenants, like ourselves who rented houses, were also affected by CERA zonings, as we paid rates & EQC & insurer premiums via our rents. Any increases in rates & insurances, caused by CERA land zonings, soon caused our rents to increase.

Thus govt land zonings caused inflation in rates, insurances & the housing & commercial bldg markets (due to demolitions & low supply of viable bldgs) without parallel inflation of salaries & wages. Given govt depression of housing & commercial bldg markets by zonings, without salaries & wages increases, conflict & unrest were inevitable. Never mind immediate job losses caused by quakes. 

Protesters were angry at CERA's poor performance. CERA was a poor communicator, but good at demolitions. CERA just pumped out media releases, then expected lazy media to jazz releases up as news. Anyone could read media releases on CERA's website, but personal citizen - CERA contact was negligible.

19.11.11. Spokesman, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

Besides colourful crosses, there were many colourful banners & signs. Some citizens protested NZ govt, house valuation rort concerning quake damaged properties. Govt red zone offers were based on 2007 government valuations, GV:

      IS A

Whatever zoning CERA / NZ govt gave to land caused immediate reduction in land / house / commercial bldg values, especially red zoned housing & later TC3 green zoned housing. Why was NZ govt / CERA interfering in post quake housing & commercial bldg markets? Why didn't NZ govt / CERA just let EQC & insurers sort out claim settlements, without NZ govt / CERA land-grabbing large chunks of housing & CBD lands?

19.11.11. Protester wearing a condemned housing, red sticker, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

Some citizens protested tardy settlements by insurance companies: AMI & State:

     - U BET!





Some citizens protested heritage bldg demolitions:


Post 22.02.11 quake, the hastily stitched CERA Act made no provisions for saving quake damaged heritage bldgs (many were poorly strengthened pre quakes) so many heritage bldgs were willy-nilly demolished by Civil Defence & later CERA by gung-ho demolishers.

Some citizens protested about big business, in sympathy with world protests about financial markets & recessions:



Occupy Chch, motley lot, had occupied a cnr of Hagley Park, opp Christchurch Hospital, camping in tents for weeks.

Some citizens protested NZ state asset sales to foreign countries:


NZ National govt wanted to flog crown assets, like utilities, by means of selling shares, yet NZ govt / CERA intended land-grabbing new Crown assets in quaked Canterbury, in the form of red zoned residential land & CBD land, supposedly damaged by quakes. All that citizens had to verify CERA land zonings were NZ govt / CERA assurances that the land was quake trashed. Meanwhile NZ govt / CERA was chary of releasing geotech reports enabling them to red zone land in the first place. Conflict between NZ govt / CERA versus landowners was inevitable. Legal leeches awaited lucrative court actions.

Some citizens protested slow CERA, zone decisions affecting their post quake suburb - orange crosses stating:


Nine months post Feb 22 quake, Southshore land was still orange zone. CERA hadn't decided whether Southshore land, lining Avon-Heathcote estuary, was to become green zone or red zone. Most of Christchurch knew its land zone fate, but orange zone land in the CBD, Port Hills white zone land & Southshore orange zone land was still undecided by slow CERA.

Anyone living in white zones & orange zones were in limbo, not knowing whether their land would be zoned green or red. A cruel trick by tardy CERA. While the rest of Christchurch sorted out their green or red zoned lives post quakes, white zoners & orange zoners waited still.

Some citizens protested beach pollution: Recent Rena container shipwreck near Tauranga & its oil pollution pertained. Post quake sewage pollution in Avon River,  Heathcote River & Avon / Heathcote Estuary pertained.


While the protest proceded, quake tourists clambered into nearby tour buses for their weekend rubberneck of CERA's CBD demolitions. A big map on a tent showed the CBD red zone & bus tourists had to obey rules displayed on a board. Red Cross & St John personnel & 2 ambulances stood ready by tents below London planes, in case tourists found quake tours too much for their fragile nerves. As if Cantabrians would swoon at the sight of quake trashed bldgs.

19.11.11. Protester crowd, Show Your Colour Crusade, Cranmer Sq

19.11.11. Quake bus tourists, Cranmer Sq

19.11.11. CBD bus tour, red zone map, Cranmer Sq

19.11.11. CBD red zone, bus tour rules, Cranmer Sq

CERA's bus tour rules sign read:

Today you are going by bus into the CBD Red Zone. On the bus are two safety staff and a
bus driver. You must follow their instructions.

The CBD Red Zone is New Zealand's largest worksite. You will enter this active worksite
where dangerous work, including demolition, is in progress.

1) In the event of an EMERGENCY:

* Stay on the bus and take a braced position against the seat in front of
* Follow the instructions of the safety staff.
* Be responsible for the safety and actions of any children or limited
   mobility people that you are accompanying on the bus.
* If instructed, evacuate the bus and continue to follow safety staff
* Stay together as a group with the safety staff.
* Do not enter any building.
* Stay clear of overhead structures, be aware of potential fall zones.
* Be aware of ground conditions, especially damaged and unstable
   walking surfaces and ruptured surfaces.

2) Do you still want to go on the visit?
    Despite best efforts around safety you could still be trapped or injured by an
    earthquake, falling building, or other significant incident in the CBD Red Zone and
    you might not survive.

19.11.11. First aiders & ambulances, CBD red zone bus tours, Cranmer Sq

19.11.11. Security staff, CBD red zone bus tours, Cranmer Sq

Security staff in yellow, Hi Vis vests hovered under London planes. A cop, representing police state Canterbury, hung around at the back of the protest crowd.

19.11.11. Show Your Colour Crusade, marching from Cranmer Sq

After the protest, protesters marched off, crosses aloft, towards Cranmer Centre demolition site, to nail a grievance letter on a cross by CERA office, Martin Luther style.

Beyond CBD red zone tourist buses, I looked at quake demolition sites on both cnrs of Chester St West, where houses once stood. Months ago, when I'd wandered past, during the national state of emergency, NZDF soldiers guarded the junction. Three people were killed down Chester St West, when the old, stone Methodist Church collapsed in the Feb 22 quake.

21 images, Cranmer Sq, Kilmore St:

19.11.11. Quake demolition site, cnr Cranmer Sq / Chester St West. CBD red zone, dead bldgs beyond

19.11.11. CBD red zone tour buses, Cranmer Sq

I wandered down Kilmore St, looking at USAR / TF graffiti, which had polluted bldgs for many months & CERA demolitions: An orange digger heaped concrete rubble behind Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce bldg, decorated by USAR / TF graffiti on the front door. While I snapped, digger pounding felt like aftershocks, which would do more damage to surrounding bldgs.

19.11.11. USAR / TF graffiti on business door, Kilmore St

19.11.11. Quake demolition site behind Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Kilmore St

For months, I'd felt those demolition digger aftershocks while snapping demolitions: kind of sound / time lapse vibration. I stood about 50 m away from the working digger & while it pounded great concrete lumps, I felt aftershocks split seconds later, hollow thumpings beneath my feet.

For weeks, Leah felt those digger aftershocks at her school, when diggers demolished a section of Richmond Working Mens Club, on London St / Stanmore Rd cnr. Her school was shaken more by digger poundings then by quakes & aftershocks.

The Club demolitions were intermittent. Two years later, Nov 2013, the Club was still being demolished. By that time Leah was seriously looking for a teaching job elsewhere. She'd had enough of all the aftershocks, mostly man made. 

The problem with CERA & its minions, voiced at the Show Your Colour Crusade, was post quake bungling & damages, physical, social & emotional, caused by CERA, was more damaging & everlasting then the quakes themselves.

12.11.11. Copthorne Hotel demolition, in CBD red zone, seen from Durham St Nth

12.11.11. Serial quake trashed Crowne Plaza Hotel, awaiting demolition in CBD red zone, cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth

Diggers were parked by concrete rubble piles at Copthorne Hotel demolition site. Last weekend I'd snapped the beginnings of Copthorne Hotel demolition, while the hotel skeleton still stood.

12.11.11. Copthorne Hotel demolition in CBD red zone, cnr Kilmore St / Durham St Nth

A week later Copthorne Hotel was gone, rubble piles behind a red zone fence cordon. I'd once had a job interview at Copthorne Hotel.

Across the road stood abandoned Crowne Plaza Hotel in the red zone cordon, awaiting demolition, tatty curtains fluttering out of top floor windows.

19.11.11. Copthorne Hotel demolition site, in CBD red zone, Kilmore St. Quake trashed Crowne Plaza Hotel awaiting demolition behind

Up Kilmore St on Montreal St corner, by Cranmer Sq again, serial quake damaged Cranmer Court had boarded windows & gables. Cranmer Court was demolished in Oct 2012 despite heritage protests.

19.11.11. Serial quake trashed, boarded, Cranmer Court, cnr Kilmore St / Montreal St. Cranmer Sq left. Cranmer Court was demolished in Oct 2012 despite heritage protests

19.11.11. Red stickered, Cranmer Bridge Club, Armagh St, nr Cranmer Sq

I wandered along Rolleston Ave towards Canterbury Museum. By Christ's College gate, a sign showed that Chris Church Cathedral congregation worshipped in Christ's College hall, after the Cathedral was trashed by quakes. Parked tourist buses livened up Rolleston Ave.

5 mages, Rolleston Ave, Worcester Blvd:

19.11.11. Christchurch Cathedral's post quake worship sign, Christ's College gate, Rolleston Ave. Post quake porta-cabin classrooms in courtyard

Cnr Rolleston Ave / Worcester Blvd: Opp Canterbury Museum & Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Arts Centre was still fence cordoned after serial quake damages. The stone turret roof, removed from its tower post Sept 4 quake, still stood on Rolleston Ave pavement.

19.11.11. Fence cordoned entrance, serial quake trashed Arts Centre, Rolleston Ave. Turret roof removed & put on pavement

Worcester Blvd: Arts Centre, serial quake damaged, part deconstructed, clock tower had two vertical, steel, support girders. Horizontal steel girders supported an unstable gable by Rolleston Ave. For years, Arts Centre bldgs were fence cordoned along Worcester Blvd, Rolleston Ave & Hereford St, while restoration progressed.

19.11.11. Serial quake trashed Arts Centre, cnr Rolleston Ave / Worcester Blvd. Steel girders supporting part deconstructed clock tower. Gable, steel braced against aftershocks

Worcester Blvd was livelier than two weeks ago when I'd visited. The open coffee shop & ice cream hut were joined by pavement trinket sellers & an old lady flogging art from a blue car. Nearby container shops were being constructed, opposite the fence cordoned, serial quake trashed Arts Centre.

19.11.11.Trinket sellers & beginnings of shipping container shops, opp Arts Centre, Worcester Blvd

That Sat night, Show Your Colour Crusade was on national TV news.

The following Sat, 26.11.11, CERA allowed citizens walkies into Cathedral Sq from Cashel Mall. Citizens were allowed in, maximum 300 a time, 50 minutes only gawping at ruined Christ Church Cathedral. Citizens were told what shoes to wear, were told to carry ID & a charged cell phone & were told to tell someone of their Cathedral Sq rubbernecking. (The Press 25.11.11). As usual on my quake wanderings, I'd wear jandals.

As we'd already existed in police state Christchurch for over a year since the 04.09.10 quake, the ID rule to gawp at ruined Christ Church Cathedral, reminded me of my SA apartheid, ID dompas (dumb pass, ID "book of life") & other dompas IDs other racial groups had to carry during apartheid.

CERA's colour coding of unstable quake land reminded me of Nazi colour coding of death camp inmates. Christchurch & nearby quake towns had become concentration camps. We'd already endured Nazi architect Speer's Cathedral of Light searchlights polluting Christchurch night skies. (Local media man Gunn had pinched Nazi Speer's idea, using blue searchlights). As for bus tours from Cranmer Sq into the CBD red zone, they were like Nazi transports.

As there were still tall bldgs with lethal drop zones in Christchurch CBD red zone, which should've been demolished long ago, CERA's weekend bus tours & twilight tours & walks to Cathedral Sq beside cordon fences, were a decoy by slow CERA to cover no rebuilding in Christchurch's dead CBD. Precious little rebuilding was happening in the rest of Christchurch too.

Of course walks to deconsecrated Christ Church Cathedral ruin would open on election day, showing CERA's bias.

*Wandered Cranmer Sq, Kilmore St, Rolleston Ave, Worcester Blvd.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Aussie exodus figures almost double (Stuff Co / The Press)

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