Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not Quakes, But "Blow, winds & crack your cheeks; rage, blow..." Parker, Marryatt, Council Fiasco

Tuesday 10.09.13, late evening, winds of change howled across Christchurch. After my belated birthday dinner, while driving Luke & his girlfriend to his Ashgrove Tce flat, our journey across town was interrupted by a fallen oak across Guildford St. Fallen power lines swung wildly above my car while I reversed to get the hell out.

I flicked my headlights warning 2 cars, entering Guildford St from Grahams Rd, about the fallen oak danger. It was nor'wester gale damage. While I drove across town, we saw many fallen branches on roadsides & on roads. Rubbish bins & roads cones were scattered like skittles. Dust whipped up by the gale caused murky vision.

The dry nor'wester gale caused so much static over Canterbury Plains, I saw yellow sheet-lightning strikes in the sky. Rare for Canterbury. 

On my return to Burnside, close to home, I saw 2 more trees blown over by the gale - a birch on Clyde Rd pavement, a birch across Greers Rd which had crushed a red Volvo. By that time 2 cop cars with flashing lights blocked Greers Rd access, so I drove the long way round to Heath St. Four fallen ornamental apple tree boughs lay on Heath St pavements.  

The gale had whipped open our locked garage doors. To stop them banging all night I secured them with bricks, a barrow, a ladder, a folding table, a metal pole & concrete block. "It'll take a quake to open those doors," I said to Leah.

Wed 11.09.13. Post gale, next morn the garage was still secure, but a bough from our plum tree had fallen behind the garage. Morning news TV did a piece on the squashed Volvo. I knew a thing or two about storms, "cataracts and hurricanoes," as I'd once played the Fool in King Lear.

The Press front page: 



During my recent Fendalton walks, while spring magnolias, azaleas & rhododendrons bloomed, I saw many post quake constructions & repairs, like concreting driveways, fixing chimneys, fixing roofs, electrical jobs, plastering jobs, paint jobs, tree trimming, new house constructions & Harcourts SALE boards - people cashing in on on land subdivisions, with the artificial shortage of land created by NZ govt / CERA land zonings.

There were many different contractor vehicles parked by construction & repair sites. Not a Fletchers vehicle in sight, as Fletchers subcontracted EQC repairs. Alternatively, western property owners had received insurance pay outs & were doing repairs / rebuilds themselves, or their insurers were doing repairs / rebuilds.

There were also FOR SALE or AUCTION signs, people cashing in on high demand for properties on safe TC1 or TC2 land, whereby those selling properties would include geotech reports extolling quake safe land. I saw a drill rig & also sucker trucks sucking sewage muck after rains.

Post gale, I snapped pics of gale damages on my circular Burnside - Bryndwr - Fendalton walk, together with construction activity & contractors' boards hanging on fences. It was one of my favourite walks, giving the lie to E suburb, quake whingers, as Fendalton & environs had quake & gale damages too. I snapped pics along Heath St, Guildford St, Greers Rd, Clyde Rd, Ilam Rd, Bryndwr Rd, Glandovey Rd, Fendalton Rd, back to Clyde Rd & home:

Heath St: Fallen boughs off ornamental apple trees. White blossoms bloomed, despite the gale. 

Images, gale & quake damaged Heath St & Guildford St:

10.09.13. Post quake Heath St

Guildford St: Asphalt & concrete trucks did driveway repairs. A fallen oak pointed to a Wadhurst Pl house, where a few years ago, AOS cops had shot a wheelchair bound gun nut. A Council trailer parked by the fallen oak had a black plastic EMERGENCY WATER tank on top, where locals poured water into containers. We weren't affected, as Heath St water pipes survived the gale OK. City Care workmen stood around in orange, Hi Vis vests.

10.09.13. Post quake asphalt contractor, Guildford St

10.09.13. Gale felled oak, Guildford St

10.09.13. Emergency water, Guildford St

Greers Rd: Fallen birch tree, already sawn into logs. The bus stop pole was tilted, the crushed, red Volvo parked nearby. A small digger was parked by the logs & City Care workmen stood around in orange, Hi Vis vests. A Traffic Control van stood in the middle of the road directing traffic around orange road cones, by means of a digital arrow. Later when driving round town, I saw several digital arrow trucks, mostly directing traffic around fallen trees.

Images, gale & quake damaged Greers Rd:

10.09.13. Gale felled birch, Greers Rd


Seeing another crushed car wasn't shocking anymore. After quakes, habituated to damage, seeing so many crushed cars, another was "normal." The gale was just another disaster to be absorbed.

10.09.13. Car crushed by gale felled birch, Greers Rd

Corner Clyde Rd / Truman Rd: Fallen birch tree on pavement. The fallen birch was later cordoned with danger tape. None of the 3 fallen trees had caused damage to housing. There was gale damage to several blown over wooden fences. A man fixed one of the fences. 

Images, gale & quake damaged Clyde Rd:

10.09.13. Post gale, Traffic Control vehicle, cnr Greers Rd / Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled birch, cnr Clyde Rd / Truman Rd

10.09.13. Gale trashed fencing, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Post gale, low hanging power line & local govt election board, Clyde Rd

Clyde Rd / Ilam Rd traffic circle: A new Dental Clinic was built on a quake demolition site. Opposite corner, a demolition site & quake repairs to a neighbouring bldg, wall covered in black plastic. At Fendalton Village, a heap of metal lay in the car park, where supermarket roof panels were being repaired.

Images, quake damaged Ilam Rd:

10.09.13. Post quake shop repairs, cnr Clyde Rd / Ilam Rd

10.09.13. Post quake refurbishment of super value, Fendalton Village, cnr Clyde Rd / Ilam Rd

Ilam Rd: A scaffolded house paint job. A new house construction site.

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Ilam Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house rebuild, Ilam Rd

Although CERA minister Brownlee said there was no post quake housing crisis, in his own Ilam constituency, on Ilam Rd, a Harcourts sign read:



Bryndwr Rd: A quake damaged chimney hole on a roof was covered with a new metal sheet. A new house construction. A wooden fence was blown over by the gale at a house demolition site. A Harcourts real estate board was blown over too. St Johns Moraia Church was quake damaged, abandoned, fence cordoned.

Images, gale & quake damaged Bryndwr Rd:

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Bryndwr Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled fence by quake demolition site, Bryndwr Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged house, Bryndwr Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Bryndwr Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled Harcourts real estate board, Bryndwr Rd

10.09.13. Quake trashed, abandoned St Johns Moraia Church, cnr Bryndwr Rd / Jeffreys Rd

Glandovey Rd: Several quake repair sites & paint jobs, some houses scaffolded. A new house construction site. Two Harcourts sub-division boards, sold vacant land, one for $1 400 000. Although CERA had made cheapskate offers to red zoners, there was no cheap land for sale elsewhere.

Images, quake damaged Glandovey Rd:

10.09.13. Post quake house rebuild, cnr Glandovey Rd / Garreg Rd

10.09.13. Post quake housing rebuild, cnr Bryndwr Rd / Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. Post quake land for sale, Harcourts board, Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. House awaiting post quake repair, Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house demolition site, Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. Post quake land for sale, Bayleys board, Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Glandovey Rd

10.09.13. Post quake sewage infrastructure rebuild, SCIRT board, Glandovey Rd

Thornycroft St off Glandovey Rd: Two trucks laid concrete on a driveway. Gale trashed phebalium shrubbery lay by another driveway. Behind stood a double storey, wooden house with a board covering quake chimney damage.

Images, gale & quake damaged Thornycroft St:

10.09.13. Quake damaged house, Thornycroft St

10.09.13. Quake damage house & gale felled vegetation, Thornycroft St

10.09.13. Post quake concrete driveway contractor, Thornycroft St

Fendalton Rd: Scaffolded houses underwent quake repairs. St Barnabus Anglican Church was fence cordoned, abandoned, boarded, steel braced at nave ends, $500 000 raised for quake repairs, $500 000 still to go. Abandoned, double storey, wooden house opposite church, junk mail stuffed letter box, locked gate, overgrown garden, roof in two places covered in black plastic.

Images, gale & quake damaged Fendalton Rd:

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged house, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Local govt election boards, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake broken garden wall, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Post quake, abandoned, cordoned, St Barnabus Anglican Church, awaiting repairs, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged, abandoned house, Fendalton Rd

Fendalton Rd continued: Fallen tree by Fendalton Park. Chimney damaged wall, covered by black plastic, on a double storey, wooden house. Brick garden wall, wood braced, wood already grey weathered due to slow EQC / insurers. Fence cordoned, abandoned house. Evidence from all the contractors' vehicles & contractors' boards was that Fendalton quake repairs were only now taking place, more than 2 years post 22.02.11 quake. That was due to slow EQC & insurers.

10.09.13. Gale felled tree, Fendalton Park, Fendalton Rd

A bronze plaque on a Fendalton Park rock read:


10.09.13. Oak leaf sculpture, Fendalton Park, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged house awaiting repair, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged, wood braced garden wall, next to cordoned, abandoned house, Fendalton Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged house, Fendalton House

10.09.13. Post quake rebuilt shops, cnr Fendalton Rd / Clyde Rd

10.09.13. The Four Winds sculpture, cnr Fendalton Rd / Clyde Rd

Clyde Rd: Several fallen boughs on various properties, including sawn logs on Fendalton School playground & fallen boughs by redwood trees further on. At another property a surveyor did measurements by a gum tree bough fallen across a driveway. A fallen tree lay by a lawyers' office opposite Fendalton Village. Scaffolding was on a double storey, wooden house - a quake damaged chimney was being fixed. 

Images, gale & quake damaged Clyde Rd:

10.09.13. Gale felled tree, Fendalton School, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled redwood boughs, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled gum tree bough, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Post quake house repair, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Quake damaged house behind tree, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Gale felled branches, Clyde Rd

10.09.13. Heritage oak, protected tree, Clyde Rd

Back home, when I texted Leah about all the gale damage, she text replied that Christchurch airport area had no power due to the gale. I replied: "I dodged dangling power lines on my walk."

Media had already created divisions in readers' & viewers' minds about tough times in post quake E suburbs & easy times in post quake W suburbs. Those rolling in filthy lucre had to suck it up in the W suburbs & get on with quake repairs, with media created survivor guilt of course. It was a load of tripe, as we'd all suffered the quakes, but it made good copy for lazy journalists to insinuate there were differences in sufferings between E & W Christchurch. Red zoning & TC3 zoning was a NZ govt disaster & W & E citizens all had to put up with EQC's & insurers' disastrous delays.

What media didn't say was that zoning of red zone residential areas & TC3 green zone residential areas involved rich people, like Baby Boomers who'd brought their properties when properties were cheaper. But media didn't cover poorer people like ourselves, immigrants, & others who didn't own homes, like tenants, who also endured quakes and complaining by red zoners & TC3 green zoners.

There were many people who couldn't buy properties in Christchurch, pre or post quakes, due to NZ's low wage economy, yet endured complaints from red zoners & TC3 green zoners & increases in rents, due to post quake, low supply of rentals, property insurance increases & rates increases, making it impossible to save for their own homes.

Red zoners & TC3 green zoners were squeaky wheels getting the most attention & funding from authorities. It was galling seeing complaints in the media from red zoners & TC3 green zoners, then EQC, insurers & CERA doing quick resolutions. Those who didn't complain long & loud waited. And waited for years.

Weekend Press 14-15.09.13, front page headline: MARRYATT POCKETS BIG CASH PAYOUT. Town clerk Marryatt resigned yesterday, Friday 13. About time, as citizens had protested his ineptitude since early 2012. According to The Press Marryatt's exit package was $492,932 when he left Council employment 30.11.13.

Hopefully the new town clerk & mayor would be better than venal, cream faced, red eyed mice, Marryatt & Parker. On their watch, pre quakes, they'd presided over the following:

* A shonky deal buying bankrupt Henderson's crap CBD properties, most of which were demolished post quakes.   

* Purchase of the loss-maker Ellerslie Flower Show.

* Under insurance of Council assets. (Like NZ govt under insured EQC). Marryatt was mainly responsible for that. Marryatt was also chairman of the Civic Assurance board dealing with Council insurances, a conflict of interest. Like other insurers, Civic Assurance was slow to settle.

Post quakes they'd presided over:

* Bad bldg inspections, inspections stickering & cordoning of quake prone bldgs, during the complacent, she'll-be-right, business-as-usual period, post 04.09.10 quake, Boxing day quake, to the lethal 22.02.11 quake. If Council bldg inspectors had done their jobs properly in the almost 6 months warning period, pre 22.02.11 quake, there would've been fewer deaths & injuries in the lethal 22.02.11 quake. Post 04.09.10 quake, seismologists had warned about more quakes to come.

* 185 dead & 1 000s injured in the 22.02.11 quake, mostly in the CBD, where there were many dilapidated bldgs, which Council had allowed to exist, under code, for decades & which were poorly inspected pre & post quakes.

Nearly 3 years post 22.02.11 quake, there wasn't a cheep from cops about corporate manslaughter charges for the 185 quake deaths. Cops' excuse was that the Royal Commission of Inquiry & Coroners Inquest weren't sufficient evidence. Why didn't precious cops find more evidence?

Never mind slack supervision of subordinate design engineer Harding by CTV bldg design engineer Reay. Never mind convicted fraudster & CTV construction manager Shirtcliff, who'd stolen a Pom engineer's ID & was the construction manager of the CTV bldg in 1986. Latest: Reay tried to wriggle out of an investigation by IPENZ, engineering institute (The Press).

* Kept up basic services during the quakes, like rubbish removal.

* Fractious Council with A & B team councillors, the former for Marryatt, the latter against.

* Slow repairs & rebuilds of quake damaged Council housing (like NZ govt's slow repairs & rebuilds of state housing). Council just followed slack govt's lack of leadership regarding post quake housing repairs, then Brownlee hypocritically blamed Councillor Johanson for slow maintenance of Council housing. What a farce!

* Several anti-Council public protests, some in the Council bldg, some outside & elsewhere.

* Bullying CERA interfered in the efficient running of Council, with some Council functions & some Council staff taken over by CERA, making Parker & Marryatt even more overpaid for doing little.

* Allowed CERA to usurp citizens' post quake, Share an Idea, City in a Garden suggestions for CERA's Blueprint Frame idea.

* Squabbling & lack of communication with CERA, like Council forming its Insurer Advocacy Service versus CERA's Insurer Advisory Service for property affected by quakes. Another example: Council unanimously voted to spend $127.5 million repairing / restoring the quake trashed Town Hall in opposition to CERA's Performing Arts Precinct. Again a lack of communication between Council & CERA, with duplication of theatre facilities.

* Marryatt's staff loyalty bribing: Without consulting ratepayers, Marryatt gave one day's extra paid leave per month for hard working Council workers. Sick joke. Post quakes, anyone watching road workers could see how slack they were. Most stood around holes, doing nothing for long periods, resulting in roads worse than pre quake roads - Pothole City.

* Secret negotiations with CERA about who paid for what regarding CERA's Blueprint anchor projects in the CBD. Without consulting ratepayers, Marryatt & Parker hoped Council's poorly insured pay outs for quake damaged Council assets would cover costs for NZ govt's / CERA's Blueprint projects. Ratepayers would be landed with huge debt for govt follies for decades to come.

* Not a squeak from Marryatt nor Parker about NZ govt's / CERA's land grabs in red zone riverside & Port Hills areas (over 7 000 houses plus land) & CERA's land grabs in the CBD regarding Blueprint anchor projects, like the loss-maker Convention Centre & Frame lands.

* Latest: CCDU promoted high density housing for 20 000 residents in Frame lands (The Press). The only schools in the CBD vicinity were low decile Christchurch East School & expensive private schools. Yet MOE recently closed low decile Richmond School & low decile Phillipstown School on the CBD fringes! 

* Not a squeak from Marryatt nor Parker about NZ govt's / CERA's 28 months NZDF occupation of Christchurch CBD.

* Not a squeak from Marryatt nor Parker when Brownlee announced CERA's formation in March 2011, nor later CCDU's formation to be controlled by former Timaru town clerk Isaacs, demolisher of Christchurch CBD. In fact, Brownlee formed an apartheid Christchurch state with 2 town clerks - Isaacs, favoured boss of CCDU's core CBD; Marryatt, maligned boss of the leftovers, separated by a NZDF cordon.

* From April 2012, CCDU came up with a Blueprint CBD within 100 days. Never mind Council's Share an Idea scheme, already completed with input from 1 000s of Cantabrians. CERA's idea of rebuilding Christchurch was wasting money, a la apartheid, duplicating & separating civic structures. I wondered where all the boastful 1981 Springbok Rugby Tour protestors were, while apartheid maligned post quake Christchurch?

* Marryatt & Parker had penchants for air travel paid for by ratepayers. Although Parker posed as a great communicator post quakes, he wasn't. He was a secretive mouse, making Council decisions behind closed doors. Marryatt was a secretive mouse, scoffing as much cheese as possible. He left Christchurch Council with his golden handshake and the disputed pay increase of $68 000, which Marryatt after public protests said he would pay back. Early 2012, citizens were enraged by his huge pay rise, condoned by some councillors, while citizens slummed it post quakes. 

* In 2012, for a couple of months after Parker couldn't control his A & B teams, Crown observer Marshall dozed though Council meetings, checking Council communications. After Marryatt's exorbitant pay increase & public protests, Council underwent an $80 000 communications review, spurned by Marryatt, a poor public communicator, operating behind closed doors. The Crown observer & communications review was NZ govt's intimidation of Council & a waste of taxpayers' money. Why didn't CERA minister Brownlee or CERA boss Sutton attend Council meetings?

* Although ratepayers & councillors were his employers, Marryatt's idea of communications was taking his employer Council to court, for B team councillors protesting at the February 2012 protest about Marryat's salary increase, approved by A team councillors. Marryatt ensured gagging orders against B team councillors who'd protested with ratepayers about Marryatt's salary increase. The Press pics of Marryatt's bloodshot eyes, droopy, lower lip & double chin greed said it all.

* While that travesty happened, red zoners & TC3 green zoners suffered misery with NZ govt's / CERA's land grab zonings. NZ govt laughed all the way to the bank at Council ineptitude.

* There was the incident in 2012 when Marryatt squeaked at a public protestor, Lynch, in the Council bldg & Parker formally banned Lynch from observing public meetings. (Lynch's banning was later rescinded). That was the sorry state of affairs between Marryatt / Parker & ratepayers who paid their exorbitant salaries.

* Parker had crackpot, money-wasting ideas, like covering ruined Christchurch Cathedral in a glass box for tourists to gawk at, or constructing a light rail for University of Canterbury students to travel between varsity & the CBD.

* Marryatt & Parker wouldn't communicate essential information to the public & were hoist with their own petard, losing accreditation for the Council function of bldg consents processing. That caused another Crown Manager to be expensively employed to sort out the consents mess. It also gave Brownlee an excuse to gloat & blame Council for rebuild delays.

* Road pot holes citizens endured post quakes, were an example of the bad communication & disconnect between local govt, represented by Council, Marryatt & Parker & central govt, represented by CERA / SCIRT, Brownlee & Sutton. Although Council was responsible for road repairs at the best of times, at the worst of times, Council workers were also part of SCIRT road repair teams, responsible for infrastructure repairs below roads - water, sewage, drain pipes, etc.

* Citizens were piggy in the middle regarding pot hole repairs. Although Marryatt's Council had given no directives to citizens regarding post quake pot hole repairs, SCIRT messages a year ago said it all about govt buck passing & the huge disconnect between CERA / SCIRT & Council. Citizens were left guessing who was responsible for pot hole repairs - Council or SCIRT?   

SCIRT media message 15.10.12:


If there is a pot hole in the road surface, please contact the Christchurch City Council to ensure the pot hole is fixed, unless the pot hole is with a SCIRT work site. If SCIRT has established a work site, pot holes within the work area and the signed detour are SCIRT's responsibility. Once the SCIRT site is disestablished, the responsibility for pot holes and maintenance goes back to Council.  

SCIRT media message 17.10.12:


Sometimes informal detour routes develop as a result of road works. These will not be signposted as detour routes by the construction company. They can become heavily trafficked and deteriorate particularly in wet weather. The SCIRT delivery (construction) team will keep an eye out for these unofficial detours [like along footpaths & pavements] and keep the Council's maintenance team informed. Members of the public should also report any pot holes on these routes direct to the City Council.

There is no difference between repair of pot holes in the red zone and the green zone. If people are still living in an area and using the roads they need to be driveable. Phone the Council Call Centre to request a repair... 

* Not a squeak from Marryatt nor Parker about pot hole gobbledegook & usurpation of Council functions by SCIRT & CERA. NZ govt, CERA & SCIRT had stomped all over Council & Council had cowered. The pot hole disconnect symbolized daily irritations Cantabrians endured, due to poor communication between central & local govt. 

Good riddance to Parker & Marryatt & crap Councillors who supported them. Hopefully the next mayor, town clerk & councillors would be better. Regarding the current Council elections, long suffering citizens endured some councillors wanting access to the cheese factory again, like Button, Keown, Gough, Reid & Broughton, their greed & incompetence as rotten as Parker's & Marryatt's.

The only 2 councillors worth re-election were Livingstone & Johanson. I'd seen them both active in 2012 public protests. Johanson also took flack from bullying Brownlee over Council's slow repairs of post quake Council housing. (Marryatt again). NZ govt created the post quake housing crisis in the first place, by red zoning quake trashed areas, with little release of affordable land nor affordable redevelopment elsewhere, residential nor CBD. CERA was only now building temporary housing in Rangers Park for red zoners / TC3 green zoners to rent, while their housing repairs or rebuilds took place.

Thursday 26.09.10. I took pics of school bldgs being demolished on Condell Ave near home. Two diggers chomped the part demolished school hall, loading rubble & roofing into skips. A school bldg alongside was roofless. Laidlaw College next door endured seismic thumps while diggers worked. Leah also endured seismic thumps on London St & environs for months while Richmond Working Mens Club was part demolished & SCIRT continued diggings & detours.

Luke's girlfriend's parents had a picture framing business, but their Selwyn St premises were red stickered closed post 22.02.11 quake. Post quakes, they still ran their business from their Southshore home. At the Condell Ave school demolition site, they salvaged good wood for their business. Better than demolishers dumping it at Burwood dump.

Images, quake damaged Condell Ave:

26.09.13. Post quake demolition of school bldgs, Condell Ave

Coda: 31.12.13. In the New Year's honours ex mayor Parker was knighted. Knighthoods were cheap in NZ. Post 22.02.11 quake, due to CERA / Council overlap, Parker had had so little to do, he published a self promoting book Ripped Apart.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Storms wreak havoc in Canterbury (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Marryatt has ultimate responsibility (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Curtains for Bob and Tony show (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Tony Marryatt's divisive culture (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Who will repair my pothole? (SCIRT).

See Elderly-red-zoner-left-out-in-the-cold (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Crown to on sell Frame land at lower prices (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Valuations firm's poor work haunts city facilities (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Marryatt not seen at Council for four months (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Former Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker knighted (The Press / Stuff Co).

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