Hands across the sand? They barely managed the length of a football field

Seventy people dressed in scarves, woolly hats and coats in late Autumn have held hands to show they worry about climate change and a warming planet [snigger, snort].

In a sign of solidarity, men, women and children held hands on a wintry morning in Christchurch.

More than 70 people, and a handful of dogs, lined New Brighton beach for Hands Across the Sand.

University of Canterbury student Bridget White, 18, co-ordinated the event at New Brighton pier, which was part of an international action that called for a halt to deep sea drilling and the use of more sustainable energy sources to protect the planet from climate change.

Read more »

Christchurch’s innovative idea to rid itself of beggars: classify them as buskers

If they represent the face of poverty in New Zealand then poverty has a very fat lazy face. New Zealand has the fattest beggars in the world.


A Christchurch City Councillor wants a group of homeless people who have set up camp in the central city to be moved on like buskers.

The homeless people have set up a campsite next to department store Ballantynes, and between 30 to 40 people a day are begging in the central city.

Christchurch City Councillor Paul Lonsdale said although a review of the Public Places Bylaw was needed, a ban on begging was not the answer. Read more »


Christchurch was never going to be rebuilt quickly or entirely

Christchurch was never going to be rebuilt quickly or entirely.

Half a decade later it’s still looking like the remains of a city. It’s a shell of its former self with most of the CBD looking like a car yard or a tidier Chernobyl waste land.

In a way, the CBD is the perfect back drop for a post apocalyptic zombie flick: desolate and abandoned.

That some people are upset Christchurch hasn’t much transformed and are now lamenting the fact doesn’t surprise me. What did they expect?

Did they really think the city would be rebuilt in five years? Surely not? But apparently so.

What people in Christchurch are discovering is the grim reality that property developers all over New Zealand have known for a long time – that nothing happens quickly. For lots of reasons.

One reason is that everyone moves, including businesses that shift in the weeks after disaster to any working accommodation that can be found….. to become locked in long-term leases and unable to return to their old locations.

Homeowners discover more exciting new suburbs or decide to quit the city and haunting memories. Old suburbs lay forgotten.

Sure, lots of stuff has happened in Christchurch. This isn’t to ignore that. But it’s not back to its former glory. The CBD isn’t rebuilt. Key projects aren’t done.

But a lot of people were promising it.

The fact is that cities don’t transform quickly. It’s more like a slowly dripping tap.    Read more »

Dalziel “mentally exhausted” as mayor, but realises she wants more of it

Lianne Dalziel is “mentally exhausted” but she is up more punishment.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she will “not walk away from the city”.

Dalziel confirmed on Monday afternoon that she would seek a second term as Christchurch’s mayor in October’s local body election.

She had been overwhelmed by positive feedback from the public in recent weeks, which helped make her decision, she said.

“The challenge of bringing about the change that we have managed to achieve in the last two-and-a-half years hasn’t come without its cost, but I am prepared to continue to serve the city for another three years if that’s what the city chooses.”

Dalziel’s announcement, which was not planned, followed speculation about whether she would seek a second term as the city’s mayor.

Read more »

Well Christchurch, it is time to stand on your own two feet

via 3 News

via 3 News


Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has been given a new title, effective immediately.

He’s become Minister Supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, a change Prime Minister John Key says makes the Government’s responsibilities clear.

“The passing of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act and the disestablishment of CERA marks a new phase,” Mr Key said today. Read more »

Herald “reveals” something our readers knew weeks ago


The NZ Herald has put up an article today about the guy who threw muck at Gerry Brownlee…as you can see from the headline they are claiming to have “Revealed” the child pornography charges he has faced before.

The man convicted of throwing muck over Minister Gerry Brownlee at a memorial service for victims of the Christchurch earthquake can today be revealed as a convicted sex offender.

John Andrew Howland, whose 14-year-old son, Jayden Andrews-Howland, was killed by falling masonry in the February 22, 2011 earthquake, tipped an ice cream container filled with “pretty mucky stuff” over Mr Brownlee’s head at the five-year anniversary service last month.

Howland, 41, pleaded guilty to assault at Christchurch District Court and today was sentenced to 80 hours of community work.

Now it can be reported that Howland was sentenced to eight months’ home detention in 2013 after being caught with thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.

Depression triggered by his teenage son’s death – just a day before his 15th birthday – was behind his descent into the world of child pornography, Greymouth District Court heard.

Read more »

Soper comes good

Barry Soper isn’t really an enigma. He lives life through rose-tinted glasses and longs for the days of his close association with Helen Clark.

But yesterday he got something right.

There’s an old Yorkshire saying that goes, “Where there’s muck there’s brass.”

It’s been that sort of political week although in this case the muck and brass have little to do with each other – or maybe they do.

The muck was hurled at the Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee by a yobbo who didn’t like the cut of his cloth. It spoiled what was a moving memorial to the 185 people who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquake five years earlier.

John Howland admitted assaulting Brownlee, but won a lot of sympathy because he lost his 14-year-old son in the quake. Those of us who criticised Howland for his outburst were pilloried on social media as heartless.   Read more »

Sob story on Stuff: reporters didn’t check facts

Today Stuff has a sob story about a Christchurch bar that has had to close due to Council policy wonks and the number of car parks they need.

The owners of a Christchurch bar locked in a stoush with the city council will close their doors with a “bitter taste” in their mouths on Sunday.

Kaizuka Eatery and Garden Bar co-owner Dwayne Vaughan remains embroiled in a dispute over the number of car parks on his site.

He said complying with the Christchurch City Council’s advice to hire a planner would be “admitting failure”.

“We’ve given staff notice that our last day is on Sunday. [It’s] gutting but you’ve got to move on,” he said.

It had not been decided whether the business would be sold, Vaughan said.   Read more »

First a dildo, then a glitter bomb and now “Agent Brown”

The left wing are unhinging and continuing their assault on members of the government.

Yesterday’s victim was Gerry Brownlee.

Andrew Little has condemned the actions of a person who slimed Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at the memorial service for the February 2011 earthquake.

“I thought, that given that it was a commemorative event, marking what has been a tragic time, and five years, I just thought it was the wrong thing to do. In fact, I don’t think it is ever the right time to throw a sludgy substance over anybody else,” said the Labour Party leader.

“If he wanted to make a protest or point to Gerry Brownlee or the government, I don’t think it was the occasion to do it.”

Read more »

From the passenger seat: five years ago today [UPDATED]

Can you remember how you found out?

I was on a job when the customer got a phone call to say that there had been “another big quake” in Christchurch.  I remember not flinching much at the time as we had “survived” one already. The news of aftershocks had been an almost daily occurrence for months and you end up quite desensitised.

Customers weren’t so calm.  Their adult daughter worked in central Christchurch – smack bang in the middle of what would eventually be called “The Red Zone”.

And, of course, the phone network was completely overloaded.

The television went on and we sat aghast looking at the aftermath, while trying to contact various people.  Over time, we got enough messages through and back to know that at least our friends and family were OK.

It was a strange mixture of emotions.  Me, calm, because all the people I knew in Christchurch were fine.  Customers were on edge.  30 minutes had passed and still we hadn’t been able to get word about her daughter.  We watched TV coverage of the central Christchurch CBD with collapsed buildings just a few streets away from where she worked in a multi-story building.

I recall the deep disgust I felt for some reporters on TV who were unable to hide their visceral delight at being able to report on such a big story.  The occasion called for gravitas, but in their lives, especially those who were patched live over the world to the BBC and CNN, they were unable to suppress their excitement and naked joy.

Not long after we managed to contact someone who had heard of the daughter post-quake, and knew she was alright.  Traffic was gridlocked and comms were out.  It would be a few hours still before they could actually talk to each other for the first time.  Read more »