Question of the Day: Should treasurer Bill English be drug tested and fired on the hokey spot?!!! Or, should we give him extra drugs, to get through this mess?!
I was talking to John, an engineer by trade, in the weekend. He said “Sam, do you think they should really rebuild Christchurch? We’ll be paying it off for twenty years.” John is a Northlander in his twenties.
I feel uncomfortable sharing my political views with younger people, simply because I like them to form their own opinions, without my taint. But John really did want my honest view.
As a once resident of Christchurch, I said, “Yeah I do, but I think the government should stop bluffing, admit they haven’t planned a rebuild very well, and let us know what the real figures cost. They said it was about $13 billion once, but they should just admit its going to be $20 billion. Or, they should fess up, as to what weapons, ships, planes, subs etc, they’re buying or supporting offshore, while they bleed everyone in the North Island, to do so.”
See why I shouldn’t share my political views with younger Kiwis. I’m too blunt and honest.
That was on Sunday, the day after the New Zealand All Blacks won the World Cup in the sport of rugby football.
Well, on Monday, our rugby team went for a visit to Christchurch. It was a joyous occasion for Christchurch people who have survived aftershock after aftershock from quakes and other problemic matters due to quakes, in the last 12 months, in a city where large parts of it, were simply poorly planned and built in the wrong place. To find out the truth, is always a painful process. But now that Christchurch really knows what it’s made of, it’s time to move onto solid ground and get a new look. A modest one, that’s as modern as possible on a very tight budget in the recession years era, of the world.
On the same day (yesterday), Treasurer Bill English, demonstrating a display of the alarmingly and rather delusional escalating creeps, renegged on his initial $12-13 billion estimate (March figures), to his $15 billion estimate figures (more recently), to say after a line up of foreign experts had all given their expert opinions, that Christchurch would cost $20 billion, upwards of $30 billion. That budget just crept right on up there dontchathink?
I had mixed emotions. The Kiwi part of me that did not live in Christchurch was happy with a $20 billion rebuild figure, (as discussed with John on Sunday), yet I was not so happy with an “oh, upwards to $30 billion figure” Mr English waved about so casually yesterday. This $10billion extra, could be the moment, that was the tipping point for New Zealand, where we say – we once used to own most of New Zealand, now we don’t. We don’t know these risky economic times. So the $30billion was a brassy gamble, in anyone’s books!
I love Christchurch City and its beautiful people, but seeing them as “darlings” or “pets of our national heart and empathy” immediately ceased when Mr English gave his “new figures” sourced from Lord knows what, or who, or how?!!! Suddenly Christchurch were not so cute. They were high maintenance, in an unrealistically built, thus unsafe city.
But let’s get back to Bill’s rather creative budget add ons propensity, he’s developed of late. How can we honestly believe this lad’s budget projections, when quoting a nation’s figures or budgets, after he more than doubles his first quote, he gave in March, a mere 7 months on. In 7 months time, is Bill going to say “Oh, well, it’s changed, Christchurch will now be $50 billion or upwards of $60billion. Sorry we got it wrong again?!” If you were a CEO, you’d get fired. Period.
Bill’s government’s whole schtick since being in power, has been “oh, we’re going to get rid of all the cowboys in the building industry.” And other such claims, using Christchurch as “the template” to do this. Compliance laws and tests and bogus, condemning rhetoric have been his government’s fake currency, of “we’ll fine you, if you don’t comply.” Well, I may be a bit like blind Freddie’s dog (on a good day), but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or criminologist to work out that Bill and his Southern mates are the biggest shonky cowboys of us all. Any so called “cowboy builder” who misquoted a rebuilding job, and then went back and doubled their quote, before the job had even started, would be shot.
How can Bill, get away with this? It’s just not professional.
The next emotions I felt, about the doubled budget for Christchurch, were as a Maori Kiwi. Show me one Iwi (Maori tribe) whose apology from The Crown (Govt) for the confiscation of thousands of hectares of land, illegally, has even been awarded a billion bucks, for their “dislocation, displacement and upsetting troubles” in settlement of grievance, after 171 years waiting for redress on their tribal situations of geographical favoring? You won’t find one. The humorous part of me says, “Christchurch are the new ‘golden Maoris’ of all Kiwis in New Zealand. They are Kiwi royalty with this treatment.” Hey, good for them! But this also looks incredibly racist, regionalist and like a votes buy waved on yet another future “promise.” Although Ngai Tahu may disagree with me on this one.”
In terms of 20 year-olds who work, pay taxes and are raising families elsewhere in this fine country (like John and his family), I must ask – what return will all the rest of non-Christchurch people, get from Christchurch people for their kindness and investment (if they agree to Bill’s vampiric bleeds), for the next twenty years of paying taxes, in this rebuild scheme and new figures given? I think someone like John who works as an engineer for ten hours a day, deserves to have an answer from Christchurch people. John doesn’t even yet own his first home. He rents. Will Christchurch people delay first time home owners from getting on the board, earlier and how will Christchurch people repay John and his family, for their kindness to Cantabrians in the years to come? If so, how?! Spell it out for John and his young family of Kiwis, please. These are the types of issues, that other home towns in New Zealand, of young people are asking at these new figures.
In New Zealand, a company like Fonterra declared that revenue for the year to July 31 was up 19% to $19.9 billion, according to the NBR’s report. Christchurch City doesn’t earn that each year, so how can it repay the heavy toll Kiwis and corporates are expected to pour into Christchurch with the extra $10billion figure, Bill English pulled out of his ass, yesterday? Most of Fonterra’s revenue comes from the North. And, it’s a private collective of farmers, not government owned that make up Fonterra’s earning capability. In addition, the government’s main earner, the Meridian Energy power company, belongs to all New Zealanders, not just Cantabrians or Southlanders (certainly not politicians), so what exactly will Canterbury do, to justify this spoiled “high quality spend” and return sufficient revenue, to convince us – that they’re worth another $15 billion in tough times, where economically that’s quite possibly like $30 billion to earn in such times.I don’t want to be disrespective to families who lost people they loved, but now that we know Christchurch is built in the wrong place, we must get realistic about this. Much of it, is a hazard. Unsafe. Therefore, like John asked, “is it wise to even rebuild it?” A fair comment.
If Christchurch can’t get real about this, the City looks like a bunch of bleeders, and I’m sure the pride of the South, wouldn’t stoop to gangsta levels. It’s just not Southern culture, apparently. But, now it could be. No one in the North wants to be forced into a scenario of “economic bullying” by what the government sees is a good idea, when they just double budgets, in such uncertain and unknown economic times. I mean, this year – even Santa Claus is on an extreme budget! for 80% of people worldwide. :)
I have never seen anything like this before in New Zealand politics ($17 billion budget add ons – for a few). It’s just too easy to favor some over others, without thinking their won’t be a backlash. The ones doing the driving of this are all from Christchurch or Southland. One region of politicians can not slay or sacrifice everyone else’s potential through overburdening them to pay (this is economic bullying). I’m sorry, that’s not democracy. It’s greedy.
I’m comfortable with the $20billion figures (up $5billion from the $15billion previous quoted). That’s a margin of miscalculation of 25% – but to have a margin of error of 100% means that, a head should roll, here. And, also means that Christchurch people needed a Fonterra company revenue earning of their own, to justify this.
Although, I am happy for Christchurch people in this moment (with a REAL rebuild now being thought about, not bluffed), yet I want to see Canterbury not tax (or think their suffering justifies a huge tax hike over many years, resulting in a depletion of services in other regions) for all of New Zealanders like John to have to pay for – at their expense. Northland could have bought some good French rugby football players with some of that money, for example to re-kick start their rugby profile. Now they can’t. All because of Canterbury!
Somewhere between all of these emotions we feel for Christchurch – is a harmonious balance. I’m not feeling it from Bill, who should no longer have his job. Or Gerry should walk the plank on this.
One thing’s certain (and I don’t want to shoot Mr English as the messenger of a message), but it just looks like the man does not have a clue in being able to count – when getting estimates wrong by 100%! Neither does Gerry Brownlee, his piggy side kick whose too loud in this government’s ear with lies and spin. It’s a huge bleed of 80% of New Zealand, for Cantabrians well being.
The South Island needs to remember that they are the minority population of NZ, (equal in spirit) and to calm their good and troubled selves down and be a bit more reasonable and feasable (in a good way!) for the rest of us fellow Kiwis.
If Christchurch doesn’t, then this government that has under-produced during its first term (albeit in difficult times), will then suggest state asset sales to pay for Christchurch’s rebuild. Read the rest of this entry »