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Consents debacle a failure of epic proportions

Lianne Dalziel
Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson
MP for Christchurch East

1 July 2013

Consents debacle a failure of epic proportions

The fate of Christchurch City Council’s consenting accreditation reveals the severity of the breakdown in communication between the National Government and the City Council, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.

“National granted itself overwhelming power in the aftermath of the earthquakes to break down the barriers to recovery. Instead, its efforts have been put into maintaining a façade of co-operation at the expense of good governance.

“After months of inaction and poor performance news that the council has lost its right to approve building consents is a failure of epic proportions.

“The building consent debacle is a disgrace. It is a failure of governance and management at the highest level.

“Issuing building consents is a core council function. What message does it send the Government about this council’s capacity to lead the recovery when it can’t even get the basics right?

“The consents debacle is a three-pronged failure. It shows the Minister isn’t on top of his portfolio, it reveals the Council’s staggering inability to pass accreditation, and underlines the lack of communication between all parties, which if functional, might have helped the council maintain its accreditation.

“How can you have an effective rebuild when agencies at the helm stuff up like this?

“Gerry Brownlee, Bob Parker and the wider team leading CERA, EQC and the Council are focusing resources on covering up problems rather than solving them.

“Was there anything more predictable than an increase in building consent applications after an earthquake? The Minister should have demanded weekly progress reports. The Press reported in November last year that the council could be stripped of its ability to issue building consents, so why weren’t those reports on the Mayor’s desk every week?

“The reality is the warnings were there and no one noticed. This is just another example of the entirely unsatisfactory culture that has been allowed to prevail for too long,” Lianne Dalziel said.

ENDS

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