Monday, October 10, 2011

"The Folk Who Have Experienced the Most Trauma in the Earthquake are Having to Challenge the Government"

As the Rev. Mike Coleman pointed out at last Sunday's rally in Bexley. one of the worst-hit suburbs in Christchurch's red zones, that's the unpleasant reality that so many are faced with.

71-year-old Bexley homeowner Mary seated among the audience at Sunday's rally. One of many locals forced from their damaged suburb. Faced with an uncooperative insurance company and a rapidly inflating property market, there's little Government interest in the plight of people in her situation.

Despite the grim situation in Bexley, the mood of Sunday's rally was resilient. Local Residents' Association vice-chairwoman Lynne Ball sets the tone, stressing that Government must listen to people's concerns"Communication and engagement with the community is vital to the recovery of the community and Christchurch."

Mike Coleman demonstrates the WECAN double thumbs-up gesture:
"WECAN is the Wider Earthquake Community Action Network, and the symbol is quite positive. It's two thumbs up, which means that we can move forward. We can get away ahead here. So any time you see Gerry Brownlee and you do two thumbs up, I hope he understands what that means. And it's thumbs. Thumbs."

Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove:
"Community engagement is not defined as getting consensus, which is what Mr Brownlee thinks it is. Community engagement is defined as engaging and working with and listening to your community, and feeding off your community's energy, your community's spirit, and bringing your community in as a core decision-making entity in this whole as you put the plans together."

Evan Smith, convener, Riverside Community Group, Richmond:
"I live in a red zone house, I'm in the process of moving out of it. It's been a horrendous grieving process. It's been my family home for a decade or two, and it's really difficult. I know there's other families that have been in their family home since the 1920s . . . It's really important to know what's going to happen to your house, to your property, to your family home, to your trees . . . What I'd love to see is to have all of those lands, those red zone lands as much as possible turned into public lands in perpetuity . . . so it becomes a memorial, not just to those who lost their lives but also to those that lost their homes, and have some point of reference where our grandchildren can come back to and say 'We lived here once.'"

Brent Cairns, Canterbury Red Zones:
"Could the National Party politicians put their hands up, please? No, they're nowhere here. We've got a Green Party over there. So you see, we need to get the voices out there, and that's one of the reasons why we're having these rallies."

Mike Peters, Addington Action:
"We're in the green zone, the issues we face are a little bit different, but I think they're actually a different side of the same coin . . . we all need to get together a bit more, with different people facing different problems coming together with these rallies."

Geoff Butcher, economist, Cooperative Sections Development:
"I sat around after the 22nd of February earthquake and I got pretty annoyed after a while, in fact I got pretty angry because I wasn't allowed back into my building. Then I kind of got over that and decided that I wanted to do something more useful instead. And I thought about the plight of all the people who don't have a section to go to. . . . If we formed a cooperative and developed the sections ourselves . . . Glen Livingstone, who's a Councillor, is trying to do the same thing. He wants to work with CERA and to get CERA doing all this stuff. I can't stand the thought, myself, I think they are probably overworked, incredibly risk averse, and they just drive me berserk, so I don't want to have anything to do with them."

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