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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitchen likely to get hot

Kitchen likely to get hot

Last updated 05:00 30/03/2011
OPINION: The recipe cooked up for Christchurch's earthquake recovery is on the table – and it's big.

However, the proof of Gerry's pudding will be in the eating.

In the mix he revealed yesterday, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee had clearly made an effort to toss in some sweeteners for the Christchurch City Council.

He had also curbed his natural instinct to scoff at constitutional niceties and thrown in some controls on the enormous powers given to his new authority.

He reckoned it struck the right balance between the need to get on with it, and to be considerate about what people want.

"We're not confusing the need to have a massively inclusive structure with the need to get action, and I think we've got a good balance here," Brownlee said.

There was something else, however, that was more significant.

That was his acknowledgement that the work of the next five years would need to be doused in "goodwill, unity and determination" to work. No kidding.

The structure is such that Christchurch simply has to trust that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and Brownlee will get it right.

There will be big decisions of the "blink and you miss it" variety.

It seems unlikely, for example, that Cera will send for its community leader or cross-party groups for their views on much of what it decides. Those groups are more likely to come back to Cera with grumbles about decisions.

And the panel set up to review orders in council proposed by Cera will likely be needed only to iron out the wording of regulatory and legal measures.

The real stress will come over the division of power between Cera and the city council.

There will surely be things that Cera chooses to do that the council does not like.

And there will be things that the council wants to do that Cera will reject.

Brownlee yesterday stood ready for that clash.

Mayor Bob Parker, on the other hand, seemed almost absurdly optimistic that everyone would be satisfied by their share of Gerry's desserts.

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