Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What Now?

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  • Che Tibby,

    i earn over the threshold for payment of the levy, and i'm ok with that.

    mind you, it'll likely just take me back to where i was before the tax cuts anywho...

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Right, now that I have an appropriate thread:

    Craig, without rehashing arguments on whether or not Auckland gets its fair share (I don't consider having projects dropped on us by central government to be a contribution!), if Auckland is under-performing economically, as repeatedly alleged by our PM and Minister of Finance, why would you restrict funding to the one part of the country that can truly make a difference to the tax income to pay for the recovery? We've been described as "an anchor" and "a handbrake" (evidence-free assertions, but they help my case), so if we're holding back the economy surely it's good for Christchurch's recovery to help Auckland's economic performance improve?

    Also, Auckland's going to be getting refugees. A friend and her fiancée are accommodating nine of them in a house bus, and those refugees are looking for work in their new home. They're not here temporarily, they're leaving Christchurch. They will not be alone, and Auckland's going to get the lion's share because it's the biggest city. If we're struggling now, how much worse will it be if we have a 1% population jump in the space of a few weeks?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Che Tibby,

    i earn over the threshold for payment of the levy, and i’m ok with that.

    mind you, it’ll likely just take me back to where i was before the tax cuts anywho…

    Likewise, and I'd be happier still if they'd reverse the cuts and impose a levy. I cannot achieve the efficiencies that accrue to bulk spending by spending the money myself, any I can't just make voluntary contributions to the IRD, fuck-wit responses to Sam Morgan's father's observations about how little tax he pays notwithstanding.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I tweeted this yesterday - if Christchurch isn't rebuilt right, it could become the Hamilton of the South Island. That is, if the CBD is left to die and activity moves to the edges.

    The trouble is, a lot of Christchurch's charm comes from its old buildings. But you can't build new old buildings. Any attempt to build ye olde Christchurch is going to look awful. So the trick is to find a 2011 style that melds with Christchurch's existing charms.

    Napier is a fine example to look to - the devastated CBD was rebuilt in a sassy modern style. And I suspect there will be examples to follow (and lessons learned) from post-WWII Europe - with both ways of revitalising a devastated city, as well as what to do with ruined iconic buildings. Do you rebuilt the Cathedral spire to look as if the earthquake never happened, or do you make the rebuilt part look quite different, to never forget?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1869 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    And it’s bigger than what comes next for Christchurch.

    All over this country, urban centres are vulnerable to quakes. We all need to be asking whether our buildings are even as strong as Christchurch’s, let along strong enough and whether now is the right time to weaken building and zoning regulations. How many new developments around the country are going up in equivalents of Bexley? Why are we so slack on reinforcing old buildings? Is it ok to have tilt-slab walls that fall outwards? I get the impression that disaster management is A-grade and learned from the September quake, but I don’t hear anything about the lessons for construction.

    We need to be asking whether it’s smart for large organisations to centralise any service in one city without a satellite or branch elsewhere that can take over, eg Meridian’s call centre.

    Che: awesome nutshell policy – give our tax cuts to Christchurch.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    if Auckland is under-performing economically, as repeatedly alleged by our PM and Minister of Finance, why would you restrict funding to the one part of the country that can truly make a difference to the tax income to pay for the recovery?

    Precisely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    The trouble is, a lot of Christchurch’s charm comes from its old buildings. But you can’t build new old buildings. Any attempt to build ye olde Christchurch is going to look awful. So the trick is to find a 2011 style that melds with Christchurch’s existing charms.

    I think the art gallery offers an example in more than one way. There was conservative outrage when that was built, but I don't think anyone sees it as anything other than an asset now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    How we raise the money is almost a secondary consideration to what we raise the money for. What city do we want? I think Oram's article was timely. Do I have faith that our current government is capable of appreciating the challenges of building a city for the next century and not the last one? No. But then, thankfully, it goes beyond Parliament. We're going to have to have a major national conversation about the kind of society we want and the kind of investments we are prepared to make in order to have it, and it will involve a fundamental rethinking of what we mean by welfare and ecology.

    If the Left is ready for that challenge, suddenly they have something to campaign on. But as I say it's about politics in a far broader sense.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    surely it’s good for Christchurch’s recovery to help Auckland’s economic performance improve?

    Theoretically, yes. But in the cold hard light of pragmatic reality, I don’t think Auckland is the only local body who’s going to find a lot of big ticket projects depending on substantial central government support aren’t going to be as well-received in Wellywood as they once were. I’m not naive enough to think that when the next round of local body elections roll around that’s not going to be problematic.

    Or put another way, while I’m sceptical whether Brown’s plan for the CBD loop is entirely sound, I really think making Christchurch’s CBD fit for human habitation is a much higher priority. You can call Fran O'Sullivan a right-wing douche all you like, but she's not the only one stating the bleeding obvious.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    We’re going to have to have a major national conversation about the kind of society we want and the kind of investments we are prepared to make in order to have it, and it will involve a fundamental rethinking of what we mean by welfare and ecology.

    Well, I hope we have that conversation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Can I just commend some farsighted legislation of earlier governments to invest in the state's ability to cope with just such events such as the Earthquake and War Damage Commission which dates from Peter Fraser's government and has been quietly building and investing funds since then. Another is ACC which should cover a lot of the physical and (hopefully) psychological costs.

    And could I say how wonderful the public service is - many (back room and front line and the lines have certainly blurred) have been working very long hours in the last week in true and dedicated public service.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2122 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, I hope we have that conversation.

    Don't want to come across all Kumbaya-like, but it's up to us.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    To be honest, I think this isn't a conversation we should be having now. It's too emotional (too soon in many ways), and too many people are too fucked to contribute, and too much becomes `don't you care about Christchurch'.

    (I mean, seriously, as a resident of Christchurch, I think there is no conflict between the Auckland CBD and the Christchurch CBD, and I will get very angry at people who are using this (and me) as a bludgeon to suggest that Auckland's goldplated or wevs. But then, I also don't like the idea of being used as an argument for higher taxes on rich people right now, not the way Norman and I/S have been doing it. So.)

    And I don't think that this shouldn't happen soon: in the next weeks and months it'll be very important. But right now? Right now it is too messy.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1385 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Do you rebuilt the Cathedral spire to look as if the earthquake never happened, or do you make the rebuilt part look quite different, to never forget?

    When I went to Dresden about 7 years ago, they were trying to rebuild it "wie es einmal war" - "how it once was". Actually trying to make it look exactly the same as what they could glean from old plans and photos. In Berlin, the famous landmark Kaiser Wilhelm church retains the damaged main spire from the war - I believe they're not allowed to fix it without law changes. The people I stayed with wanted it fixed. They could either not understand the point of the grim reminder, or they disagreed with the idea.

    But Germans wanting to forget WW2 is not quite the same as the Christchurch situation. There's guilt and forced shame built into that, whereas the quake damage could be a reminder of past horror, but also of the extraordinary resilience of the people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Hilary: that reminds me that someone needs to ask ACT whether we should privatise Civil Defence and emergency services to improve efficiency.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    my inner cynic is... not helping.

    the next election will be fought on big-dick issues like cutting spending to pay for roads and the ETS.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    To be honest, I think this isn't a conversation we should be having now. It's too emotional (too soon in many ways), and too many people are too fucked to contribute, and too much becomes `don't you care about Christchurch'.

    I agree, and I didn't mean to suggest that it's a conversation that begins this week.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7390 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    well the art gallery is also strong enough to be the CD base, which hopefully encourages people to to think beyond their idea of city?

    It would be great if the country was able to bring together a mini foo of sorts around urban planning and how best to help Christchurch rebuild in a timeless way.

    Napier turned out as well as it does becuase it was down to (i think) 3 architects who re designed the entire city.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 495 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    whether now is the right time to weaken building and zoning regulations

    I read a comment from someone, I think an engineering prof at UoA, who said that the acceleration experienced by CHC on Tuesday exceeded current design standards. So not only is weakening them a really bad idea, so is even leaving standards where they are.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My business partner had a curious take, which was quite helpful and pragmatic, when I told him I'd had trouble working last week, feeling powerless to help. He said: "Let's make lots more money - the tax will be way more than any charity you were thinking of paying". He's got a point - getting back to work and cranking the $ pump is actually good for Christchurch, and the whole country, really. First time I've thought of what I'm doing at my desk as being helpful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Plan now for a post-oil city, a chance to do it right.

    That's about the most visionary idea I've heard yet. It would be exciting to look at things through as a bold a thematic lens as that ...

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Well, in terms of Cathedral, the one everyone thinks of is Coventry, I suspect.

    I think it should be left in ruins. It's a far more powerful image now than it ever was before. Before the Cathedral looked almost toy like often; now it looks utterly sublime.

    (The immorality of aesthetics is not a nice thing when you realise that you look out at rows and rows of cars quiver in a quake, and think only of the sheer beauty of the movement amplified by suspensions and wheels and repetition.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1385 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sue,

    Napier turned out as well as it does becuase it was down to (i think) 3 architects who re designed the entire city.

    Well, that makes me a tad nervous because sometimes you get Baron Hausmann’s boulevards and other times you get Oscar Neymeyer’s proof that nothing dates faster than the future.

    Or put another way, I prefer the human chaos of cities like Sydney and Melbourne than a "planned" city like Canberra – whose central brief seemed to be “fuck you, puny human ants”.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I tweeted this yesterday – if Christchurch isn’t rebuilt right, it could become the Hamilton of the South Island. That is, if the CBD is left to die and activity moves to the edges.

    To be fair, Christchurch was already like that. There's been a lot of attempts at reviving the central city, over the past 7 or 8 years, with things like Lichfield and Poplar lanes, but I know a lot of people that hardly ever go into the city. In fact, I asked my mum this yesterday, and she said she couldn't remember the last time she'd been in the Square.

    Christchurch is a city full of suburban malls, and GIANT ones* and for a lot of people, there's no reason to go into the city. Not to mention, for as long as I can remember, it's been expanding outwards, rather than developing the inner city. The drive we used to take to get to Ashburton when I was a kid, seems much shorter now, because the city seems to last practically to Rolleston.

    Having said all that, am I the only one who is uncomfortable with talk of re-building? It feels like it is too soon to have that conversation.

    * Seriously. Riccarton Mall takes up half the suburb, and is hideous. Christchurch. You do not need any more malls.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I think it should be left in ruins. It’s a far more powerful image now than it ever was before. Before the Cathedral looked almost toy like often; now it looks utterly sublime.

    I've been thinking a lot about this.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

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