Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

May 11, 2011

CERA meets the Council #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 10:27 pm

Things today were, as Talking Heads would say, looking like a movie, and to mix my musical metaphors, I can’t tell you why.

All I’ll say is that my domestic life today has provided me with enormous amounts of laughter, adrenaline, hope, sadness, and a fabulous dessert which was eaten for breakfast. (Hugo Manson has been pestering me to know what this special morsel is – and I’m going to torment him yet again:)

I had a personal matter to deal with which took up most of my day and meant I had to bump a meeting, not like me. (I did manage to complete reading tomorrow’s agenda for the full council meeting – 9.30 at Beckenham if you’re interested, open to the public, nothing much on the agenda so it will naturally take twice as long as it should.)

But I didn’t miss the session tonight with CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) and the local elected members of “Greater Christchurch” – that’s Christchurch, Selwyn & Waimakariri.

A packed house. I have six handwritten pages of notes. Here’s the short version.

Gerry Brownlee. “I have absolutely no desire to see elected roles set aside.” “Absolute support for people who are elected.”

John Ombler, Acting CEO, CERA. “Elected members are a critical connection between communities and CERA”.

John, quoting Minister Brownlee. “This is not just an opportunity to fix things. It is an opportunity to fix it and make it better.”

Introductions from the various CERA senior management teams. Snapshot – competent, clear, matters well in hand. Understand the need to engage closely with council at the appropriate level and systems are being developed to do that better.

The statistics are just mind numblingly huge. Here’s my favourite. There are an estimated 4 million tonnes of building waste and debris. 89,000 tonnes have been taken out of the Red Zone so far. Because of the nature of the waste, 9 tonnes fit on a truck. You do the maths around truck movements and see what lies ahead.

The commercial demolition numbers yet to come are so big I can’t write it here without going back and triple checking I have the number right. It is heart pounding stuff. (My heart’s been pounding all day – I’m overdue for a big run and I won’t get one now til the St Clair half on Saturday.)

We had updates from EQC, Fletchers, Department of Building and Housing – please look at the website for CERA, and you can follow them on facebook and twitter. A mass of information was presented tonight. I wish I’d been able to tweet as I went – it was extraordinary not in terms of hard breaking news but just bringing home the scale of what’s happened.

Gerry Brownlee demonstrated yet again his grasp of his portfolio, and I have to say his self-deprecating humour is something I wish more people saw. But I’m in a very warm fuzzy mood right now, having just had the minister congratulate me publicly for my return to CTV. “Twenty years. A bit more makeup. No difference.”

It’s a lot more makeup, Minister – and a whole lot less hair. There’d be a fair few in Wellington could say the same. 🙂

Enough for the night. 🙂



  1. OK, based on the current rates of removing debris from the CBD I calculate that it would take over 7 years to remove it all … I think CERA needs a new strategy! Thanks for those figures Sue, I think. You’re right, mind numbing.

    Comment by Toni — May 12, 2011 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

    • CERA’s going to have to develop a brand new one, you’re quite right. And with Roger Sutton at the helm, I have no doubt they’ll get a strategy that will get us fixed up and made better. She’ll be busy with truck movements for a while though, eh!

      Comment by Sue Wells — May 13, 2011 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  2. Hello Sue
    I’ve just discovered your blog, via a link from Lawrence Roberts and his Avonside Blog.

    You’ve attracted some very unfair critisism for the comments above. You are doing the job when you report honestly what you know, and your best estimate of what that knowledge means. Otherwise you can only report “official information” which adds nothing to anyone’s ability to understand events.

    I will try to get some more readers. You deserve them.

    John S Veitch

    Comment by John S Veitch — May 30, 2011 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

    • Thanks John. I must admit some of the venom surprised me as did some of the personal abuse. I haven’t made up those numbers in my blog, I’ve just written down the statements made by presenters during our meeting.
      I have no intention of stopping doing that, and if people reading my blog find my writing style not to their taste, I am sure they will figure out quickly enough that their web browsers can point elsewhere.

      Comment by Sue Wells — May 30, 2011 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

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