Reaction to another instance of unthinking ad-hocism from City Hall

Pragmatist hat fully clipped on and tied, I’m saying Mayor Daaave Cull is an alarmist and should be whipped. Page one news (see ODT Online link below, if you dare) is not Daaave Cull at his intelligent best.

What? His council doesn’t know of other buildings in a similar condition to the Barron Building (it’s true there are none so strapped and nudged by its owners, engineers and insurers to collapse under a bulldozer ‘tomorrow’).

So. DCC doesn’t know about Prista Apartments Ltd (372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St)? Funny that, DCC issued a work order on 386 Princes St as a direct consequence of submissions made at recent Resource Consent hearings. Funny again, DCC doesn’t know it is the Respondent to an Appeal to the Environment Court by New Zealand Historic Places Trust, in regard to the Resource Consent granted to Prista Apartments Ltd. And funnier, DCC doesn’t know about the Dangerous Building, the old Education Board/AH Reed building on the corner of Crawford and Jetty Sts…. so that wasn’t DCC-initiated safety tape around it?
Oh. I see.

We know nothing! And we have council officers and managers that know nothing! We can’t possibly know anything!
(And this a university town. Shock horror. Alarmism.)

The elected arm of Dunedin City Council, at least, might be expected to know a little of something that doesn’t immediately POSE AN IGNORANT AND ALARMIST THREAT to the fabric of this city, much of which lies in private investment hands.

Daaave, your words inflame and polarise and give little ground for negotiation. You can’t ad-lib on behalf of something WE own and you don’t, and that’s Dunedin’s future.

So ruck off, eat a cupcake, get a sugar load. Because we are very rational and considered, it is WE who will deliver community solutions in sight of legislative change and compulsions.

Do not talk crap. Listen and learn, Daaave.
In other words, smarten the hell up.


The lessons from Christchurch will require re-examination of construction policies in every city and town in the country. In Dunedin, that must surely include existing building standards and compliance codes; whether the district plan should continue to allow construction on land likely to be subject to liquefaction and, if so, the degree of protection required; the provision, location and design of services; and, surely, the future of many of our heritage buildings. None are insurmountable challenges, but they are challenges and have to be faced.

### ODT Online Fri, 4 Mar 2011
Editorial: Re-examining our building codes
Based on seismic data and historical records, New Zealand experiences about 300 – on average – 4 to 4.9 magnitude earthquakes every year, and an average of two magnitude 6 to 6.9 a year. As we have so tragically discovered, earthquakes of these magnitudes can kill and will damage and destroy many man-made structures.
Read more


The authors of What if? regretfully note the website template can’t and won’t drop the following news item down into very fine illegible print.

### ODT Online Fri, 4 Mar 2011
Cull: stark choice over quake plan
By David Loughrey
Dunedin faces a stark choice when it puts in place a policy this year to prepare the city for earthquakes – accept the fact many buildings may not fare well in a quake, or agree to widespread demolition of the city’s heritage architecture.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, People, Politics, Project management, Town planning, Urban design

17 responses to “Reaction to another instance of unthinking ad-hocism from City Hall

  1. Elizabeth

    Earlier this week we heard Minister Gerry Brownlee raving that Christchurch will be New Zealand’s biggest demolition project – where instead he might have developed a touch of sensitivity or pastoral care… Hate to think of the impact of these kinds of statements on affected building users, owners and people suffering undue hardship, grief and post traumatic stress… and the teams and individuals dealing to USAR in amongst the city as we now know it :/

    Mayor Cull is relegated to second place after Mr Brownlee – early unwitting apprenticeship to politics cannot be mistaken as leadership.

    • Elizabeth

      Now here’s Brownlee f**king heritage over like he tried to do with mining National Parks. No integrity and no brain.

      Ministers tough stance on heritage buildings (via NewstalkZB)
      Historic buildings may be torn down + Video (via 3News)

      A colleague replies: “that [deleted] excuse of a human is Ilam born and bred, if we could convince him that these heritage buildings could become pie shops he may change his mind”.


      In 2006, NZ Herald reported on Brownlee’s investment portfolio:

      Gerry BROWNLEE
      Companies and business entities: Contact Energy electricity generation
      Beneficial interests in trusts: Bradnor Trust
      Real property: Property, Takorika Road, Havelock, Marlborough; Bradnor Road, Fendalton, Christchurch
      Superannuation schemes: Axon Managed Funds
      Creditors: Bank of New Zealand mortgage
      NZHerald Link

      In 2008, on the subject of his Contact Energy shares: Mr Brownlee told reporters today he had only a few hundred shares, which hardly amounted to a pecuniary interest. He had transferred them to one of his children after taking on the energy portfolio for National.
      NZHerald Link

      By 2010, the parliamentary register shows:
      Hon Gerry BROWNLEE (National, Ilam)

      2. Interests (such as shares and bonds) in companies and business entities
      Minnetti Nominees (blind interest) – share club

      4. Beneficial interests in trusts
      AJ Brownlee Family Trust

      6. Real property
      Properties (x2), Havelock, Marlborough
      Property, Marlborough Sounds
      Property, Ilam, Christchurch
      Property, Bryndwr, Christchurch
      Property, Fendalton, Christchurch

      7. Superannuation schemes
      Bradnor Superannuation Scheme
      AXA Superannuation Scheme
      AXA KiwiSaver Superannuation Scheme

      8. Debtors
      Bradnor Superannuation Scheme – loan – nil interest

      9. Creditors
      Bank of New Zealand – mortgage
      Register Link (PDF)

  2. peter

    Gerry Brownlee should definitely NOT ‘have his way’. Thank God his mining of national parks idea was thwarted. The trouble is that Smiler Key has made him minister in charge of the earthquake recovery and rebuild and presumably he can cut through the ‘legal niceties’ as he has already suggested.

    • Elizabeth

      Strangely, Brownlee tempered his comments on NewstalkZB when interviewed by Kerre Woodham this morning. Doesn’t mean he has changed his mind, it might mean somebody’s had a word in his ear.

  3. peter

    I guess National will have to keep a tighter rein on one of their more unpopular and least impressive ministers or it will affect them all in the polls. He’s got a big mouth that gets him into trouble.

    • Elizabeth

      Uh-oh, Brownlee on acid:
      The government takes charge in Christchurch (via ONE News) + Video
      The government says it is taking charge of rebuilding Christchurch because the recovery is moving too slowly. But Mayor Bob Parker is determined not to be sidelined, and says it is a partnership in which the council has a number of areas it is uniquely equipped to deal with.

      Please FIGHT BACK, Christchurch City Council.


      Minister urged to save heritage buildings (via TVNZ news)

      Historic buildings may be torn down (via 3News) + Video
      Auckland arts writer Hamish Keith warns the earthquake could become an excuse to make way for new development. “The Christchurch earthquake is a vast tragedy, a vast calamity but it ought not to be a licence for the demo of heritage and I fear very much that not just in Christchurch it’s going to be used as a licence to knock down inconvenient and lovely buildings,” he says.


      Twitter joke:
      So the new Nat Chch will have only 1 or 2 heritage buildings. The rest will be Gerry-built.

      • Elizabeth


        8.1.10 Eco-upgrade for Europe’s largest brick building

        If they can do it in Mother England, so can pudding face Brownlee and the National-led government.

      • Elizabeth

        (9.09am) @ninetonoon Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee with his views on what should be done with heritage buildings in Chch
        Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3 (13’56”)


        OK, damage control…

        ### Mon, 07 Mar 2011 9:59a.m.
        Key says Govt and Christchurch will work together
        Central Government and Christchurch city will work “hand in glove” on earthquake recovery efforts, Prime Minister John Key says. His comments this morning were aimed at smoothing waters ruffled when Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was reported yesterday saying the Beehive was taking control to “punch through the bureaucratic red tape”.
        Read more


        Mary’s an experienced campaigner, with gravitas! Will contact her later today.

        ### 10:26AM Monday March 07, 2011 Source: ONE News
        Heritage buildings can be saved, says advocate
        Those charged with deciding the fate of Christchurch’s heritage buildings need to “pause and think” before making any brash decisions, says a heritage advocate. The appeal follows comments by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee about the city’s old buildings. Brownlee said at the weekend if he had his way he would have all but a few iconic buildings pulled down, because old buildings had “killed people” during the February 22 earthquake.

        But Mary O’Keefe from the International Council on Monuments and Sites said even heritage buildings damaged in the quake can be strengthened to meet modern safety standards.
        Read more


        (11.51am) @3Politics Brownlee defends commitment to heritage buildings
        ### Mon, 07 Mar 2011 11:18a.m.
        Gerry Brownlee has defended his commitment to heritage buildings in quake-devastated Christchurch, saying he had “no desire to bring out the bulldozers and take Christchurch to the ground”.


        (12.22pm) @PressNewsRoom Christchurch earthquake: ‘Wrong time for heritage focus’ – Brownlee Gerry Brownlee has defended his commitment …

        Mr Brownlee defended his commitment to heritage in the city, saying he had been chairman of the trust that saved Riccarton House when it was being considered for demolition. “I understand conservation architecture very well. I know that where you can successfully save a building for heritage purposes then it can be worthwhile, but I question whether 1600 buildings in Christchurch meet that criteria.”

      • Elizabeth

        Civil Defence: Media Release from National Controller
        Monday 7 March 2011


        ### Last updated 17:08 07/03/2011
        Thousands of earthquake damaged Christchurch homes face demolition
        About 10,000 earthquake-damaged Christchurch homes will have to be demolished, Prime Minister John Key says. Key gave the warning at a press conference this afternoon, where he also announced a memorial day for victims of the devastating February 22 earthquake. The memorial day will be held on March 18, at Hagley Park, and legislation will be required to make it a provincial holiday so the people of Canterbury can attend. A heavy international representation is expected at the service.


        ### Mon, 07 Mar 2011 6:09p.m.
        1000 heritage buildings damaged – but should they go?
        By Jane Luscombe
        Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee’s comments to demolish heritage buildings has caused alarm among building owners, and forced Civil Defence and the Mayor into damage control today. The Minister was being a bit camera shy today, so his boss and others did the talking.

        “Heritage’s biggest enemy is panic and haste, especially where it’s a situation where a building is safe or is it unsafe,” says Anna Crighton of the Earthquake Heritage Trust.

        Read more + Video


        ### Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:38p.m.
        Uncertain future for ChCh’s heritage buildings
        By Liz Puranam
        Comments from Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee that Christchurch’s badly-damaged heritage buildings have no future have infuriated building owners, and forced Civil Defence and the Mayor Bob Parker into damage control today. It’s hard to imagine Christchurch without its heritage buildings, but more than 1000 are damaged, and safety is the overriding concern for Civil Defence head John Hamilton.
        Read more + Video

  4. Phil

    One thing missing from the RMA is the requirement to consider social impact. Countries which have adopted the New Zealand RMA have incorporated social impact assessments into their legislation. Cultural and historical values have been clearly identified as being vital to the continued wellbeing of a community. A lack of identity is shown to create significant social problems within a community which ultimately have negative economic effects. Unfortunately, those driving this project at present seemed to either have not grasped this concept, or have chosen to overlook it in favour of a “Dambusters” quick fix attitude. It’ll ensure enough votes to get re-elected, but is really failing the community long term.

    Gerry’s credentials for the job are a little difficult to unearth. Maybe it’s the few years he spent as a self employed chippie. He’s probably one of the best collectors around of parliamentary portfolios. It’s like they keep trying to find somewhere to put him where he won’t get in anyone’s way, moving him on to another equally obscure role after he manages to spill tomato sauce all over his desk. I’m reminded of an episode of the Simpsons television show where Bart Simpson was given the newly created vital role of “Minister for Keeping It Real”.

  5. Elizabeth

    ### March 9, 2011 – 6:45pm
    Should some of Dunedin’s older buildings be demolished?
    Concerns have been raised over the safety of old buildings following last month’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch. Today the 9 Local News Word on the Street team took to George Street, asking people if some of Dunedin’s older buildings should be demolished.

    You might experience difficulty with this link. Ch9 has been contacted.

  6. Elizabeth

    You wouldn’t read about it…

    “We wanted to identify barriers to economic re-use of heritage buildings and overcome those barriers,” Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 11 Mar 2011
    Heritage building use celebrated
    By Nigel Benson
    Dunedin’s heritage buildings and the people who safeguard their futures were celebrated last night. The inaugural Dunedin Heritage Re-Use Awards at Wall St recognised architectural redevelopments which have given heritage buildings a new lease of life.
    Read more

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