Labour’s energetic new MP for Wigram, Dr Megan Woods, made a fascinating presentation to Labour Summer School on rebuilding Christchurch, and the relevance of hope to the people of Christchurch.
It really amazed me how much new information she had. So many stories, both positive and negative, seem to be slipping under the radar. She talked about the work of various third sector organisations which have sprung up or morphed from earlier entities. Things like Rebuild Christchurch, Greening The Rubble and Gap Filler, which are all doing interesting and inspiring work. There are also many things that the state can and should be doing, or doing better. I’m not even going to attempt to cover them here. Despite Megan’s excellent hour-long seminar, I now feel that I know even less about the Christchurch situation.
The relevance of hope was something that was easier to grasp. I’m sure we all know people who have left Christchurch, simply given up. It’s not hard to see how that could happen. Strong, inspiring community leaders are going to have a very important role to play. Though she was too modest to say so herself, I know that the work of the MPs of Christchurch is going to be such an important help to their constituents.
I’m glad that David Shearer’s first visit as leader was to Christchurch, that we’ve appointed a fierce community advocate in Lianne Dalziel as our Canterbury Earthquake spokesperson, and that we have a great team of local MPs and activists in place in Christchurch. These people need to know that we’re doing all we can for them. And I genuinely think we are.
As an aside, Ruth Dyson mentioned on Twitter this afternoon that city councillor Tim Carter has called for the government to replace the council CE, Tony Marriott, with a statutory manager. I think local government politics in Christchurch are going to be just as interesting as central government. If anyone who is following these issues wants to write about it for The Progress Report, I’d be very keen to hear from you.