Having acknowledged that a lot of the old buildings are gone or going to have to go and be replaced by modern equivalents, it's nevertheless a serious worry that the local Nat cabinet ministers are blustering idiots of the "price of everything, value of nothing" type. Gerry Brownlee has never seen a national park he thought wouldn't look better as an open-cast coal mine, and David Carter always gives me the impression he thinks the nation is just a farm writ large.
As examples of why these are crap people to have in govt at a time like this, consider the following:
Brownlee: Lives before historic buildings. The Minister bends his awesome intellectual powers to the question of what approach to take to the city's heritage, and concludes:
"Quite frankly people have died in this last earthquake trying to save old buildings. We're not going to do that any more. My absolutely strong position is that the old dungas, no matter what their connection, are going under the hammer."
My immediate visceral response to this ("Die, you fat fuck") probably isn't sufficient for a blog reader to figure out what my problem with it is, so here's a longer version. Well, yes, we do want to put lives before historic buildings. However, I don't think either PGC or the CTV building would count as "historic" buildings by anyone's standards. Further, the Hotel Grand Chancellor was built to 1995 standards, ie higher standards than most buildings in the country, and people are going to have to carry out plenty of work on that building in order to demolish it. An earthquake could kill them while that's happening. Likewise, we have people working on extracting dead bodies from buildings, despite the fact another earthquake could kill those workers. Life involves risk. Unless Gerry's planning to introduce a building code that will enable buildings to survive any conceivable earthquake and to then demolish any buildings that don't meet it (which technically he could do, given that the imbeciles running the country voted him absolute power late last year), he should Shut The Fuck Up.
David Carter: Call for "aggressive" demolition in Christchurch. His take on it:
Carter said after the September 4 earthquake last year, there was a lot of resistance among Cantabrians to demolishing old and historic buildings but he did not anticipate opposition after the latest devastation.
In other words, for Carter the earthquake has proved useful in that it will have made people happy to sacrifice the buildings Brownlee calls "dungas," and replace them with ones that unsentimental characters like Carter will find more economically useful - not to mention, there'll be a shitload of money to be made out of it by people with connections like Carter's.
The consequences of these blustering, blithering idiots reaching for their revolvers when they hear the word culture arrived pretty much immediately:
Historic Christchurch church torn down without consent. I used to live in Sydenham in the late 60s, back when it was still a neighbourhood (ie, before Brougham St got turned into a traffic bypass). I'd cheerfully string the people who did this from a lamppost, and for all I care Brownlee and Carter could swing with them - maybe some lives aren't more important than historic buildings after all.