Archives for posts with tag: CERA

On Thursday, there was a very passionate, vocal protest to save the Majestic Theatre. Probably thanks to the presence of the Wizard, and two of his acolytes, it got good media attention – CTV news covers it here, and the Press has a video at the top of it’s piece as well. I gave a short speech in front of the Majestic, in which I covered off the main tenets of Those Left Standing: Repair, Reuse and Rethink.

Repair. These buildings, still standing, clearly aren’t an immediate risk of falling down and causing harm to people. They can be repaired, if there is the will and the money to do so. Reuse. The rebuild thus far has been a huge waste – both of materials, and buildings. We need to ask ourselves where that mass of concrete, glass and steel will end up if we pull it down. We can reuse – by repairing buildings and putting them back into circulation, we can reclaim the built environment whilst protecting the natural one.

Rethink. The CCDU want to pull down the Majestic Theatre to widen a road by 9m. It’s 2014, and we’re knocking down buildings to accommodate more cars. This is madness, and shows that parts of the Blueprint plan need to be completely re-thought. Instead of reassessing how the plan has worked in the almost 2 years since it was released, Brownlee and Isaacs are doubling down on the Blueprint, betting that it’s failures can be glossed over by putting the house on red. It’s a high-risk play, with a potentially disastrous legacy if it all goes wrong. This is planning by bluster and stubbornness, and now is the time to admit that we need a rethink, before everything is bulldozed by an outdated plan.

Glenn Conway has the breakdown on the costs of running CERA, which provide some interesting figures:

It spent $647,571 on public information campaigns.

It seconded 12 communication staff for various periods at a total cost of $1.1m.

It awarded 13 $1m-plus contracts, the biggest being a $10.5m deal with Opus International Consultants and the second largest involving a $6.4m contract with Hawkins Construction.

Twenty staff resigned, a turnover of just over 10 per cent.

The highest paid staff member, apart from chief executive Roger Sutton, was paid between $360,001 and $370,000. The lowest 21 paid staff were each paid between $40,001 and $50,000.

Two staff have credit cards that each have a $10,000 limit

Cera’s lease of the HSBC Tower cost $1.4m, up about $500,000 on the previous year. Catering costs were $390,000.

Gerry doesn’t make it easy to avoid the obvious punchline.

The Cathedral.

The battle for the Cathedral marches on. It struck me late last year how incredibly sad it will be if the current cathedral is destroyed because the idea of an empty flat site right in the heart of the city fills me with dread. So my preferences for the Cathedral are:

1. I love public debate, but any sane city would have never seriously considered knocking a central icon and landmark such as this down. The church should never have given it up so quickly, and the government should never have given it ‘demolish it or we will orders’. In any normal city it would have been utilized by the church and the state as a symbol of strength, resistance and renewal.

2. If substantial parts of it are to be demolished, then I think there is a reasonable argument that these can be reinvented. If this is so, then there should be a public discussion around this, and a large international competition to find the best designers and the best ideas. The process where Warren and Mahoney designers flew around the world with some church people to look at great cathedrals, and then draw a new design to entirely rebuild the church, is about as offensive as the designs they came up with.

3. My personal favourite of new ideas is the one developed by Sir Miles Warren (independently of his old firm) to construct Gilbert Scott’s original timber design on the site, using parts of existing building and contemporary timber technology. This idea seamlessly combines:

  • a: The history of the site. It was originally a timber design but this wasn’t considered formal enough for a cathedral at the time.
  • b: Demands contemporary innovation, and timber technology is what we are getting good at.
  • c: Allows the Church to resolve some of the problems the old church had
  • d: it would utilise the very real skill of one of the few great NZ Architects.

4 – 98. Anything else.

99. The current option to get Warren and Mahoney to do the new church with no competition is about the worst move the church could have made, and hopefully they show some sense to move on from this.

The recent announcement by the historic places trust (HPT) is interesting and clever. Like many other organisations post-quake the HPT have, I think, found themselves overwhelmed and without enough resources or heroes at central government to help them do their jobs properly (it would be nice if the Minister for Heritage showed some interest into the biggest lost of building fabric and heritage buildings in NZ history). So the HPT is trying to make up for lost ground with this, and good on them for showing some political guile by offering to broker talks between the Great Christchurch Building Trust and the Anglicans.

The GCBT has struggled to make it publicly known that they have offered to pay immediately for the make safe works on the cathedral and to take all responsibility for fundraising if the church chooses a restoration project. This is an extraordinary offer which should remove most of the fair concerns the church might have about financial doom (I struggle to understand the position of the church. If they really don’t care about buildings or status then they should use all the insurance money to build a series of small community support, health, and spiritual centres around the city to directly support parishes, and sell the land back to the crown. Now that would be brave. But don’t claim community and then spend the money on a new expensive centre for worship.)

What I find funny about this recent initiative and the Mayor’s quick support for it is I think it has gained momentum because the Bishop is currently out of the country and not able to comment. So while the cat is away the mice will play and hopefully some quite real political momentum has developed towards a form of beneficial compromise (I still hold out hope for options 2 or 3 at least).

Those are my thoughts on the river and the cathedral. They are both amazing forms that hold their own place in the city, and yet point to other larger entities – the church towards the sky, the heavens, and Rangi, while the river runs out to the ocean and Moana. It will be interesting to see how these two projects unfold this year.

The River and the Cathedral.

In the first two parts of this series I argued that the government made a mistake by keeping CERA so close to cabinet and central government, and thus lost the ability to change and adapt in the face of uncertainty. I also contended that since CERA was established in 2011, the wrong structure has been used and the wrong people have been employed. In this third part I will look in depth at one of the government-led projects to illustrate the larger points. Tomorrow, in the second half of this part (part 3.5), I’ll touch on the Cathedral and the recent risk that peace might actually break out on this troubled project.

The Avon River Precinct and the Cathedral are perhaps the two most emblematic projects in the city. They adorn the city logo, and they have since the quake both been badly mismanaged and, sadly, come to represent the worst of the post-quake response -rather than the best that we have seen in other parts of the city.

The River

In the first instance, it annoys me that this project is called a precinct. A river isn’t a precinct; a precinct is an area in a city with walls or a defined edge. A river is a boundary (with many varied edges at different points) not something with arbitrary edges 30 metres from its banks. This isn’t really important, but the plan might be taken more serious if it didn’t abuse language so carelessly.

After the quakes in 2011 the Christchurch City Council was tasked with developing the city plan. They started the Share an Idea campaign, got lots of public (but not much stakeholder) input, and then made their plans. These plans were then rejected by the government, who then developed their own 100-day plan.

As part of this Council staff developed an idea to substantially reconsider and redevelop the Avon River within the 4 avenues. This would change the relationship of the city to the river, and to substantially upgrade its ecological and cultural value as a river. A brilliant idea, and one that CERA to their credit have always strongly supported. They have supported it to the extend that central government is funding the $100 million dollar project, almost as a gift to the city. This is great, and really quite exciting.

CERA included this in the 100-day plan, writing a brief and putting it out for tender. This is where I’d argue that things started to go wrong. Their first mistake was that the brief was never developed with the people that use the river. This is a $100 million dollar urban space project, one of the biggest public space projects in New Zealand history. It is one that will probably define the future feeling of the city – and CERA in all their strange silo’d wisdom decided there was no need for public consultation at all.

In the first part of this series I went into why public consultation is important politically. But it is important to point out on a design level that public input is not just a political imperative, it is how designers really understand what they are supposed to do with a project. No commercial or corporate designers would ever do something this big for their users without working with them first to develop the ideas behind it. It has any number of guises: brief development, user testing, participatory design, collaborative design, public engagement, prototyping, and many others. There are a hundred different ways that the public could have been involved and ideas could have been tested – many of which don’t take much time or money. Instead, we heard from CERA that “they don’t have time to talk to everyone in the city about the River”. Hands are placed firmly on foreheads and the project goes out for tender.

This is a big project, and so all the best people in NZ submitted for the job – as did many world leading architecture and landscape architecture firms. Just before Christmas 2012 the winners were announced with much fanfare. To no one’s surprise Opus were picked as the consultants for the engineering, but to everyone’s surprise a medium sized and not very well-known British firm BDP were announced as the designers. You can look at their work here.

I’ve heard from 8 sources that they were chosen almost entirely because they put the lowest fee bid in, and one person said this wasn’t the case. Both stories are depressing. In the first some of the top designers in the world and New Zealand were denied a role in a project because someone else said they charge lower fees. When dealing with housing or commercial projects fees are important, as the margins are so tight that the amount the designers charge can be the survival of the project. Not so on big projects like this; the difference in fees between firms will be marginal, but the difference in design quality can be huge. Why not spend an extra million on a project to make sure that the other 99 million is going to be well spent?

This sort of decision making goes back to the point I made in the 2nd article in this series, that the people in charge of the CCDU and CERA don’t understand design and urbanism, and so end up penny pinching at exactly the wrong points. It’s odd because this is the logic that gives people like Marryatt and Sutton such big salaries, and yet for some reason it doesn’t apply to designers. If this wasn’t the lowest fee bid for the project, then god only knows why they’d picked them to lead it over some other project designers. Option A is misplaced values and Option B is incompetence. Take your pick.

As the year goes on a number of developments start to unfold. It is announced that an Art Trail will be built along the river, and SCAPE is given the job of working with the artists on this.

The CCDU announces that a small part of the river park will be build first, this uninspiring part of the river is now finished and is called watermark. CCDU’s blurb says:

“Stemming from over 100,000 community suggestions via the ‘Share an Idea’ campaign, ‘Watermark’ aims to deliver on aspirations for a ‘Green City’ and align with the broad design principles of Te Papa Ōtākaro:

  • promoting a healthy river
  • a fully accessible environment
  • an integrated cultural narrative
  • good economic potential.”

I’ve been in the education system for almost 25 years now and don’t have a clue what the last two points are supposed to mean – must be a project manager thing.
Around October 2013 rustles of discontent start to be heard. 9 months of preliminary design work has been submitted to CERA, and they aren’t happy. It turns out not doing public consultation, under cooking the brief, and giving the project to an overseas firm with little cultural knowledge of Christchurch wasn’t the best idea. At this point alarm bells seemed to have started ringing. The Council staff are brought back into the fold, new designers are engaged to work ‘with’ the British firm, and there is belated effort to consult a slightly broader stake-holder group. There was even a temporary attempt to get some public feedback via the CCDU website.
I was invited to one of these meeting, and I was astounded by the ratio of people that seemed to have been working on the project versus the quality of what was being presented. I was seated at table with a variety of stake-holders and a senior designer from BDP. When I tried to politely point out that the new Margaret Mahy park not only goes over the centennial pool, but also completely erases the Elsie Locke park next to this, and that this was a strange form of cultural erasure (weird because Elsie and Margaret were good friends) the senior designer said he’d only learnt of this 2 days ago. That’s over 9 months into the project. I can only speculate what other cultural assets of the city are being erased through bad management and poor briefing. Luckily the media got wind of this and CERA promptly jumped to attention – as they do when things become about publicity rather than participation.
Originally the entire Avon-Ōtākaro River Area between the 4 avenues, and the entire east frame, was part of this job. I remember thinking at the time this is a huge risk giving that massive job to one firm, especially one from overseas. Now it seems the project is being split up into smaller areas along the river with slightly different groups developing each area, which is much more sensible.

So what can we learn from this project? It confirms my suspicions from the first two parts of this series; that CERA and CCDU are not putting the right people in the right jobs and that stupid (and really expensive) decisions are being made as a result. The saving grace of this is that there is thankfully at least some quality control going on, so this project has been radically overhauled before it was too late. The sad thing is that it was so predictable and in the process the public has been denied a role in what could have been an incredibly meaningful and important part of the healing of the city. This was a chance for the people to collectively develop a new identity for Christchurch, rather than having it done on our behalf as it is presently.

The Press leads this morning with yet another high-profile inner city redevelopment being scrapped. This time, it’s the glass monstrosity that was proposed for the old Triangle Centre site.

Long-time Triangle Centre landlord Michael Ogilvie-Lee has dropped his concept for a $100 million sculptural glass-wrapped office and shopping centre between Colombo, High and Cashel streets. The land has been bought by CHC Properties, jointly owned by fashion retailer, investor and rich-lister Tim Glasson, and fellow Hallenstein Glasson shareholder and chairman Warren Bell.

Aesthetic concerns aside, this should set alarm bells ringing in the CERA head office, if not the Beehive. Just a couple of weeks short of the 3 year anniversary of the February quake, and the rebuild of the city is increasingly becoming a vanity project for the city’s mega-rich.

With several projects shelved in the 18 months since the Government’s blueprint for the city’s retail core was unveiled, local rich-listers look like being best-placed to get plans off the ground. Glasson was estimated by the National Business Review’s 2103 Rich List to be worth $85m. Antony Gough, whose family’s wealth was estimated at $300m, is the only landowner with construction under way around City Mall. Philip Carter, listed as Christchurch’s richest man with $120m, has plans to build a precinct on land between Colombo, Cashel, High and Lichfield streets. Also hoping to start building soon is Nick Hunt, who is holding insurance payouts for lost buildings but has not yet confirmed a tenant for his Cashel Square precinct.

Look, I don’t have anything against the super-rich (ok, I do, but now’s not the time for that…) But should we be leaving the rebuild of the country’s second city – and the primary driver of the country’s economic recovery – to the whims of people for whom money means nothing? The National Party pride themselves on their business acumen and economic management, and yet have not been able to create an environment that attracts investment. There are tens of billions of dollars from insurance payments; dozens of businesses, with thousands of workers, that want a new home in the CBD – so why are developers giving Christchurch the cold shoulder? And why is no-one talking about the economic implications of the chronic mismanagement of the rebuild? Sure, growth in Canterbury might be the main driver of the country’s projected growth this year, but imagine what that growth would look like if the rebuild was being managed even half competently?


Yesterday, I posted a link to Johnny Moore’s column about the Ministry nightclub being pulled down by CERA. There’s a by-election going on in town, and one of the candidates decided that it was worth making hay out of this issue. Surprisingly, the party that put it’s hand up was ACT. It’s an interesting press release, and shows just how conflicted the ACT Party is these days; they’re arguing for property rights and that the government shouldn’t be intervening in people’s business; at the same time, the only other issue that Gareth Veale has said anything about in Christchurch East has been from the Sensible Sentencing-trust wing of the party, the “Three Strikes” bill. While I’d never vote for them, it does kind of hearten me to see ACT making the libertarian argument about the blueprint – but where were they on this when the plan came out 18 months ago?

The campaign run by ACT has been about as coherent as their policy; they’ve put out this press release, about a nightclub in Christchurch Central electorate that has nothing to do with the East, and they have two massive billboards – also in Christchurch Central, rather than East. I’m picking that the Conservative’s Leighton Baker will beat Gareth Veale tomorrow, and probably reasonably comfortably (considering we’re talking about the likely 4th and 5th placed candidates.) If that’s the case, then the narrative coming out of this by-election may not be about Labour or National, but that Colin Craig has properly established himself as an electoral contender – and that the conflicted, confused ACT brand is done and dusted. Results are expected to start coming in around 9, with confirmation after 10.

I don’t want to get too excited, but there seems to be some real change in the air in this city. Gerry is having to defend EQC – and this time, doesn’t seem to be as keen to stand by Ian Simpson as he was in the past. Labour’s announcements on insurance and housing have put the government on the back foot, especially in the east. And this morning, Radio NZ reports that some in the business community – as well as the new councillor Raf Manji – are asking the CCDU to reconsider the “Green Frame” that was a key part of the blueprint. I’ve blogged about why I think the frame is a bad idea here a number of times – so I’m happy to see that these criticisms are now reaching the political discourse. The Frame was one of the biggest selling points of the whole blueprint, so if it is to be re-considered, that will ask some bigger questions about the plan as a whole – which, in my opinion, can only be a good thing.

The transport plan for central Christchurch has finally been released, and it’s another piece in a rather underwhelming jigsaw puzzle. There are a few things that are going to piss off some people – Tuam St being changed to a one-way street, whilst Kilmore, Salisbury and Lichfield St are reverted to two-way from their current one-way. Also, the speed limit for the “core” of the CBD will be dropped to 30km/h – though as Eric Crampton pointed out on twitter, that’s effectively what we have now.

While the plan says lots of nice things about cycling and pedestrians, call me cynical (go on, do it. I dare you) but I can’t help but be underwhelmed by this announcement. The transport plan on it’s own won’t do much to revitalize the inner city, but then, what will? There are two things in the plan that I do have problems with – the bus exchange, and the widening of Manchester St. The bus exchange is going to go onto the Tuam St site of the old CCC / Millers building – which is a magnificent building which could and should be saved, not knocked down to create a bus terminal. Secondly, the widening of Manchester St will see a bunch of buildings torn down – some of the last remaining ones in the CBD, as well as ones that have been built since the quakes – so they can get a bus lane in. Manchester St was very prone to traffic jamming pre-quakes, so I’m not convinced that running buses down it will sort that issue out.

It will be interesting to see how the new Council responds to this plan, and whether they agree with all the aspects of it. After all, they – not the government – are ultimately the ones who are going to have to administer it.

In the first part of this series I argued that the National Government has party-politicised the process of the rebuild by keeping the authority and decision-making to the responsibility of one Minister and Cabinet. This has not only led to an ongoing series of bad planning and management decisions (lack of heritage plan, endless delays to transport plan, overlapping governance structures with council), it has also put the government in the vulnerable position of not being able to change course as the situation has evolved. This reveals firstly a naïve political decision, and secondly creates a very dangerous situation for the city as post-disaster situations are defined by their uncertainty, and the idea that mistakes can’t be honestly admitted and acknowledged is problematic.

In this second part, I will look at how this poorly planned structure has in turn led to the appointed of the wrong type of people, and the wrong individuals in key positions.

From all reports CERA was full of amazing people doing amazing things for the first year after the quake. The immediate need to hire the best people, and the good will of the population to drop their normal jobs and commit to Christchurch assured an influx of talented people who – at the beginning – had the freedom to do their jobs well. I would put appointments like Roger Sutton into this category.

While it can only be expected that the nature of the jobs would change over the first few years after a disaster, what we see is a change from the appointment of the best possible people for the job to the appointment of managers that will follow orders and keep ‘things on track’. While competent management and project management skills are essential, they are not the only skills needed. The best example of this misguided approach to appointment is putting Warwick Isaacs in charge of the Christchurch City Development Unit (CCDU).

Warwick Isaac’s previous experience is 14 years at local government at the Timaru District Council and the Buller District Councils. When CERA announced his decision they said “Warwick will now use all of the experience and knowledge he has gleaned during his challenging year as CERA’s operations leader, to forge a new future for Christchurch.” So the experience Isaacs has gained from leading the demolition of around 1200 buildings is considered adequate to lead the most complex urban project in NZ History? Really?  CERA has failed in its appointment here, and the mismanagement of the past 18 months is evidence of this. The government should have appointed a designer or project leader with design knowledge, who also had extensive experience in governance and senior management. These people exist and they are highly skilled – and it is Christchurch’s loss that Isaacs has instead been leading the CCDU. This isn’t meant as a personal slight on Isaacs; it is a bit like employing a commercial fisherman to run the America’s Cup campaign. I’m sure Isaacs did a great job during the difficult Civil Defence and demolition stages, but leading an urban design authority is a highly complex task that requires experience and knowledge of how urban environments are constructed.

The lack of dynamic thinking, imagination, and adaptability within the CCDU is becoming increasingly evident. I think part of this is because of the stagnant mono-directional nature of how the government is running the process and the exclusion of the public and all our ideas.

I need to briefly address an issue of the public here before continuing to critique the nature of the appointments. Many of us have been criticising the lack of real public engagement in the planning processes. Minister Brownlee has directly responded to this criticism on a number of occasions, and in his defence, he does seem genuinely miffed by it. He asserts that the plan is based on the “Share an Idea” campaign and was honestly and genuinely based on this process. There are two big faults with this, and again it points to the fact that Gerry is a minister in a National Government – not someone with any serious experience with urban development or post-disaster planning.

The first is that engagement, like design, is about it iterations. It involves a movement of information back and forth between parties, and the information is steadily transformed and improved in this process. There are hundreds of ways of doing these processes. The Share an Idea campaign was one of them. One of the things that makes me most angry is when people assume that there are only two choices in these situations: dictatorship or consensus. This is bullshit and reveals a remarkable lack of imagination. We only need to look around our own lives with our family, loved ones, pets, gardens, and crafts to know that the world unfolds through careful negotiations, sacrifices and small moments of trust.  The consensus or dictatorship threat is created by those in power as a way to keep power.  An authority can consult and it not be binding – we do this all the time with parliament and it works very well. We can delegate small amounts of power to local boards and people and still keep control of the main infrastructure, as with happens with councils all the time.  We can work with community experts and stake holders – this is normal (and to CERA’s defence they do operate like this in some occasions).

The second fault with the thought that the Share an Idea campaign is enough is because they didn’t even look at the ideas that came out of that process. I OIA’d CERA and asked what was the methodology they used to interpret the data gathered from citizens during this process (the 100,000 ideas). Roger Sutton replied and said the CCDU Plan is based on the Council’s interpretation, and that they took this at face value. Yet they rejected this plan, took out key elements of it, and added a number of projects not mentioned in the Council scheme. So to summarise, CERA’s notion of community engagement is:

1. Get another organisation to gather information from citizens.

2. Never look at that data themselves.

3. Reject the plan they come up with that is based on that data.

4. Keep some suggestions, throw some out, and introduce some new ones without ever explaining the criteria for all this.

5. Don’t check the new plan with the citizens.

6. Don’t check the new plan with international experts.

7. Claim this is meaningful consultation.

Minister Brownlee – this is why we argue that you’ve never consulted with us about the plans for a new city, and why we get so frustrated when you claim you have.

But back to the lack of innovation in the plan. This is, I think, a direct result of the inclination to rely on project managers to run the rebuild process. Project management is a strange beast. At its best it provides people with great skills to achieve complex projects on time, within budget, and everyone is happy. At its worst it puts people who don’t understand the real values and priorities of projects, and who continually put things into boxes and gantt charts in an attempt to control the complexity of the world, and in doing so ruins all the subtlety involved in such a project.

Most project managers are taught and practice a thing called PMBOK, which is the Project Management Body of Knowledge. (You can pick when you are around project managers by the two things; 1. Dress shirts with vertical stripes, and 2. The ugly use of endless acronyms which they seem to use in an attempt turn project management into some time of medieval guild.)

PMBOK is a series of tools for delivering projects around the world. Given that the world revolves around project managers and their projects it obviously does its job pretty well and allows large and expensive projects to be delivered. However, there are a number of important criticisms of PMBOK, one being that it was designed during the Cold War. The world was a different place during the Cold War, and the project management system developed during this time was based on assumptions and values not always applicable now. PMBOK works in stable environments with a clear goal, a known budget and a desired time frame – and it works very well in these situations. This is why it is useful to pulling of projects like stadiums, corporate buildings, and Olympics. But it is not designed to function in an unstable environment where the stakeholders and users are not known, where budgets change, where the environment is dynamic, and where the goal is not always known. Basically, it is not particularly suited for post-disaster or complex urban environments.

By using project managers to lead the rebuild we are risking the future quality of this city and so many opportunities are being passed up because of the current desire to stick to plans that are already out of date. This isn’t meant as a criticism of the obviously hard working and talented project managers in Christchurch, but simply they are the wrong discipline to be leading this process. We need high level designers with experience in this type of thing to be leading with support from politicians who have the skill and public support to pull of brave and interesting decisions.

I’ve been consistently and almost obsessively attending public discussions, exhibitions, events, and activities on architecture and urbanism since arriving at the beginning of 2012, and I think it is telling that on not one single occasion have I seen either the head of the main urban design authority or its main designer at any of these events. There is a movement in this city that is gaining an international reputation for its creativity and innovation, and yet it is being almost totally ignored by those in charge of the rebuild.

Simon Lambert, a lecturer at Lincoln University, has posted a short commentary on the Maori response to the CERA health and wellbeing survey. Maori seem to be disproportionately worse off since the quakes:

For example, those saying their quality of life has decreased since the earthquakes (54% of 2,300 respondents) are more likely to be:
·         Living in temporary housing (70%)
·         Of Māori ethnicity (68%)
·         Aged 35 to 49 (60%) or 50 to 64 (62%)
There’s more, like those more likely to say they have experienced stress ‘always or most of the time’ (23% of respondents) includes a disproportionate number of Māori respondents (36%).
It’s a really complex situation, and one that hasn’t been explored that deeply, I don’t think. My surface reading would be that Ngai Tahu has partnered with the government, and is doing quite well thank you very much (Tower Junction, Wigram Skies, subdivisions in the north of the city) but because of this, Gerry thinks that enough has been done to support Maori. However, there are a lot of Maori in Christchurch who aren’t affiliated to Ngai Tahu (the census data will be interesting on this) and who are doing it particularly hard post-quake. This could be something that gets a bit more attention in the East by-election. 

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