As No Right Turn reports, the OIAs for CERAs arbitrary declaration that the Red Zone is a “politics free zone” are back, and the bits that haven’t been redacted are pretty damning. While the juiciest bits have been withheld, there are still some interesting things, such as when they email round one of my tweets, or that “Mojo and Eugenie are Facebooking!” They were obviously doing their very best to stifle first, justify second. 

May favourite bit, however, is this line which somehow escaped the black highlighter: “Minister’s office have okayed, and intention will be to put this in your name Roger”. This makes it clear that they’ve gone up to Gerry, got the go ahead, and then the press release has come back down for poor Roger Sutton to front. You have to feel sorry for the guy. We had so much hope for him when he came into the job. I doubt that when he left Orion, and took a pay cut to help out Christchurch he could dreamt that 18 months later, he wouldn’t even have any control over the things coming out of his mouth. Such a shame. He should get out now whilst people can still vaguely remember his pre-CERA career.

It also goes to show what a complete farce the Press Power List is. I don’t really think the thing is worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s part of the paper’s endless march to being a bunch of opinion pieces with ads tacked on the sides (the new “Mainland Live” section is meant to be light news, but was really just an excuse to convert a whole page of the front section of the paper to opinion pieces, and bad ones at that. Jane Bowron, take a bow.) Anyway, back to the Power List. It has Sutton in at number 6. This OIA shows just how much “power” he has. Any of the other rankings should be taken with an unhealthy amount of salt, especially the one which has John Key at the top of the list. The man in charge is clearly Gerry, his brutish fingers are said to be all over the CCDU plan; Key’s interest in Christchurch seems to be strictly limited to photoshoots at the openings of buildings, and even the rate of those seems to have slowed down. Maybe he’s finally realised that all these pictures of him on empty building sites might not be the best look when he goes into an election campaign trying to boast of the rebuild.

The thing is, no-one knows who’s in running Christchurch, apart maybe a few of those guys in the Beehive. CERA, CCDU, the council, ECAN – these are all less than transparent organisations, with silent, un-OIA-able actors who are making decisions about the city without fear of scrutiny. The Press Power List suggests that there is an easy to read list of the 50 people running the shop, and that’s the most worrying thing about it. 

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