So you may have noticed that I’ve been a little bit quiet on the blogging front for the last couple of weeks. I’ve got a decent excuse for that – I’ve been working to organize and stage manage the Labour Party annual conference, which was held at Wigram Air Force Museum over the weekend. Now that I’ve managed to catch up on a bit of a sleep, I’ve had a bit of time to read some of the things that were written and reported on across the weekend. The two best pieces I’ve read are Gordon Campbell’s and The Civilian’s (I tried to broker a compromise deal between Ben and DC’s media minders; sadly it didn’t come off.)

The major policy announcements from the conference – KiwiAssure, 10,000 houses in 4 years, temporary housing in red zone houses, New Brighton redevelopment – are really exciting moves, that have been the product of a number of people, both in Wellington and Christchurch, working through some of the most pressing issues that face Christchurch and the East in particular. I’ve been part of that process, and I’m really proud of the outcome. The policy to build 10,000 Kiwibuild houses within 4 years shows that a Labour government would take a far more proactive stance on rehousing the people of Canterbury – but also a more hands-on role in reshaping the way a city works. Over three years after the first quake, the hands-off, laissez faire approach has led to sky-rocketing rents, people living in garages and a rebuild that has pottered along unconvincingly. I hope that this more assertive position leads to the end of the coward’s truce that “don’t politicise the rebuild” gave rise to; these are major issues about the way we live, the way we interact with each other and our environment, and they deserve to be discussed with passion and clarity by all sides in the argument.

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