Archives for category: Satire

Documents released today under the Official Information Act (OIA) reveal the size and scale of the CERA’s covert “money pit” operation. Whilst the secret project has been a topic of frequent whispers around Worcester St, these documents are the first hard evidence that has come to light of the scheme. Located between Armagh and Gloucester St, the pit is approximately 12 metres in diameter, with an unknown depth. CERA engineers launched a series of recognisance missions into the pit, but these were abandoned after a 3-man team was lost somewhere between 270 and 280 metres below the surface.

A statement from CERA attempted to deny that the pit existed. “The money pit that you refer to is in fact a metaphorical money pit, not a literal money pit. And I mean “literal” in the “literal” sense of the word “literal”, not in the “figurative” sense of the word “literal”. This is literally a metaphorical money pit. A figurative money pit. No actual pit exists.”

However, documents released under the OIA to Rebuilding Christchurch today clearly indicate that the money pit has been included in plans for the central city since as far back as 2011, when a number of prominent Christchurch property developers started lobbying for the inclusion of the money pit in the Blueprint. When a black circle first started appearing in planning documents, it was initially believed that this was because part of the map had been redacted. However, we now believe that this black hole is in fact the symbol for the money pit.

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Business advocate and legendary rock guitarist Pete Townsend was enthusiastic about the money pit project. “This is good news for the rebuild, good news for Christchurch, good news for New Zealand taxpayers. This will create jobs, with up to 15 people required to shovel money into the pit, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For every 100 dollars hurled into the pit, 1 dollar will go into the wider Canterbury economy. This is a good deal for Christchurch.”

When asked about whether a money pit was part of National’s “Brighter Future” campaign, Prime Minister John Key responded that it was the ultimate realisation of his vision. “What we have here, actually, is a future that has shined so bright that it has collapsed in on itself, creating a black vortex that will suck in money and ultimately end all of life on earth. We’re pretty relaxed about it.”

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee assured the residents of Christchurch that the money pit is safe, although it should not be approached without the appropriate hi-vis safety equipment. He said that the current plan was to continue throwing money into the pit, and added that they are also investigating the practicalities of trying to house some of CERA’s expanding communications department in the entrance to the depression.

The Minister of the Environment, Dr Nick Smith, today announced plans for the future governance structure of the Canterbury Regional Council, commonly known as ECan. The elected council was sacked in 2010, following a report that found they had failed to achieve the Government’s objectives of converting the entirety of the Canterbury Plains into dairying. In their place, commissioners were appointed. Despite having 5 years to achieve the Government’s aims, the Commissioners have comprehensively failed their goals. A recent study found that just 36% of Canterbury’s fresh water was unsafe to drink, well below the Government’s aspirational goal of “no fresh water by 2020”. Another report from Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora said that it took more than 25 minutes for a red-band gumboot to fully dissolve in the toxic water – over 5 minutes longer than the Government’s benchmark for acidic fresh water lakes. The Minister reiterated that the Government had set clear benchmarks for environmental degradation, and that ECan had repeatedly failed to meet them.

Dr Smith appeared at the news conference with his preferred appointment to run ECan, a GARDENA Classic Oscillating Sprinkler Polo 2500. GARDENA Classic will take over the role, following a Cabinet vote next Monday.

GARDENA Classic, the newly appointed ECan commissioner

Dr Smith said that GARDENA Classic was the obvious choice for the role. “She can spray water over here, she can spray water over there. That means that she takes turns between watering the farmers, and watering the latte-sipping townies. But if the townies keep piping up with these spurious complaints about voting and democracy, I am not afraid to adjust her range, so that she only sprays the farmers.” The Minister also highlighted the new Commissioner’s appeal to the younger generation. “In summer, we can put her down in the garden, and the kids can take turns running backwards and forwards through her. GARDENA Classic is the new, child-friendly face of ECan.”

Murray, a spokesperson for the activist group “Hippies Called Murray”, was disappointed with the appointment. “How can the Government claim to be acting in our best interests, when this is clearly just a stitch-up on behalf of Big Domestic Irrigation. I bet Bunning’s is behind this”, he said, before trailing off into a rant about the TPPA and Monsanto butter beans. When approached for comment, Buzz Babcock of the Confederated Farmers, South Canterbury Branch, gave a brisk “yee-haw!” before jumping through the window of his John Deere tractor and attempting to launch it over the south branch of the  Rangitata River.

Image of one of the new car-parking megastructures planned for Christchurch’s CBD (image source: CRUDE)

In a move that has been welcomed by the frequently ignored property developer class, the Finance Minister is expected to outline plans for a new focus on housing for cars in the Christchurch CBD as he delivers his 7th budget tomorrow. The plan will finally address the dire need for more carparks in the central city, a housing crisis which the government has repeatedly denied was an issue.

While the details have yet to be announced, Rebuilding Christchurch understands that the initiative, known as the Central Road Users and Developers Entity (CRUDE), will be focused on the East Frame. Stage One will see all remaining buildings in the government-owned East Frame demolished and replaced with car parking. Stage Two will involve a state-of-the-art, 4,500-berth facility built for the protection and security of cars. Stage Three of CRUDE will involve the repurposing of “people parks”, such as Latimer Square and the Margaret Mahy Playground, into parks for cars.

After years of being ignored, central city property developers are delighted with CRUDE. “We’re finally being listened to”, says developer Tony Trough. “We’ve been telling the government for years: you can’t have a successful city without cars. Just look at some of the great cities of the world: Los Angeles, Swindon, Los Angeles, Birmingham. They all have spectacular spaghetti junctions. With CRUDE, Christchurch finally has a chance to compete on the world stage.” Trough went on to say that the rights of cars have been ignored in the rebuild. “On any given day, there will be more cars in the CBD than people. Yet what are we doing for those cars? Nothing. They have no voice. Unless you have a late-model European car like I do, which tells you to put your seatbelt on. But apart from that, they’re silent.”

People living in the quake-damaged Eastern suburbs of the city who spoke with Rebuilding Christchurch on the condition of anonymity were supportive of the idea. Shoshanna, not her real name, lives with her 3 daughters, 2 sons, husband, de-facto partner, de facto partner’s ex, de facto partner’s ex’s nephew, de facto partner’s ex’s nephew’s wife and twin daughters, a wolfhound, two cats, a guinea pig and Jason Gunn in a 3-bedroom house in the suburb of Dallington. “After the quake, my whanau had nothing. No water, no power, no place to go. So I just opened the doors and let them all come here. It was a tight fit, so some of us had to sleep in the garage. Of course, that meant that the car had to go out on the street. We just never thought about the car. It’s been out there on the street for the best part of five years now. It can’t go on. So I’m grateful that the government is finally doing something [to house the cars].”

Rebuilding Christchurch understands that CRUDE will be partially funded by a series of toll-gates for pedestrians along the perimeter of the Four Avenues. Developer Trough thinks this is only fair. “For too long, people have just been walking along the streets without paying anything at all. They walk into shops, they walk up to the windows, but they don’t pay for anything. Foot traffic is welcome, but it needs to start paying its way, like real traffic does.” When asked about cyclists, Trough was less charitable. “Everyone knows you can’t ride a bike to go shopping. It’s political correctness gone stark raving mad. There is no place for them in this city.”

Given some of the recent bad publicity about the delays to key anchor projects, the government is very keen to see CRUDE up and running as soon as possible. Stage One is expected to be complete by the time the Finance Minister has finished delivering his speech; construction companies are working double-over-time to have Stage Two completed by Queen’s Birthday, when the Queen herself is expected to open the building by ceremonially driving her Bentley through a cavalcade of homeless people. Stage Three has no concrete completion date, as the repurposing of “people parks” is an ongoing project which the government is looking to roll out across the country.

Hear no evil and speak no evil have left the building … will see no evil be on the way soon? One can only hope. i_smell_bacon_wee_wee

Andy Zaltzman, one half of the fantastic Bugle podcast, was in Christchurch for a gig (and also to watch some World Cup Cricket games). He recorded his end of the podcast from the city, which he described thusly:

“I’m now in Christchurch, New Zealand … [the] city took the wrong end of a nasty bit of plate tectonics four years ago. It’s gradually rebuilding. Thankfully it’s prioritised its cricket ground which is now up and running for a couple of World Cup games this weekend. Building a cricket ground is not necessarily the top of everyone’s priority list post-earthquake, particularly not those who are waiting for arguably more important things to be rebuilt first; for example – their houses. But it shows that this is my kind of town.”

The other half of the Bugle is John Oliver, who has made fun of both John Key and Steven Joyce on his satirical news show, Last Week Tonight. I know National likes to be seen on the international stage, but I’m not sure that being constantly ridiculed for incompetent governance does much to improve our international reputation.

A great, if disturbing, image via felloffasofa:

White Elephant via felloffasofa

Last week, some of the anchor projects – including the stadium – were delayed. The stadium has been pushed out to 2019. That takes it beyond not just the 2014 election, but the 2017. As a political football, it has been kicked for touch. I seriously doubt it will be back in play any time soon.

 

I have a blog about the Hagley Oval saga over at DailyBlog today. I end up on a tangent about strip clubs…

Asked who would fund the strip club, Brownlee shrugged his shoulders, before pointing in the direction of Mayor Bob Parker and saying “him, I guess”. Further pressed to provide an economic plan for the construction of the club, or modeling which would support the numbers of tourists claimed by the CCDU, a clearly tired Brownlee blurted out “look, there will be strippers, ok? Don’t you like strippers? Everyone likes strippers.”

Earthquake Recovery Czar Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the announcement of the latest turning point for Canterbury, saying that it will be a welcome turning point for resilient Cantabrians who have become disorientated by regular pronouncements of turning points. Since the September 2010 quake, and the devastating February 2011 event, politicians have regularly claimed that anniversaries or media events would be a “turning point” for the city. The Share an Idea campaign, the launch of the CCDU Blueprint, the first and second anniversary of the February 22nd quakes have all been cited as turning points. Brownlee is insisting that this will be the final turning point announcement, and public health officials are beginning to observe serious side effects in the stressed-out population, including confusion, disorientation and cynicism, which have attributed to the use of the turning point phrase.

Brownlee has also announced the formation of a special unit within CERA to ascertain exactly which direction Canterbury is now facing. Experts from the University of Canterbury Geology department, as well as surveyors and an intern from Google, have been seconded to the new Departmental Entity for Re-alinging Progress (DERP). They are tasked with mapping out all of the turning points that Canterbury has undergone since 2010. Project leader Dr Rowana Tation says that the Canterbury turning point sequence “is unprecedented on a global scale”. If they are unhappy with the resulting direction, DERP has the power to issue a “step-change” warning. DERP has also announced plans to subject Cantabrians to a 72-hour marathon of Brownlee’s singing, to test the extent of their now-legendary resilience.