Today, Dave Cliff was appointed as the new head of CERA, from now until when it is disestablished next year.

Former Canterbury district commander Dave Cliff, who became the face of policing after the Canterbury earthquakes, started his new role last month as head of Cera’s change management office.

Now, I don’t have anything against Cliff. But the appointment itself just shows the remarkable lack of diversity in the government’s appointments to leadership positions in the rebuild. It’s another white, middle-aged man. That’s not Cliff’s fault, but it has got to be beyond a series of improbable coincidences that there have been no women in positions of power. From the top:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister

Gerry Brownlee


Obviously the most important single figure in the rebuild, he’s increasingly concentrated power into himself. You can’t imagine a female minister behaving in the same way, calling heritage buildings “old Dungers”, or calling people “carpers and moaners”. His leadership is fatally masculine, like a grumpy middle-aged bloke who’s taken the car onto a back road, and steadfastly refuses to consult the roadmap that his wife is offering him.


Roger Sutton


Headhunted for the role, he started as the “great white hope”, but ended up leaving under a cloud after claims of inappropriate behaviour.

John Ombler


Respected public servant who wrote the CER act that created CERA, was it’s foundation Chief Executive until Sutton was appointed, then filled the role again after he left.

Dave Cliff



Warwick Isaacs


After playing a key role in the demolition of the CBD, Isaacs was then given the job of heading the CCDU, the Central City Development Unit. He left that job, to run a company that makes franchise houses. This sounds like the plot to a particularly bad boring movie – but I swear it is all true.

Baden Ewart


Ewart was a planner during the emergency response phase, then moved to CERA. He became CCDU deputy director in 2013, and is now the acting head, following Isaacs’ departure.

Don Miskell


Co-leader on the “Blueprint” document that Brownlee commissioned in 100 days, after sitting on the CCC’s plan for 5 months without doing anything. Moved to CCDU in 2013 as a deputy director.


Ian Simpson


The Chief Executive of the EQC, the government department that has a reputation similar to the shit that came out of the ground in the eastern suburbs during liquefaction events. Despite the security breaches, the tens of thousands of complaints, the shoddy workmanship and so on, still maintains the confidence of the Minister.

Reid Stiven


The EQC home repair programme manager, Stiven was “the face of the commission and its Christchurch recovery work.” Left EQC in April.

Again, I don’t have anything against any of these guys personally. But you would think that in almost five years, they government would have appointed at least one woman into one of these roles. I mean, really, they should have appointed 5 women to these roles. And before all the MRA’s descend and tell me it’s about merit, are you legit saying that a woman in any of these roles could have failed any worse than any of these guys?