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Chris Ford: Good luck Lianne Dalziel!

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

 Good luck Lianne Dalziel! She will need it in her fight to become Mayor of Christchurch.

I don't live in Christchurch but I have many friends who do. They have had to put up with the stressful experience of being earthquake survivors. Like hundreds of thousands of Cantabrians they want their government to democratically manage the rebuild process in partnership with them. Instead, they have had to endure the virtual dictatorship of Gerry Brownlee.

In terms of mayoral leadership, Parker was a good leader during the two emergencies that confronted Christchurch in the wake of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. However, when you need someone to lead a rebuild and listen to the concerns of the local community in the process, Parker isn't that person - he's clearly demonstrated that from what I've read and heard! At one stage, Sideshow Bob almost played into Dictator Brownlee's hands due to the incompetent way that he and then Chief Executive Tony Marriott were running council affairs.

Now that Parker is feeling desperate, he's lashing out at the increasingly (in Christchurch at least) unpopular Brownlee once again. But Brownlee bashing won't be enough to save Parker's arse come election time! Dalziel looks like she could romp home against Sideshow Bob who looks like he's committing political suicide in simply agreeing to stand again.

I have to say that I've met Dalziel in person. I actually interviewed her in 2010 for my Masters thesis, just months before the first earthquake. To me, Dalziel appeared to be a friendly woman but beyond this I sensed a strength and determination to get things done. If she becomes Christchurch's next mayor, I believe that her experience of having served as a Cabinet minister will stand her in good stead, especially when dealing with the bureaucrats at both her own Council and at the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). She is also one of the few members of the Labour team who has actually sparkled, despite David Shearer's demotion of her (along with her friend and Christchurch colleague Ruth Dyson), in her frontbench role as Labour's Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson.

From the impression I formed of her during the brief meeting we had in her parliamentary office in 2010, I think she will do the job that's asked of her by the people of Christchurch - if they elect her that is!

I have no doubt that they will and in record numbers. Parker's time appears to be up. If I were living in Christchurch, I'd be backing Dalziel so that the sideshow of the past six years (and counting) can end! Christchurch deserves better leadership than what it's got now!


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