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The Press -News column July 2.

Now, who will resign?

The news ricocheted across the city yesterday morning, like a thunderclap. Despite all the soothing tones of reassurance, despite all the varnished rhetoric that the big bad wolf of revocation would be kept from the council door, International Accreditation New Zealand ( IANZ) has walked the talk and blown the house down. The Christchurch City Council has incurred the unique and ignominious distinction of becoming the nation’s first consenting authority, to be stripped of its accreditation. On the day that the IANZ letter, outlining their intention to revoke, was brought to the public’s attention by the Earthquake Recovery Minister, the Christchurch Mayor’s first reflex was to absolve the council of any blame or responsibility. He slammed Gerry Brownlee for launching a “media missile.” And he accused the government of “undermining public confidence in the council.” But what really raised the city’s collective eyebrows, was Bob Parker’s orchestrated attempt to downplay, even trivialise, the gravity of the IANZ letter. Parker characterised the revocation warning as “simply the accreditation folk going through their process.” And of course, he was supremely confident that the council had no cause for concern that its accreditation was in jeopardy. In the wake of such embellished bravado, the political fallout for Bob Parker is thunderous. Just three months out from election day, it’s a hell of a black-eye. But beyond the political ramifications, this is a withering hammerblow to our sense of trust in council. Would you trust them to be straight with you? Late last week, the council’s senior management were trumpeting all of the progress they’d made to ward off and neutralise the compliance concerns IANZ had flagged. But as the council brass back-slapped themselves into believing that all was well in the state of Denmark, Ministers’ Gerry Brownlee and Maurice Williamson were busily deploying contingency plans, just in case the council was duly defrocked. Now that the nightmare scenario has become a reality, we should learn more about those plans on Wednesday. But a show of accountability, would also help clear the head. If I was the manager of a bottle store, and my liquor licence was revoked, I wouldn’t be feeling too smug about my job security. I’d be down the road. So, now that the good ship Christchurch has hit the rocks, stripped of its accreditation for one its most critical functions, who will resign? Tony Marryatt, it is time for you or Peter Mitchell to walk the plank.

The news ricocheted across the city yesterday morning, like a thunderclap.  Despite all the soothing tones of reassurance, despite all the varnished rhetoric that the big bad wolf of revocation would be kept from the council door, International Accreditation New Zealand ( IANZ)  has walked the talk and blown the house down.  The Christchurch City Council has incurred the unique and ignominious distinction of becoming the nation’s first consenting authority, to be stripped of its accreditation.  On the day that the IANZ letter, outlining their intention to revoke, was brought to the public’s attention by the Earthquake Recovery Minister, the Christchurch Mayor’s first reflex was to absolve the council of any blame or responsibility. He slammed Gerry Brownlee for launching a “media missile.” And he accused the government of “undermining public confidence in the council.” But what really raised the city’s collective eyebrows, was Bob Parker’s orchestrated attempt to downplay, even trivialise, the gravity of the IANZ letter. Parker characterised the revocation warning as “simply the accreditation folk going through their process.”  And of course, he was supremely confident that the council had no cause for concern that its accreditation was in jeopardy.  In the wake of such embellished bravado, the political fallout for Bob Parker is thunderous.  Just three months out from election day, it’s a hell of a black-eye.  But beyond the political ramifications, this is a withering hammerblow to our sense of trust in council. Would you trust them to be straight with you? Late last week, the council’s senior management were trumpeting all of the progress they’d  made to ward off and neutralise the compliance concerns IANZ had flagged. But as the council brass back-slapped themselves into believing that all was well in the state of Denmark,  Ministers’ Gerry Brownlee and Maurice Williamson were busily deploying contingency plans, just in case the council was duly defrocked.  Now that the nightmare scenario has become a reality, we should learn more about those plans on Wednesday. But a show of accountability, would also help clear the head. If I was the manager of a bottle store, and my liquor licence was revoked, I wouldn’t be feeling too smug about my job security. I’d be down the road. So, now that the good ship Christchurch has hit the rocks, stripped of its accreditation for one its most critical functions, who will resign? Tony Marryatt, it is time for you or Peter Mitchell to walk the plank.

( First published in The Press newspaper. July 2)

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