Why Local Government is important

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By Greg Presland

Our hearts and best wishes go to the people of Christchurch who are obviously struggling with life changing events.  After seeing the photographs and video all that I can say is that I am astounded that as far as I am aware no one has been killed as a direct result of the earthquake.

New Zealand will have to fall behind the rebuilding of Christchurcn and the surrounding areas.  I hope that the Government shows the same amount of largesse and generosity to Cantabrians who may not have insurance as it has shown to wealthy investors of South Canterbury Finance.

For me the weekend’s experience sums up why Local Government is important.

Firstly it must manage and enforce building standards.  Some think that the standards are too high, but after you see the effects of a 7.1 grade earthquake you tend to be very grateful that the standards are set where they are.

Secondly I am impressed by the Civil Defence response.  The impression I get is that the organisation slipped quickly into gear and that basics such as water and sewerage are already being addressed.

Thirdly the earthquake shows how important basic infrastructure such as roads, water supply and sewerage are.  They are expensive to establish and maintain but as soon as something happens to them their absence becomes stark.  I understand that most of Christchurch’s power and water is up and running.  Obviously the priority for the area is to reestablish fully these systems.

If the cheap option had been chosen in any of these areas then the results could have been entirely different.   Cheapest is not best.




  1. Mels Barton says:

    Couldn’t agree more Greg. If these assets were in private hands the people of Christchurch would be expecting their bills for basic services to go through the roof to fund the repairs. Just goes to show public ownership by local government is essential for basic services – roads, water, sewerage. Power to the people of Christchurch, we’re all behind them. Mels

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