When we had our hour of need after the earthquakes we received considerable assistance from other councils. Before central government drove everybody away and took over through agencies like Cera.
I will forever mourn how Roger Sutton was treated by the Wellington brigade.
When Roger “left” CERA was taken over by Wellington completely. This city also had a swarm of individuals selling their wares in every sector. Where there is masses of insurance and government money floating around it attracts a certain type of person. We got them in spades. Dishonest tradies gave normal professional tradespeople a bad name. We had an insurance claim of $172500 to remedy the poor work undertaken by our Irish builder on our replacement house. A man who had arrived with glowing references and photographs of his excellent work.
What we experienced will be happening in various parts of the North Island right now.
However, returning to Christchurch, the rot was not just with the trades. A Court decision by a jury on Friday found two former public servants employees (both on $150K salaries) guilty on corruption charges. The charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
I well remember Gerard Gallagher telling me that I did not understand property development and contemporary economic development, and that they in CERA were there to get this city back on its feet again. Well, here’s what the Press wrote about him and his colleague on Friday:
Former CERA employees Gerard Gallagher and Simon Nikoloff tried to use information obtained through their roles in order to profit from the earthquake rebuild in Ōtautahi/Christchurch.
Serious Fraud Office director Karen Chang said the two men were employed to help Christchurch recover post-earthquakes.
Both were investment facilitators at CERA, tasked with attracting investment to the central city and eliminating barriers for development.
CERA was established to speed up Waitaha/Canterbury’s regeneration and to help streamline Christchurch’s rebuild, which then became Ōtākaro Limited in 2016.
The pair then became involved in finding potential buyers for unused Crown land.
Chang said the pair abused their power, knowing what investors were willing to pay and what future plans were in store for the city rebuild – essentially insider knowledge.
They “attempted to set up private business deals in an effort to profit by hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Chang.
There were many of us who were viewing the rebuild as local residents and whenever we raised any sceptical views about what we saw as aberrant behaviour were told we didn’t understand how the world had changed.
Maybe we did.
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