The Auditor-General can see Christchurch people

By Bill Kaye-Blake 21/10/2012

The new report from the Auditor-General on the Christchurch recovery makes for interesting reading. When I got to Figure 1 (pdf), I despaired. It shows all the agencies involved and how they interact, but the people of Christchurch — the reason for the whole thing — are conspicuously absent. It’s like a business plan without customers.

But the case studies! I could kiss them. For each one, they discuss:

  • what happened;
  • the roles and responsibilities of public entities involved;
  • the costs and funding arrangements for the public sector; and
  • the effect on residents.

The effects on residents! The bits about residents are brief, but they are there. They shout out, ‘hey, these decisions are affecting real people!’

The figures for the case studies do the same. The diagrams have people at their centres, and they explicitly recognise the difficult decisions that people face.

I’m most familiar with the TC3 issues, so I focused on that part. The A-G should be applauded for recognising that TC3 creates uncertainties for homeowners – something Cera didn’t seem to appreciate at the time of assigning categories. And so, in figure 14, we see this:

Each of the red sunbursts is a decision, which creates demands on property owners. Demands for information and demands for thinking, worrying, weighing up the options. The warning triangle is also a great addition — the A-G recognises that some decisions affect people but aren’t involving them. They are also holding up the recovery.

Let’s hope that this report is taken seriously and does improve the recovery effort. The A-G has certainly made a good contribution.