Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A new home for the Crusaders!

It’s so good to see the new stadium up and running at Addington, now the new home for the Crusaders and a refurbished home for league as well as being available for football and events.  The stadium was built adjacent to the Westpac Business and Community Hub where we are currently based.  It has been quite incredible watching progress there over the last 100 days - up to 500 people on site at any one time, all working in a well coordinated way, bringing used and new components to the site and at 5.00pm on Friday, 24 hours before kick-off, the entranceways to the grounds were being sealed.  Talk about programming things down to the last minute!

It is good to see the Crusaders and Canterbury now have a new, albeit temporary, home and it is symbolic of the progress starting to be made around the  city.  Everywhere I go now I see signs of repairs and new buildings, and with seismic activity continuing to settle down, I think we will be seeing a lot more insurance activity on the residential front in the very near future.

Managing the pressures that full scale recovery will bring to this economy is going to be quite a trick.  Population volatility, resource constraints and the disruption of the recovery process will all place significant challenges upon us.  However, the way I look at that is that we have got 15-20 years of positive growth locked into this economy as we recoup as much of the $30b worth of insurance cost as we can.  And of course many of us will be making improvements to our houses as we repair them.  We won’t just be replacing our residences on a like-for-like basis.  All of this injects new equity into our community as we march forward.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Terrific Traffic Dynamics

Christchurch motorists have behaved in a  much more considerate way  since 22 Feb 2011.  Rocky roads, blocked off streets and  big changes to traffic  flows now means snarl ups, grid lock and  long queues are common.  I used to think that being stuck in  traffic for two changes of lights was gridlock. Well, that is now normal in  many parts  of town.  A trip that used to  take 10 minutes  can now  take 40 minutes at the wrong time of the day.

The interesting response to all of this  has been one of tolerance, acceptance and consideration.  It is now the norm to let  traffic  join a queue from a side street. Buses are  given right of way when  pulling out of bus stops as a matter of course. We, as  harassed motorists,  are giving constant consideration to our fellow road users including the poor cyclists who now  spend  a lot of their  road  time in mountain  bike  country,.

This new  behaviour is good.

Right now we have about 30 road crews out working across Christchurch on earthquake recovery. As we get seriously in to the  2.5 billion  horizontal infrastructure  (pipes, cables and roads) you can expect to see over 150 road crews working daily across the city. This is going to put further strain on  our transport systems and constantly change traffic flows.   As this  pressure increases the new behavioural patterns  being witnessed today are going to be even more important. The new considerate Christchurch drivers will also make it easier to adopt a defensive driving stance, as we get used to the imminent changes to the intersection road rules.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

ChristChurch Cathedral - A big call and a tough one!

The decision to demolish most of the ChristChurch Cathedral seems to be the right one, given the state of the building and the significant additional damage caused on December 23. It is a big call and a tough one, given how iconic the Cathedral is and what it means to so many in the city and beyond. 

In my opinion it is symbolic of the many big calls being made, and that will have to be made, in the context of our going to new places as we rebuild this city not going back to where we came from.

Dutch Leonard, Professor of Crisis Management at Harvard University stated when in Christchurch before Christmas, that as we rebuild and recreate Christchurch, we must do so in a way that allows us " to ride the great tail winds of our time". That  means doing new and different things, from buildings and businesses right through to how our city is laid out and how our society evolves and operates.

In my (very few) darker moments, I ponder on the fact that it has taken the citizens of Christchurch 40 years to disagree on the design and layout of Cathedral Square and now,somehow, we have to agree on the rebuild of a large part of our city. Big, brave, hard calls will be required and what some will consider to be serious and sad sacrifices will have to made.

The unique strength of our community will get us through these issues, but that same strength sometimes polarizes us and makes progress difficult. That is when inspired leadership has to step up!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The past week has been crazy

When you see my bleary eyes,
It will come as no surprise,
To learn that the past week has been crazy,
An so with brain a little hazy,
Let me via verse hereby recount,
How, day by day, my week did mount.

Monday  was very quake related,
Meetings on shakes were unabated,
And stories that I did relate,
Seemed to fill that Monday great.
They mainly covered what was required,
To get recovery fully fired.

Tuesday was all PEPR and  Salt,
Insurance spice and business revolt,,
Into the wounds the salt did rub,
While PEPR almost against the grain,
Cleared the air despite its name,
As progress for the way ahead,
Began to show the region led.

Wednesday was a welcome relief,
A flight to Wellington without grief,
And then for lunch another flight,
Back to Christchurch, sheer delight,
A Board meeting here I did  attend,
With Gerry for  dinner at the end.

Now the dinner  really was a treat,
As Gerry did assume  his seat,
And things of Governance he did us tell,
It might be clear  not all is well,
But Chatham house rules mean I cannot disclose,
Who is up each others nose!

Thursday  with Joyce did start the  day,
After shock for breakfast caused dismay,
He told us how we all could grow,
And how the Government would show,
The way though its brand new growth agenda,
To opulence, a wealthy splendour.

He did admit there’s work to be done,
And that an Earthquake screwed  our fun,
We told him straight, that we where ready,
To steam ahead, so straight and steady,
And we would  travel on our bender,
To accelerate his growth agenda.

So Friday  fast did roll around,
A day of meetings did abound,
From Russia trade to interviews,
More  intrigue used to fill the news.
And to finish off, a staff hen do.
The week is done and so are you.

“Have a look at for some  good videos of Christchurch”