Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too much information

I am very saddened to read this morning's Press with its front-page headline "Bitter row over cathedral plan." You can read the article online here. The "bitter row" concerns the shutting out of the City Council from a process of descision making regarding the partial demolition of the cathedral to make it safe (i.e. leaving the decision making to the cathedral authorities and CERA, the government mandated super-authority over the post-quake Christchurch situation). It would appear the shut out is precisely because the City Council's documents can be requested under our Official Information Act, so removing the Council from the exchange of letters and documents would appear to stymie attempts to make a sensitive discussion a public discussion.

We do not need "bitter rowing" about the cathedral. We need peace, light and wisdom. I am sure that we will have that if we entrust relevant authorities to have their discussion in private. Inevitably there will be disagreements, to-ing and fro-ing on the best course of action to take place. Headlining mid-discussion where the conversation has got to has all the potential in the world to derail the emerging plan. So part of my sadness is that Brendon Burns, a local MP (Labour), has pursued his right under the OIA to secure the information he has. Brendon is a decent bloke but he has made a number of comments in recent months about Christchurch's heritage which, in my view, are at odds with reality - the reality that most of our old buildings are unaffordable to save. Also at odds with Labour Party policy which these days is stressing the needs of solo mothers and their children. Not sure how we help the poor in our country while pouring millions into saving old buildings!

Meantime, let's pray that the future of the cathedral can be worked out in a timely manner without the intrusive voices of media, local politicians and assorted pundits getting in on the act, fuelled by too much information.

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