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Thursday, July 12, 2012

We are not looking after each other

There have been many fine words about the need to look after each other, however it is clearly not happening.  Those best placed to help aren’t, and many of those who would like to no longer can.

There are problems with EQC and insurance companies causing great distress, however no one who can help is willing to do anything useful. Maybe a working party, review committee, or conference will be offered up, if there is enough noise, but nothing that can make changes. Why? Intervention is inappropriate as it disturbs the theories that govern these things. Why upset organised money if it is only the general public in distress?

The need for affordable housing and accommodation attracts pious sentiments, best wishes, and bogus interpretations of market theory. What is being done, is happening in the splendid isolation of remoteness from the problem and unencumbered with a sense of urgency or sympathy for the needs of now and the short term future.  Theory, slogans, and success-statistics are a good way for politicians, businesses, and bureaucrats to avoid the messy details of personal hardship.

Many of us have, to some extent or other, become hardened to the callousness of the big players in earthquake recovery. Hardened also to the fact that earthquake victims are not just those killed or injured on the 22nd, or suffered property damage.

Occasionally the starkness of how one person has suffered becomes a reminder that not only isn’t it business as usual, it is nowhere near an acceptable new reality either, and those making decisions and issuing directions still don’t value individuals. UK based website Demolition News has picked up on a Northern Outlook article on the distress of a demolition man who helped locate bodies at the CTV building. You can read it here. How many more people like him are around us, suffering their own private isolated hell? Who is looking for them? What corrective market forces does Minister Brownlee or his general manager Roger Sutton anticipate will kick into action?

Maybe it is time for those starting to feel strongly about these things to make an impression on those who could make a difference, but choose not to do so. Not only do they not choose to do so, there is no evidence they put great value on the the problems they are not fixing. Harsh? When was the last time a politician, public servant, or business manager resigned on a matter of conscience?

Check out the WeCan website (here) for some people who are working on making these sorts of points.

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