Don't hold your breath Christchurch

The elephant in the room called Christchurch has finally been recognised, and it took one of the country's smartest business brains to say it. Jonathan Ling, the head of Fletcher Construction, says in the NZ Herald on Monday morning that "the actual physical rebuild of Christchurch .... (is) on hold until the aftershocks tormenting the city come to an end."

Hallelujah. Someone has finally said it. You can't rebuild in Christchurch until there is some certainty that there won't be more earthquakes.  Even if you rule out ever re-building on land subject to liquefaction, and even if the new buildings are constructed to a higher earthquake standard, there are still issues of insurance and securing of assets. There are also some tricky commercial decisions as well.

Great vision, but what about today?

It looks and sounds wonderful, and if it ever happens no doubt it will be great, but how will we get there? No, this is not the game plan for a sports team to be the best in the world. I am talking about the City Council's latest exercise in creativity.

If you haven't noticed the city has released its 2040 Strategy, and it's wonderful;  a smart green city, people centred, connected, an eco city with a dynamic central core, linked by bike lanes, walking paths, bridges, and with more shops and cafes than it is possible to imagine. (Sitting in shadow in Opera House Lane supping a long black - I don't think so).

Where is Wellington going?

There's a malaise spreading around Wellington. Partly it's the weather, partly the poor performance of our various sports teams, but the underlying issue is that the city is not going anywhere.

We don't have a clear sense of direction any more, and the things that made us good in the 90s aren't delivering us a competitive edge anymore.

We no longer have the dominance we once had a city of culture. We are still strong but Auckland is now contesting in a way it didn't even a few years ago.

We are no longer the events capital - many other cities have good events and while we do the Sevens, WOW, Festival of the Arts, the Fringe and the like well, again, we don't dominate like we did.

Are we excited about the Rugby World Cup?

I might manage a bit of mild interest.  I hope the event is a sporting success, and that we finally win again the trophy which has eluded us for so long. Once in 24 years is not enough for a country that thinks of its All Blacks as always the best team in the world. We need another triumph to substantiate that claim.

But a financial success is another matter entirely. We aren't flocking to the games, but then neither is anyone else. I am certainly not going.

So where do you stand on the Wellywood sign?

The town is awash with debate about the Wellywood sign.  It's becoming a defining political issue. The "progressives", those who support economic development are broadly in favour.  The greenie left are rallying behind the green(ish) mayor against the sign.

Underneath the political dimension there is the creative debate - which is where the issue started until it transformed into a left-right issue. 

Here's to the Gold Awards

Success is always wonderful. Achieving what you set out to achieve brings a deep inner glow of satisfaction. Sharing success is good too, because almost all success is not achieved by one person acting alone. There's always a team involved.

The next best thing after success is being recognised for one's accomplishments, and that's what awards ceremonies are about. On Wednesday night a large crowd was delighted at the achievements of the various winners in the DominionPost Gold Awards, and rejoiced in the words and inspiration that they provided.

Time to stand up to the council on parking

Congratulations to Evelyn Williamson. She the woman who would not surrender and pay a $60 fine for double parking just because she'd been photographed by the city council's spy cam car waiting to turn into a driveway on Customhouse Quay. 

She took her case to court and won. Case dismissed. Good on her!  She would not be bullied or intimidated into paying a fine that she believed that she had been given unjustly. And she was right about that, as the court verdict shows, and she was right to stand up to authority which was trying to push her around. There should be more people like her. I applaud her.

Can Brash do the business for ACT?

Crucial decisions in business and politics can often be framed as a bet. Essentially this is a simple way of condensing all the factors that make up risk into a single question and then answering it either in the affirmative or the negative.

The change of leadership is can be condensed to a single statement. Under Brash ACT has a future; under Hide it did not. And a majority of the five ACT MPs have agreed with that statement. They will now stand or fall by the judgment they have made.

If Hide were to lose Epsom - as the polls indicated he would - then ACT was out of Parliament unless it could get to five percent of the party vote in this year's election. The calculation was that Brash had a better chance of getting ACT to five per cent of the vote than Hide did. 

Celia loses - again

Politics is often defined as the art of the possible, but in a Wellington City Council setting of a mayor and 14 councillors, politics is the art of getting seven other councillors to agree with you.

It is about building a majority. The previous mayor was good at that. This one is not - whatever the merits of her so called different leadership style.

On Wednesday night she was rolled again - at least the third significant defeat since she took office. And this time she had to assist in her own defeat.

The Lotto dream is over

Now that the big lotto prize has been won, life for ordinary New Zealanders can return to normal. The dream is over. All but two people didn't get anything significant out of the $36 million dollar bonus ball jackpot on Saturday night.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming. I had a ticket, and I had worked out pretty much how I was going to spend it. Pay off debts, find a project to do some seriously good in the world (perhaps $10m for that), and a bit of self indulgence - a decent feed of whitebait, and some overseas travel, and put the rest aside for retirement.

Of course there's nothing wrong with dreaming. After all someone had to win this jackpot and it could have been you.