Action needed on Christchurch flooding: PM

Prime Minister John Key says Christchurch's flooding issues need to be resolved, and it's up to the council to come up with a plan.

Residents in Flockton Basin are demanding action after their homes were flooded this week for the fourth time in just over a month.

Speaking in Christchurch today, Mr Key said the council as lead agency was meant to provide a proposal to the Government on the next steps, but hadn't done so yet.

"It's too long, and the real point here is that we can't act until either the council makes us the lead agency or they provide us with a proposal," he said.

"You can't have hundred-year floods happening every two or three weeks. It's ridiculous and people can't live like that."

Asked whether the council had put enough resources into the issue, Mr Key said he understood they had two or three people working on it.

"It's clearly not enough.

"I understand the pressure is on the council. I'm not blaming them, I'm just simply saying that residents want answers and they're entitled to answers . . . and we want to give them support.

"But every action we take has to be supported by the proper geotechnical advice."

Asked how long the Government would wait before stepping in, Mr Key said he suspected - given the media attention - a proposal would turn up in his office quite soon.

Mr Key said the council's tense relationship with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was not a complicating factor.

"There is always a bit of natural tension and natural arm wrestle.

"Is it perfection? Probably not, but we want to work constructively with Lianne Dalziel the mayor and the council."

Ms Dalziel said today a three-week deadline had been set for a taskforce report on appropriate fixes for flood-hit residents.

She said she could understand residents' frustration, but the Flood Taskforce needed time to report back on temporary fixes.

"They're looking for some answers now," she told newstalk ZB.

"I've asked the officials to bring back that taskforce - the first taskforce report - in three weeks.

"That will tell us what those immediate solutions are."


Kissing the cow's rump

Easy. Stop removing trees.

"The widespread conversion of border-dyke irrigated land and dryland to spray irrigated dairy farming in recent years has resulted in the removal of extensive areas of shelter and shade trees on the Canterbury Plains." (

There needs to be research into this now and, if it is proven to be a cause of increased flooding, then the costs should be recovered from dairy farmers who remove trees from their farms (which not all do). A bit worrying that Key seems to think the answer lies in the city with ratepayers ... but then he's spent most of his time in politics kissing the proverbial cow's rump. Agricultural intensification has long-term environmental costs as well as short-term economic benefits John - who pays for those?



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