Cera ‘lacking in transparency’

The Press in an article by journalist Paul Gorman says:

“The efforts of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority have largely impressed an independent panel, though the authority has been slammed for its lack of transparency.

“After the less-than-satisfactory report the Future Canterbury Network handed the Christchurch City Council late last week, the panel issued its judgment on Cera at midnight last night.

“The panel of six concluded that the authority had surpassed “reasonable expectations” in seven of nine categories, with its “shared recovery vision for the future” exceeding expectations with a mark of 3.29 out of 4.0.

“Cera received a thumbs-up for leadership, aspirational strategy, governance, community engagement, informed regulation and infrastructure management.

‘The assessors believe Cera has done an excellent job in the delivery of a number of its statutory obligations and that Canterbury people can take comfort from the progress which has been made and the evident huge commitment of the staff of the organisation.’

“However, the authority’s planning was deemed a “work in progress”, scoring only 1.25.

‘While the planning process has commenced, and a delivery date is noted, no information was available to identify whether expected progress had been made in each of the planning areas identified,’ the report said.

“The panel was scathing about the lack of help it had received from Cera in carrying out the review.

‘Unfortunately, other aspects of the evaluation were frustrated by the decision of Cera not to engage effectively with the evaluation process.

‘This left the assessors with no option but to assign a rating result which reflected a lack of transparency and relevant information from Cera.”

“Last month the authority rebuffed the group’s request for information, with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee calling the review a waste of time.

‘From memory, what that outfit wanted to do was set up some sort of a tick-box thing and to have Cera people running round filling out forms. That’s not recovery; that’s just time-wasting,’ Brownlee said then. ‘Quite often, the hand-wringing talkers just get in the road of recovery, and I think this group falls in that category, sadly, even though I think there’s some very capable people involved.’

“Cera was asked again for input by the panel last week but did not reply. Asked yesterday to comment on the review, a spokeswoman for the authority said she did not think it had received a copy.

“She said chief executive Roger Sutton was out of cellphone range and would be unable to comment until this morning.

“Last week the panel said poor leadership and a lack of long-term vision at the city council could jeopardise the city’s recovery.

“The council’s performance was judged as less than reasonable in seven of the nine categories, prompting Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker to call that report a ‘hatchet job’.”

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