Wednesday, February 02, 2005


It appears the City Council is still doing its upgrade work on its wastewater plant. To be precise they appear to be relining one of the large settling ponds. For the past three or four days the miasma of poo has been hanging round the city like a ....ummm .... well like a bad smell. It's just been bad luck that we've had northeasterly sea breezes the whole week so everyone east of Bromley (90% of the city) have had to put up with the pong. And people complained about smoking in bars!! I'd give take that over this any day.

Other happenings.

The Pope was taken to hospital with the flu today. It's nervous time for the Catholics I guess. The best line I heard on it today was a news contact who said it's not a case of impending mortality for the Pontiff, more like a recall to head office.

The District Health Board is a step to axing most of its remaining community midwives (about a dozen of them) and handing the work over to the independents. Burwood and Christchurch Women's Hospitals are affected. It claims the service is under utilised and in deficit to the tune of 140 thousand dollars. The DHB has five years to cut 40 million dollars from its budget and is taking the line if it's costing them money and someone else can provide the same service then there's no point in retaining it. Opponents of the move (Royal College of Midwives, Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, and a fair few independent midwives) say the only reason the midwifery service is losing money is because the DHB doesn't promote it. They're also adamant independent midwives won't be able to pick up the extra patients available if the service is disestablished. So far the DHB is likely to keep four midwives at Rangiora Hospital and has committed to keeping all its birthing units at all three hospitals. The full board will make a decision next Friday. I'll be very surprised if the DHB changes its plans on this one.

Finally the Christchurch City Council looks like ignoring the spirit of the Local Government Act. That's the one that encourages more openness and community involvement in local government ... you may have heard of it. It's floated the idea to at least one news agency that I know of that all future requests for information will incur a 25 dollar charge per half hour. This includes Official Information Act requests AND general calls made to check information. Now it's possible they may have been a little miffed at getting a lot of requests for information over the last year or so, some of which portrayed them in a less than flattering light (eg the huge golden handshake they had to pay to a former city manager, a bitter restructuring of senior management, a string or personal grievance cases, 300 thousand dollar bills to external lawyers and HR firms, etc, etc) and they're getting a little of their own back. Personally I think they're being a bit petty about the whole thing. Granted answering some of the requests may take some time, but isn't that what they pay their communications team for? Perhaps some of these $50,000 pa press release writers should do what they're paid for and communicate.

No comments: