This is the darkest week in our recent history. A favourite and much-loved city devastated with loss and destruction on an appalling scale. I feel pained and I am sure most Kiwis do. The international community has come to our aid with generous and unconditional support. It seems like the New South Wales Fire rescue were there almost as quickly as our people. It’s heart-warming.
Last week the Independent Police Conduct Authority released its report into the failure by the police to investigate child sex complaints. Is is just me, or is it that every time a significant report is realised by the IPCA they’ve already worked out with the police that the situation was “historical” and “new procedures have been put in place”? If that’s the case, what’s the point of the IPCA? I think that the police are careful and concerned enough to make appropriate changes without a bloated bureaucracy reminding them years later. If that wasn’t enough did you notice that they never even bothered to interview the policeman who was apparently at the centre of the allegations! This is not the first time this has happened – they once told a complainant that they had reviewed all available evidence in the case. Turns out the IPCA hadn’t spoken to one single witness they had been told about. The person concerned left soon after.
But that’s just the beginning. In this week of grief, sadness when even the most cynical will probably be holding fondly the work of our police and other services as they pick through the carnage that is Christchurch, the IPCA open their files: this is the week that they decide it’s a good time to announce that they recommend the police should apologise to Tony Veitch for releasing material to the media. That’s right – our guardians of the police have the most astonishingly bad taste and irrelevant contribution to this dreadful week. Ignore for a moment the rights and wrongs of the Veitch case – that’s not the point here.
This is the week that all those involved in the Maori Party problems, the Limo replacements, welfare reform and other seemingly pressing problems, have been gracious and tactful enough to recognise that this is the time to reflect on our community in Christchurch. And support our boys and girls in blue.
Sometimes the moment is big enough to say that a failure in leadership is fatal. When leadership is so, so out of touch with the community it seeks to serve, it should go. And now.
So let’s show we care for Canterbury. I’m sure most of us do.