Bob and Gerry have a bust-up. But is Gerry Brownlee just looking for an excuse to sack the Christchurch City Council and sell its assets?
In a significant new development Gerry Brownlee has lashed out at loyal political ally, Sideshow Bob.
The Minister of Earthquake Recovery has called Mayor Bob a 'clown'. We've been calling him that for years of course but it looks like Sideshow has even managed to get offside with his good mate.
Brownlee comments have been provoked by Sideshow suggesting that Treasury had indicated that there was scope for the city's rates to be increased or for council assets to be sold to pay for the quake recovery.
He said - and this is the crucial bit - that Brownlee could do this under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) Act.
Sideshow is talking nonsense because, under the Cera Act, the Earthquake Recovery Minister minister is explicitly prohibited from directing council to set rates.
Not surprisingly Brownlee is less than happy with Parker's suggestion and has fired a few salvoes back at Sideshow - who is presently in China.
But this could merely be a convenient smokescreen to conceal the fact that the Cera Act gives the Government the power to force the sale of Christchurch City Council's $2 billion worth of assets. Mayor Bob is right about this.
However Sideshow's stupidity has also invited Brownlee to attack the Christchurch City council itself.
Brownlee told the media that he was 'sick and tired of the scrapping' ' between city councillors
"Dealing with this negative, going-nowhere stuff, I am at the end of my tether and frankly it's not surprising that the ratepayers are either," said Brownlee.
All this incident has done is increase the chances of the entire council being sacked and the commissioners brought in. But the Government will have to withstand a significant public backlash.
By installing commissioners the Government would then be in a position to privatise the council's assets.
Orion Power , Christchurch airport, Port Lyttelton and other council assets would all go on the chopping block to pay for the rebuilding of Christchurch and further entrench the neoliberal agenda.