Mayor's media presence after quake criticised

8:32 pm on 15 December 2010

A draft civil defence report has criticised the overwhelming media presence of the Christchurch mayor Bob Parker immediately after the 4 September earthquake.

The report, put together by Canterbury Civil Defence group controller Bob Upton and regional Civil Defence manager Jon Mitchell, looked at lessons learnt based on debriefs following the 7.1-magnitude quake.

The draft says the media's focus on Mr Parker tended to distort the true picture of the quake and create an "artificial air of crisis" which made it difficult to later return to normal conditions.

The final copy left out these comments, after the Civil Defence Emergency Management team decided they were of a sensitive nature.

Mr Mitchell says the report was about a more balanced approach might be achieved in future and is comfortable with both reports.

"It doesn't take anything away from the mayor, because he did an exceptional job," he says.

Mr Mitchell says the community also want to see and hear from the senior staff actually co-ordinating the response - alongside elected officials.

The final report says overall, individual agencies responded extremely well, but there were some problems such as communication between local and regional officials.

Mr Parker says the report is unhelpful and insignificant.

He says it was generated by a relatively low-level regional council staff member and undermines all the good work the Christchurch City Council has done.

Mr Mitchell says although Mr Upton works for the regional council - he compiled the report it in his role as Civil Defence group controller.