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Mike Yardley: More iconic Christchurch symbols under threat

Mike Yardley,
Publish Date
Friday, 5 April 2019, 5:22PM
The Cathedral has been in a derelict state since the 2011 quake. (Photo / NZ Herald)

It’s been a particularly horrific week on our roads, with the death toll now standing at twenty-six for the past seven days. A mass-fatality count numbering over half the lives lost in the Christchurch terror attack. But it certainly hasn’t attracted anywhere near half of the news media’s attention or prompted any mass-displays of public outpouring. Twenty-six lives abruptly and needlessly cut short, in just one week. Why are we so accepting, so passive, so indifferent, so switched off to the bloodbath on our roads? Accidents do indeed happen, but the scale of lives snuffed out on our roads is not just a juggernaut of tragedy but a national shame.

Last year, Julie Anne Genter talked about pursuing a zero deaths road safety target. That’s as fanciful and as farcical as ever. In fact, the Minister and her government have not even managed to bend the arc on the road toll. It hasn’t budged, year on year.

Two things stand out for me. The unbelievable stupidity of not wearing your seat belt. Crash data suggest at least a quarter of those who die in road crashes wouldn’t have if they had bothered to make it click. What is so hard about that?

Meanwhile, drug impairment remains a chronic killer behind the wheel, but still this government drags the chain on implementing proper roadside drug testing, as many countries have. It just doesn’t seem to fit with their soft on drugs agenda.

But it would help stop some of the carnage.

Also first up today, not content with taking aim at the Crusaders rugby team, the drippy liberal social reactionaries have lined up another towering Christchurch symbol to attack, to trash and destroy.

Christ Church Cathedral. Sam Neil is leading this puppy. In a quite pompous opinion piece for Stuff the Kiwi actor has belittled the city’s most recognisable landmark as a pale, boring relic of old England and class rule. And he wants it bowled. Even though it’s in the process of being restored. And he wants the Anglican church kicked out of Cathedral Square. Instead, he wants the Square to be home to an interfaith hub, some sort of warm and fuzzy open-house for all religions to gather to worship. The idea is so devoid of reality, I’m struggling to take his flight of fancy seriously.

But I am starting to find these politically correct reactionaries tiresome. They all seem to take some perverse pleasure in taking aim at cultural and spiritual symbols that they find too Anglo-Saxon, too Christian and too colonial. They are attention-seeking cultural revisionists. They care not for our cultural heritage or the foundations of our national story. Where does this purge go next? Do we dismantle Easter or do away with Christmas, because the holiday is overtly Christian and supposedly not inclusive? Just like the pile-on against the Crusaders, demonising Christ Church Cathedral is another misguided caper crassly exploiting a national tragedy to pursue their very woke agenda.

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