Posts tagged Christchurch Earthquake

Media writing stories about nothing (well more earthquakes).

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Today the NZ Herald had a headline Quake demolitions anger ex-owners.

In it they quote various sources including John Key, the some ex-quake destroyed house owners, and Labour’s spokesperson for earthquake response, Lianne Dalziel.

The central issue reported is:

The first of the red-zoned homes will begin being destroyed today, with a trial demolition of 11 government-bought properties taking place on Seabreeze Close, Waireka Lane and Kokopu Lane in Bexley .

The properties will be cleared over a four-week period.

And some people aren’t happy with this.  The EX-owners wanted to be told about this (consulted even?, I can’t tell from the story).  Umm, over what? And why?

You got offered compensation, you agreed to it, you got paid it, and then moved out.  Move on, let go.

Sure you can always have an interest in a former home, just like I always check out the house where I was bought up as a kid if I drive past it (it has a new owner now), but I dont expect anyone to CONSULT me over it.

Something we all (well I hope all!) have learnt from the Christchurch quakes is that it’s just STUFF.  What matters is people, and lives.  Sure having ones home destroyed is never nice, but it’s a FORMER home.  Which an EX-Owner has issues with.  This is not the story they make it out to be.

Once again Key shows that he gets the issue, and how most former home owners would react, and was quoted as saying:

…for the most part, I suspect there’ll be many who will have said “it’s been a terrible situation but I’m building myself a new home or I’ve bought a new home, and that’s the Government’s problem not mine’.”

Black and White Version: Media are making a story out of nothing (again).  And Labour are just stirring the hornets nest to try to get a response.  -ve -ve -ve.  Fail for both of you.

Hat Tip: Mr Payne – thanks Mike!

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CCC plan

Christchurch City Council’s Draft Development Plan

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Yesterday the Christchurch City Council released its draft plan for the development of Christchurch post the recent earthquakes.

If you click on the link above you will get an online flip page style book, or if you prefer something you can download, here’s the pdf version of the CCC plan.

Let’s cut to the chase here:

This document ROCKS! (and not in a bad, earthquake way, excuse the unintended pun).  I strongly recommend any Christchurch resident reads it and gives feedback.

IMHO, it’s the right balance of vision (it gives us all something to think/look forward to) with some practical now stuff.

To balance off my praise for the CCC, I give a HUGE brick bat to Gerry Brownlee, who has been the ONLY poor performer out of ALL the agencies and people involved in the earthquake recovery:

  • CCC have done a good job (and a great job on this plan)
  • EQC an average job (too slow, but OK)
  • The Government have done a good job (with a very fair compensation package to red zoners who can’t rebuild).  Key, in particular, has come across as very reasonable and level headed.
  • CERA have done a good job – getting the right CE was probably half of that!

But Browlee has performed poorly.  Why?  Because less than one week prior to announce the compensation packages for homeowners that were not able to rebuild their homes, he arrogantly refused to give ANY idea of when info would come out on it.  Instead of saying I can not confirm an exact date, but we hope to have information out to those effected in a matter of weeks, not months. But no, he just said I know, but I am not telling you, it’s complex. (Note: I have paraphrased here, he didn’t say these exact words)  Can you say Arrogant Prick any louder, Gerry?

But it gets worse; Brownlee was reported as commenting on the CCC plan (link includes a video of Mayor Parker’s presentation)

However, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee called the plan “a pretty big wish list”.

Gee, thanks Gerry, that was constructive! (in case you missed it, that was me being sarcastic).

Contrast this with how Key responded:

Prime Minister John Key is a fan of light rail for earthquake-hit Christchurch but he’s less clear on who should pay for the city’s $2 billion rebuild plan.

To to a degree, both are right, coz they say the same message, but in totally different ways.  There’s a lot not costed in the plan.  The CCC says about half will be paid for by the Council (ie ratepayers) and half by a mix of Government and private investment. So yes, the issue of where the money comes from needs to be answered at some stage.  But notice how Key’s message is  Yes, but … and Gerry says No, unless … even though they have a similar message of who’s gonna pay?.  Gerry you could learn so much from your leader!

Anyway, back to the plan, it rocks, read it and give feedback.

Black and White Version: The CCC have the right mix of vision and practicality in their latest plan.  The challenge will be funding it, but now is the best time to try for things like this.

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Media frenzy

Christchurch earthquake – the media are leeches.

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This post has been a long time coming, and I will cut to the chase.

The way many mainstream media report the Christchurch earthquakes in the hours and days after it is nothing short of sensationalist gutter journalism. IMO, it’s the lowest form of journalism, it’s lazy, manipulative, but above all, extremely damaging to many people at a time where they are already emotionally fragile.

Case and point.  A headline in the Christchurch Press the day after the June 13 6.3/5.5 combo shakes.

Christchurch earthquakes: ‘It’s like being on death row’

What a load of CRAP.  It’s NOTHING like being on death row.  Being on death row means you are going to die, it’s just a matter of when.  Living in Christchurch can sure be stressful, and some might even say dangerous, but it’s not, and never has been, death row (or anything even close to it).

Now the Press will defend themselves by saying We were only reporting what someone said.  Well that, I fear, is bullshit.  Just coz someone said it doesn’t mean you have to report it.  Clearly it was an overreaction by a stressed out person (and I don’t blame them for saying it).  But I do hold accountable the Christchurch Press for reporting it, and worse, making it the headline.  The only reason they reported it is coz it’s sensationalist.  In fact one of the Press Councils 11 Principles is that headlines must accurately and fairly convey the substance or a key element of the report they are designed to cover. This doesn’t, since the story is nothing about death row, and it’s simply a lazy reporter finding the most extreme quote they could, and making a headline about it.

Can you tell I am pissed off?   Coz I am! Why?  Because right now there are many fragile people in Christchurch.  Putting up with aftershock day after day, and major shocks every month or two that results in sewerage entering your house, and 2 weeks of cleaning up water from your carpet can be demoralising.  Just when things seam to be on track to get some normality back, a quake sets things back six months.  Not to mention picking up smashed glasses for the 4th time isn’t many people’s idea of fun.  The media have an obligation to think of these people before reporting such drivel.

The same article goes on to report:

Dominion Post columnist Jane Bowron was at the airport when the first quake struck, and said there was mass panic as people ran for safety. “The whole place started rocking – it seemed to go on for a very long time.”

Let’s dissect that quote a little: People ran for safety and she calls that mass panic. Maybe it was because the reporter was from Wellington, and hadn’t been around many quakes, but I think running for safety is a GREAT idea during a major earthquake (as long as it means running away from things that might fall on you, for example).  I’d like to see her calmly walk towards the exit next time one hits.  Get real – people ran, so what?  Get over it, and stop reporting SENSATIONALIST CRAP!

TV isn’t any better though.  I was away the day of this series of quakes, and saw some late night news coverage.  A reporter found a crying women and ask her how she was (kinda like a set up isn’t it?).  The women replied she was worried about the children that were with her.  The reporter must have though they had hit the jackpot – crying women over missing children – WOW have I got something to report now!   So the reporter asks ‘Where are they’ to which the women replies ‘They are over there, they are fine, I just worry about them.’ Gee, now that’s good NON NEWS: Women found crying over children that are fine (print that headline!)  Oh wait, there was a WOMEN CRYING, that’s the news story – let’s report that. Let’s show that soft emotional impact. CRAP CRAP CRAP I say.  Lazy manipulative journalism.

So here’s my advice to the media: Next time (and I hope there isn’t one) there is a major quake in Christchurch how about doing something useful.  Report on some stats, report on any USEFUL information that people in Christchurch could use (like the radio station Newstalk ZB did for ages after the September 201 quake) and avoid at all costs any manipulation of headlines or using crying people to manipulate stories so people read/watch them.  Actually the media CAN do this, coz they do already – an example is here of what Stuff (the owners of the Press) did for post June 13. Editors need to start saying no to sensationalist manipulative crap.

Black and White Version: Finding sensationalist headlines during natural disasters is easy.  Being a proper journalist is harder.  Time the media tried more of the latter.

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Misleading Press, and scaremongering Labour MP

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Today the Christchurch Press reported Chch door open for asset sales, and quoted ChCh Central Labour MP was today on National Radio saying that the ‘sale of assets must be stopped’. The Press reported:

A legal loophole means city ratepayers’ stakes in Christchurch City Holdings Ltd’s (CCHL) assets – including electricity company Orion New Zealand, Christchurch International Airport Ltd, Lyttelton Port Co, Red Bus and City Care – could be sold to help pay for the estimated more than $20b rebuild of the central business district.

Well it’s all just rubbish. Here’s what wrong with this story:

  • The headline is misleading.  This is no open door.  The door was never closed.   There is also no loophole. The Council can, if it chooses, sell any asset it owns, and has always been able to do this.  There is no new provision that the CERA act creates that didn’t already exist.
  • Labour are trying to make a story put of this by trying to ‘block CERA from forcing sales’, yet the Minister for Earthquake Recovery (Gerry Browlee) is VERY clear that it’s a CCC decision, not CERA.   Mayor Parker (both Browlee and Parker were also interviewed on National Radio this morning) agrees and says the Council aren’t even considering this, and if they did it would be done with full community consultation.
  • The Government and the Council are both clear on their roles here.  Only a Labour MP (and the ChCh press) seam to think there is an issue.

The Press should know better that running such a misleading headline (that or just being stupid and falling for the spin from an MP).

While it’s not my intention to make this post about the merits or otherwise of selling such assets (my gut reaction would say keep em), it was interesting to note that the CCC has $2 billion in assets, that reportedly returned $600 million over the last 10 years.  So that’s $60 million a year, or a return of 3% (that’s simplistic, since I have assumed the asset’s value was $2 billion throughout the last 10 years, and its very likely that the assets have increased in value over the period).   Based on that I might suggest that at the very least this issue is looked at and the question of are they a good investment?, earthquake or not, is asked.  The problem with ideological approaches of don’t sell or always sell is that such questions aren’t asked.  IMHO, asking that question would be a far more interesting and valuable story.

Black and White Version: Just coz an MP says it’s true, doesn’t make it so.  Media need to do their job and RESEARCH before printing misleading headlines.

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rock hits house

My take on Ken Ring, John Campbell, tax increases, portaloos and all things earthquake

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There sure is a lot to blog on right now.  So here is my cut to the chase, black and white take on lots of news of late

Richard’s black and white take on recent (earthquake) events:

  • Ken Ring is wrong on earthquakes. He doesn’t know shit about the topic.  He can’t predict earthquakes.
  • Ken ring is quite good on weather prediction.
  • To see more about both people really should READ Ken Ring’s web page (and read more than one paragraph!).  See how Ring predicts a large earthquake around March 20th in the Culverdon and Amberly region (not Christchurch).  See also how he predicts a major earthquake every week.
  • John Campbell showed poor judgment when interviewing Ring (but he has apologised for it the next day).
  • The whole discussion on tax increase to pay for the earthquake recovery (by politicians and the media) is premature and distasteful – now is not the time.  DPF on KiwiBlog says this so much better!
  • I find it interesting that people in Aranui Christchurch think they aren’t getting looked after coz they are in a poor suburb.   They are wrong.  Rich suburbs get the same treatment too.   I live in Sumner (one of the hardest hit suburbs).  I didn’t get power for a week (in the last 15% of the city to get it), I still have no water or sewerage, there are no portaloos on my street (in fact none for a km), and I haven’t seen a Red Cross, Council worker, or civil defense person yet.  But I am OK with that.  They are doing what they can.  I can drive to a mate’s for a shower, candles and torches worked well for light. I could go on ….
  • Things like power, showers, and running water are very easy to take for granted.
  • Lost pets are one of the untold stories of this earthquake.  Cats (and dogs, when fences fall down) run away.
  • The best before and after pics on the earthquake are here

Oh, and here is the BEST story about the earthquake so far. A TradeMe auction of a rock (that hit someone’s house – image top right).  The Q&A are priceless!

Question: This is a serious question . . . what was Rocky’s previous job, before he became a Landscape Feature? athena2 (390 )  4:56 pm, Mon 28 Feb
Answer: He was a top rock star of course :-) 5:26 pm, Mon 28 Feb
Answer: Seller Comment: FACTS ABOUT ROCKY: Fav drink: Martini (shaken not stirred), Fav cafe, Hark Rock (anywhere), Fav band: Rolling Stones, Fav actor: Sylvester Stallone, Fav actress: Sharon Stone, Fav colour: Slate, Fav pastime: Moving houses, Fav movie: Romancing the stone, Fav TV programme: The Flintstones, Fav pastime: Hangin in my house, Fav song: Eye of the tiger by survivor, Fav ice cream: Rocky road…. 9:15 am, Tue 1 Mar
Question: I have a few questions about the rock (not the radio station). does it come with a water feature? does it come with free delivery? and one very important question: are you all ok? chubs41 (42 )  8:26 pm, Tue 1 Mar


Answer: 1. yes: my mains line that he went through, 2. nope – he is roll on roll off, 3. yep we are all okay thanks very much 8:38 am, Wed 2

Black and White Version: This Ken Ring is a nutter, John Campbell was rude, clean up is taking a while, but a great job is being done.

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kia kaha

Christchurch Earthquake – what can I do?

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Quite a few people have commented to me and my friends saying I wish I could do more, or What can I do?

Well it you live outside Christchurch here are some ideas:

  • If you can afford it, give money.  Don’t sent stuff.    We have water, we have clothes, we have food.  If people are in need, they need money (and stuff requires massive co-ordination, especially if it’s perishable)
  • Best place to send money is via Christchurch Earthquake Appeal or if you want to do it via your mobile phone in NZ, text QUAKE to 4419 for a $3 donation.  This is one of those times you don’t need to ask the owner of the phone before sending the text <grin>
  • If you can’t afford money, then send your wishes to people you know – but don’t ask for replies (unless they are close family).  Just text, or email or FB message saying Thinking of you or something similar.  It means a lot to so many.
  • Avoid calling unless it’s urgent.  Not only does it tie up the phone network, but people are busy sorting stuff out – homes or work, and sometimes don’t have time to chat.
  • If your friends in Christchurch call you then ignore the above comment.  They do have time to chat then!
  • If you can, offer beds, showers, whatever you can for friends from Christchurch – many want to escape
  • Change your FaceBook status, but know it doesn’t do anything.  If it makes you feel better, go for it, but know it’s more about you, not us (just like those silly posts about Post this is if you know someone with cancer… doesn’t help anyone with cancer – donating money for research does though).
  • Better than a Facebook update, is a personal message to friends or family in Christchurch, either to their wall, or a private message (my preference).  Say something real and personal.
  • Remember that stuff is just that.   PEOPLE are what matters. Some people have lost friends, family, and almost every knows someone that has (or at the very least knows of someone).  Be sensitive.
  • Avoid posting random crap on FaceBook about not rebuilding Christchurch, or how it’s now unsafe.  That may be your opinion, but keep it to yourself for now.  Some people are very fragile, so just keep off those kinda topics for now
  • Remember everyone reacts differently to these kinda of situations.  Some will be calm, some will be frustrated, some will be an emotional wreck, and others will be angry.  Some will use humour.  These are all normal.   Accept it.

PS: All donations in NZ over $5 are tax deductible.

Black and White Version: If you want to do something for people of Christchurch there are many ways, and not all of them involve money.

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random thoughts

Christchurch earthquake – 5 days on – the small stuff

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I have been living without power or water in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner for 5 days now.  As I said in my earlier post on the quake, I am fine, but I have some thoughts to share from the experience thus far.

In no particular order:

  • Christchurch West and East are like two different cities: In the west quite normal (supermarkets and petrol stations all go, I even saw a cafe with people in it).  In the east not so (no power or water; basics is the name of the game here).
  • A dishwasher is a great place to dry dishes when you run out of bench space
  • Sumner is like a ghost town: I figure less than 20% of residents are left at the moment
  • This is gonna take AGES to fix – so much destruction
  • I think Ferry road was the worst hit road (not saying buildings, I mean the actual road surface)
  • Some people drive too fast, but most people drive WAY too slow when traveling around.  20km/h is annoying (and yes, they are rubber necking looking at damage and taking photos from their cars)
  • The sense of comradeship is amazing.  From people being polite to one-another to neighbours checking in to see everyone is OK, to mates offering showers, rooms, food to their friends (and strangers) on FaceBook.  Since I have power via a generator, I have thrown an extension cord over the fence for the neighbour – like me, they have a dog, so leaving isn’t that easy, and a fridge and freezer needs power! (Again like me, they have gas for cooking, and it’s summer, so heating isn’t an issue either).  I figure it is the least I can do.  They keep offering me water, and food and even bones for my dog.  I am well stocked already though.
  • Everyone copes with this in different ways; I remember seeing people crying outside the gym just after it happened – they were unhurt, but that was their way of coping I guess.  Some cope by escaping.   I think I cope by trying to do normal things – like walking the dog, or putting the rubbish out.  Oh I also seem to cope by shopping (mind you I have so much broken stuff, I need to shop!).  Yep, that’s me!
  • Lots of people in Christchurch are drinking their best wine.
  • It’s surprising the number of people who say I am out of here, and don’t plan to live in Christchurch again.
  • Every now and again I feel guilty when I am sitting down and not fixing something or doing something (a new feeling)
  • I want to go to the gym soon.
  • Having a shower is one of life’s simple pleasures.  When you haven’t had one for a day (or more), having one makes me feel human again
  • Seeing portaloos dropped of by the dozen around your suburb means (1) I’ll have somewhere to go and (2) it’s gonna be a while b4 sewerage is back on
  • I never realised how much water washing dishes takes (you notice it when you have bottled water from the supermarket as your only water!)

I have said it before, but I will say it again.  Broken STUFF doesn’t matter.  People do.

Stay safe, tell those you care for that you do.

Stay safe, tell those you care for that you do.  Kia kaha Christchurch.

Black and White Version: Life isn’t returning to normal very quickly, but I am trying to speed it up a tad where I can.

PS: Big thanks to Glen T for proofreading this.  You are a star!




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Christchurch Earthquake – part II

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As most will now know, Christchurch (my home town) had a major earth quake on Tuesday 22nd February 2011.

There are many great resources on the net, and I don’t intend to duplicate them, just tell my story.

(Aside: More typos than usual in this post I am sure.  I just wanted to get it out there while I had the generator running.)

In case you are after more info here’s some great resource sites:

  • GeoNet (shows quakes history, location, size etc)
  • Canterbury Earthquake (up to date info for locals)  Everything from water, to petrol station info, to updates on repairs.
  • For Government Welfare/grants: Call 0800 77-99-97

There is also plenty of good news coverage:

Anyway, what’s my story?

First and foremost, I am safe.  My family is safe, my pets are even safe. Both my house, and where I work is very close to the epicenter of this quake.  I live in Sumner, which was hit very hard.  But luckily I live on a hill made out of rock, and a house made out of metal (yep I said metal, that’s what the walls are made of).  So, while I had almost every glass, plate and bowl I own smashed, and motorbikes tipped over, and garage shelves emptied onto the floor, the house is fine, nothing structural that I can tell.  No cracks even.

Still no power (although fixed that with a diesel generator), still no water through the taps (bottled water does the trick for now), so life is far from normal.  Driving a trip to get something like food or petrol takes me 3 hours round trip (normally would be 15 min).  Partly coz I need to go further (nothing on my side of town open yet), but mainly coz of major traffic jams, as so many roads are closed.

Work is a different story.  Will be a MAJOR mess.  Busted fish tank, computers everywhere (smashed) but looks like everything that is vital is still OK, and we hope to be back in their Monday, and back up and running (even if it is remotely) some time next week.  Lucky we have UPS back ups for things like the alarm and other essential services.  That will last a few more days, and power is expected on tonight.

What’s clear to many that survive the quake along with their friends and family is that despite all the busted homes and work places, it’s just stuff.  I say that with all my heart.  I lost 100+ bottles of wine – so what? I will buy some more.  I lost dozens of glasses and plates – big deal, Briscoes has them on sale next week I am sure.  My bike fell on the ground and needs a new indicator – so what?, it’s called order a new one. All that matters at a time like this is that me, my family, my friends, (and yes, my pets too), are safe.  Everything else is just stuff.   I am not going to pretend I know what it’s like to lose a close family member or friend from an earthquake – coz I didn’t lose any.  But I do know I am lucky, and my family and friends were too.

I will share one last thing with you – where I was when the quake hit.  I was at the gym.

Just got out of the shower, walking in my towel towards the locker area.  I was thrown from side to side in the corridor (it hit REAL quick, so no build up warning), and then I remember thinking “oh fuck this is big” and then saw the ceiling beginning to split way from the wall above me.  I ran for the locker and I remember thinking my sense of self preservation and my sense of modesty were fighting each other (remember I was naked other than a towel).  By now the 1st wave of the quake had stopped, and the building was standing, so a quick decision was to put on trousers and then leave REAL QUICK.  So I did that – threw all my stuff in my gym bag, and grabbed my shoes and socks and ran for the door.

But the escape from the gym by road was just as unnerving.  As we (me and a friend from the gym, he was driving) drove away from the gym the road turned to a river real quick (a river of sewerage, we could smell it!).  Cars dived headfirst into newly created pot holes that swallowed the front of the car.  Anyone in the car scrambled to get out.  I figured they were doing us a service, as anyone behind them now knew to drive around.  We go over this quickly when the car in front dived forward and was trapped.  We went 90 degrees, and drive though the local supermarkets garden (thanks Countdown!) and went for high ground.  By now the river was almost a foot deep, and only a few cm below the doors of many cars.  After 30 or so minutes we found an escape, and after grouping together 3 other cars, we went in convoy to try to get back towards town (in our case towards Opawa – only 1km up the road).  That took us some 30 minutes as 75% of the roads were impassable due to similar issues – sewerage flowing across the road, and massive potholes (and the two put together means we couldn’t see the potholes!).  Anyway, made it back to work to see the damage, which was severe, and then spent the next 4 hours TRYING to get home.  Didn’t work, since all roads to my place closed.  Picked up (well, almost rescued, since his place was demolished) another friend, and went to his mates place.  The rest is history.

I do also want to say, it very clear the Richter scale doesn’t work.  This 6.3 did WAY more damage and far more violent that the 7.1, and it wasn’t just coz it was closer. It was shallower, and hit areas that rebounded off low bedrock.  Anyway – my new earthquake scale I invented a few months back worked much better.  Most agreed it was a very clear FUCK ZONE around most of Christchurch that day! (read the post if that doesn’t make sense).

Black and White Version: I am fine, so are my family, friends and pets.  Lots of stuff broken.  But it’s only stuff.

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