Posts tagged Christchurch

Media writing stories about nothing (well more earthquakes).


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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Misleading Press, and scaremongering Labour MP


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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i love chch

I live in Christchurch and love it!


I have said this personally to people many time in the last month or two, but wanted to states it here really clearly:

I live in Christchurch, and while having two major earthquakes in six months sucks, I love the city, think it has a great future ahead of it, and I personally have no intention of moving.

Sure, having no running water for a few weeks was annoying, and having no power wasn’t much fun (although candles makes it kinda fun), and the roads from home to work are like driving a slalom course – but this is all short term stuff.  We now have water*, power, and sewage (at least 95% of the city does), and roads get better every day.

* The water is even drinkable now! Sure, it tastes like Auckland water (aka is sucks), but at least we don’t have to boil it anymore.  Give it six months and it will tastes like ChCh water used to (i.e. it wont taste at all).

The council, and civil defense and central government are doing an AWESOME job of getting things back to normal, and I see so much potential for Christchurch, so I am here for the long haul.

That is all.

Black and White Version: Christchurch ROCKS!

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rock hits house

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


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?


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


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


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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A recap of the (non) news of the week


There is certain lot’s of non news this week.  And another story that has a limited news-worthiness (is that a word?) that’s the lead on WAY to many media’s pages.

Here is the summary:

But the biggie for overplayed news story of the day goes to this:

  • Some guy called William is getting engaged.  OK it is news coz he’s the Prince of something, 2nd in line to something else (the British thrown they say) but being the lead story is WAY overplaying its importance (slow news anyone?).  But what’s really bad is  doing stupid stories like this saying Local Couple Delighted is just a waste of my screen space.  They could do a story about a local blogger bored with lack of journalistic stories, as that would be true too, but I fear this won’t happen soon.

Black and White Version: Nothing to see here, move on.  Oh, wait Prince William got engaged, not a biggie I know, but yeah, slow (news) blogging day for me.

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Click on image for larger version

New earthquake scale to replace richter in Christchurch


One of the side effects of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch (over 1,000 aftershocks, and at several dozen biggies) that all us Christchurch locals are becoming pseudo self appointed experts on earthquakes.

The problem is however that the more quakes we get, the more it’s apparent the Richter scale is just not cutting it.   The best example was the most recent biggie this morning, which resulted in more FaceBook posts than anything other than the main 7.1 on September 4, but yet only got a 5 on the Richter scale.  However as reported, there was quite some damage, and people got hurt, and it certainly had MAJOR shaking (walls moves 20-30cm) around Christchurch, and power went out.

Even the alternative scale that GeoNet offers (using the MMI scale) doesn’t really cut it for me, coz what I have noticed is, rather obviously, different people respond differently to the same quake, based on a whole range of factors (how far away they are from it, shallow quakes = more violent etc).  So for example, I know the big 7.1 quake didn’t do anything to my office, but a 4.1 knocked stuff of my desk and walls (coz it was so close), so it’s kinda messed up.

So, in an effort to help make the world a bit more black and white (the name of the game for this blog remember?) I have invented a new scale, and with it an all new table.


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Close Up

Don’t vote for Jim, and here’s why (he breaks the law)


True to form, this post is VERY Black and White.

I now have proof that Jim Anderton, Christchurch Mayoral Candidate, is breaking the election rules, and all over the place.  And while some may think the rules around advertising and signage and advertising are trivial, Jim has been playing the political game for over 40 years now – he knows the rules and is knowingly breaking them.  (As an aside, he was one of those that supported the draconian measures introduced by the Labour Government – the Electoral Finance Act 2007).   I even found (quite easily) that Jim’s party has broken the rules on this before.

Anyway, here’s the details:


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