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Anarchy to the rescue in Chch

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, March 3rd, 2011 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, disaster - Tags: ,

David Farrar thinks it’s ‘ghastly’ to discuss how to pay for rebuilding Christchurch, since the obvious answer is by reversing the tax cuts rich people like him have pocketed. Well, I think how the poor eastern suburbs of Christchurch have been forgotten is ghastly. Fortunately, communities are organising themselves, without government.

Poorest Communities Desperate after Christchurch Earthquake – Beyond Resistance

Desperate and unsettling stories are emerging in the poorest communities of Christchurch. Residents of the Eastern suburbs, especially Avonside, are still without water, and contact with state aid services has been zero. Housing New Zealand residents — neglected after the September 4th earthquake — are once again angry at the lack of help in their blocks, and are struggling to get through.

Members of Beyond Resistance and the strong community centred around Gilby Street have been door knocking and distributing food in the wider Avonside community. Using cars, bikes or on foot, they have managed to take prepared food and water out to those in need. Often they are the first contact with the outside world for Christchurch East residents, and their efforts have been very appreciated. Bottled water, soup, vegetables and gas canisters for cookers have been the main items of need.

However efforts to get these basic needs out to neglected residents are being hindered by bureaucracy and heavy-handed policing. On more than one occasion, Allister from Beyond Resistance has been profiled and stopped by Australian Police patrolling the area, while motorists and sight-seers snapping photos drive pass unchecked. Stockpiles of food and water controlled by the Salvation Army would not be released to the Gilby Street community, even after repeated explanations that such food and water are desperately needed in the greater Avonside area and would be distributed by them.

In a clear exposition of the illogical system we live in, the local Stanmore Road supermarket is closed and protected by security — despite being full of food and supplies. Earlier in the week a man was beaten at the same supermarket by security for trying to access food and smokes. He had no money, and no power to access food stamps or support funds.

The immediate redirection of aid and supplies are needed in the suburb of Christchurch East. Food and water needs to be made available free of charge and to anyone who needs it, regardless of membership in an aid organisation. Now is not the time to profit from the sales of food and water (not that there ever is an ok time for such exploitation). The free movement of residents and their supporters is essential in the aid effort, and should not be hindered by out-of-town Police positioned to protect property rather than people.

Update:

Just a quick update.

The Super Market mentioned was New World in Richmond, further up Stanmore Rd. I actually witnessed the same type of incident a week earlier, before the quake at the Stanmore Super Value over a box of tea bags and cask of wine.

The New World is still open. The Super Value is not, but it’s guarded and full of food. I bought bread and newspaper there seconds before the quake hit.

Also the Starvation Army were more receptive today and we were able to fill our station wagon full of bottled water which went straight to people in Avonside.

The kitchen has been feeding members of our own hood, plus others, daily and preparing food to distribute. Doing two water drops a day.

Things that are in most need are water (obviously}, gas cookers/gas, food, porta loos are in great demand (some peeps in Avonside can’t dig long drops as the water table is only a spade or two depths under the surface. These items are mostly impossible to get locally so having to rely on peeps bring them in. Which is sporadic.

Roads are real congested, so having to work our way out. Roads are either fully congested or impassable. Have a dude from Kaiapo in a 4×4 bringing about 250L in everyday. He and I are doing regular drops in certain areas, building relationships as we go.

Edith, and the Gilby st crew are working daily preparing food, digging toilets for people unable to, plus many other things.

We are sourcing food from gardens and anywhere we can get it. Heaps of meat being eaten at the gilby st kitchen as at times, with freezers out of action, it has to be eaten or it goes off.

Sorry would write more but need to get some sleep.

Al.

 

It’s useful for some to remember that anarchy doesn’t mean ‘chaos’ it means ‘without government’. The Christchurch anarchists are showing the will and organisation to help keep their communities going while the resources of the government appear focused elsewhere.

62 comments on “Anarchy to the rescue in Chch ”

  1. Bright Red 1

    I see Brownlee is now admitting the eastern suburbs have been “neglected”.

    Well done to the people doing the work on the ground in those communities.

    And well done to the blogosphere for getting their story out when the msm was ignoring it. Hopefully, we’ll see some change now.

  2. Bright Red 2

    and I see Brownlee is causing more harm than good already:

    ” A historic Christchurch church has been demolished without the consent of the owners or Civil Defence officials, in breach of emergency regulations.

    News of the demolition follows Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee’s statement that the Government would push through the demolition of old buildings with “any damage at all”.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4725630/Christchurch-church-torn-down-without-consent

    of course, Brownlee can just pass a retrospective order in council validating this illegal demolition, thanks to CERRA.

  3. Foolsgold 3

    Guys, guys don’t worry the invisible hand of the market will take care of it all. Don’t worry.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      It’s true, it will take care of it all. In some way or another.

      We just might prefer that the outcome was somewhat different than what the market will deliver.

      captcha: balances

  4. Lanthanide 4

    “It’s useful for some to remember that anarchy doesn’t mean ‘chaos’ it means ‘without government’. The Christchurch anarchists are showing the will and organisation to help keep their communities going while the resources of the government appear focused elsewhere.”

    Bit of a contradiction. By looking after their local community, they are in effect acting as government.

    Anarchy might therefore mean “no centralised national government”, or perhaps “no government bigger than a local community”. Frankly that doesn’t really work – you need large government to organise things like road networks and power networks and regulate the economy on a large scale.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      the idea is that you still have governance but no ‘government’ in the sense of a permanent, separate ruling institution – governance is by and of the people in an anarchist system with no long-term office-holders, just rotating figurehead/organiser roles.

      Of course, it doesn’t work on any large or long-term basis because institutions naturally form and, indeed, are necessary. But the concept that the state becomes a self-perpetuating organism with interests that may not always be the same as the society it is meant to serve is correct.

      And anarchic organisation (contrary to perception, anarachists are all about organising) is best for small groups responding to fluid situations.

      captcha – connect

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        Thanks for the clarification, that makes more sense.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.2

        And anarchic organisation (contrary to perception, anarachists are all about organising) is best for small groups responding to fluid situations.

        Something military special forces units know full well.

      • anarcho 4.1.3

        “Of course, it doesn’t work on any large or long-term basis because institutions naturally form and, indeed, are necessary.”

        Total bollocks.

        Dive into some Spanish and Ukrainian history for long term anarchist organisations.

      • Bill 4.1.4

        BR. What’s wrong with an institution naturally forming ( your claim) if the form and governance of the institution is non-heirarchical and substantively democratic? That would be anarchist in nature, no? And self perpetuating institutions ( your claim) that are anarchist in nature would obviously work over the long term…being self perpetuating and all that. As for scale. Well different scales present different problems no matter the form of organisation. And anarchist forms of organisation can translate to larger scales just as any other form of organisation can.

        It’s simply a matter of removing any incentive or possibility for a person or persons to ‘occupy’ ( ie establish themselves on some quasi permanent basis with institutional authority) a position that has a monopoly on information and hence an inordinate say in any decisions made…the bug bear of democratic centralism.

        There are ways to do that. They are subtle and complex and involve information flows that do not pass through personel in the traditional manner ie, they ( the personel) have no incentive to manipulate information passing through them and can’t anyway as it’s essentially abstracted (mere ‘pluses’ and ‘minuses’) from their perspective. The sum of which pass back to the originators for modification…back and forth as many times as it takes until a balance is achieved. (Where the balance reflects, or you could say creates, existing possibilities.)

    • todd 4.2

      You don’t need Governments in a technological age where everybody can work together for common goals. You need centralized planning but not a large Government. Once an effective system is applied, there is no requirement for a Government to exist. They are currently superfluous to progress, but try telling them that.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        They are currently superfluous to progress, but try telling them that.

        Well, central Govt is not superfluous to progress *yet* because the societal understandings and institutions to do what you say (decide on, co-ordinate and then work towards common goals) doesn’t exist.

        Further, you’re always going to need a group of democratically selected representatives who (ahem) represent the interests of NZ on the international stage.

        • Bill 4.2.1.1

          CV, central government has arguably hindered meaningful progress rather than facilitated it. By narrowing the allowable parameters within which a populace can act; by controlling the environments of information, resources and decision making, it renders the formulation or realisation of society’s various interests for and by the populace well nigh impossible. Central government is a road block that imposes ‘common goals’ that generally reflect the wishes and perpetuate the power of dominant interests (read. international finance and corporate business activity). It certainly doesn’t encourage anything contrary to the interests of those dominant groupings.

          And it doesn’t occur to you in the absence of geographically bound central governments that nation states cease to exist and the ‘international stage’ you refer to becomes a historic curiosity in a new context of internationalism?

          As for the present paucity of institutions that would allow us to act to further our interests free from any over arching external influences laying down false limitations…would you have said that because the technology to take us to the moon didn’t exist that our ambitions and energies should remain firmly focussed on earth bound possibilities?

          Getting to the moon involved overcoming immense natural (at that time) limitations. Achieving democracy only involves overcoming limitations that have been imposed as a result of ideology and habit.

          • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1

            I can’t disagree with your points, Bill. I’m under no illusion that in many instances, transnational corporations are more powerful entities than individual countries. They certainly have larger budgets and better co-ordination than many countries.

            Nevertheless we do not have a discussion going on in our society which would allow us to shift the system in a meaningful way. The fact that this environment has been deliberately engineered is clear. Falling participation in political parties, families scrambling to stay above water, the favouring of highly capitalised actors rather than individual citizens, etc. A long and sobering list.

            As for your moon metaphor. Getting a man on the moon is a technical challenge that all but a handful of countries are still unable to accomplish. Such was the technological lead of the US. But I disagree with you that the biggest hurdles on that project were the physical and technical ones. They were actually ones of psychology and self belief. A mass of Americans and their leaders moved in behind the goal and saw it as completely achievable and necessary.

            In terms of achieving a full democracy – in politics, society and the economy – hardly anyone seems to understand the goal, its benefits or believes that it might even be achievable this lifetime. Or that it is even necessary.

            In terms of the constraints of perception, ideology and habit, it is truthfully said that the most secure prisons are the ones without bars.

            • Bill 4.2.1.1.1.1

              So putting a man on the moon involved both technological and psychological hurdles? While bringing humanity to the earth involves only psychological hurdles? And common to both scenarios is that initially very few people give anything beyond a passing and fanciful thought to them.

              Eminently do-able then!

      • Bill 4.2.2

        Todd. Why is a certain technology (I assume you mean the internet?) required? I don’t buy that. Sure, novel forms of communication might make things more efficient. Maybe.

        But the information that people need to communicate remains the same as it’s always been. But there are many, many people who, for a wide variety of reasons, can’t express themselves well through writing. And so they would be disempowered and possibly excluded. Besides, marrying our potential as a society to the use of the internet should be treated with the utmost caution. It has definite limitations with regards what forms of communication it can cope with. And that means that information is lost. Besides, who holds the plug?

    • Jenny 4.3

      This is what a people’s government would do…..

      Extend the declared State of Emergency to the finance sector.

      A moratorium on mortgages in the Greater Christchurch area, for a period of three months. (renewable on review) to be declared by the government.

      To provide immediate practical financial relief, for the Christchurch municipality, local business and citizens.

      A moratorium on mortgages would:

      1# Immediately end the brutal war breaking out between landlords and tenants.

      2# Leave funds in Christchurch for families and municipalities to be able to deal better with the costs of the quake.

      3# The immediate easing of living costs would tempt, many people who otherwise would leave the city, to stay.

      4# Tide productive people over, till their jobs can restart. (Many of these people will be vital to the rebuilding of the city’s infrastructure. And without this relief may leave the city.)

      5# Not cost the government anything, as this revenue stream is untaxed.

      I expect the banksters would immediately threaten punitive actions against the rest of the economy, if their profit stream were to dip by as much as 15%. (Christchurch being 15% of New Zealand’s economy).

      An investment strike, or lobby of the IMf for a national credit down grade, could be some of the actions the banksters would threaten.

      Both of these actions could be countered, an appeal to the IMF and the UN to overrule a credit downgrade, stating the nature of the emergency and the need for extraordinary measures to deal with it.

      And at the local level, retaliatory actions against any bank that threatens an investment strike. (The same sort of punishments proscribed against strikes in the ERA could be implemented against the bankers, ie. arrest, confiscation of property, daily fines for as long as the strike continues etc.)

      Due to the nature and the scale of this disaster, can anyone suggest why a people’s government wouldn’t do this?

      • Rosy 4.3.1

        I think a moratorium is a perfectly sensible thing to do. And if National want to front-foot a political fight they’ll be working on this now. There shouldn’t be any issues for banks, they already offer payment holidays in some circumstances and they get the profit back with extra interest paid for the longer term of the loan. As a matter of goodwill they should be on to it.

        The problem will be with rental agencies losing out, and other unscrupulous people trying to make a buck from the banks and the tenants, but the powers that be should be able to work around that.

      • RedLogix 4.3.2

        Well thought out and precisely what is needed Jenny.

        Only one problem. Can you see an ex-merchant banker going within a million miles of this?

        • Jenny 4.3.2.1

          .

          “Can you see an ex-merchant banker going within a million miles of this?”

          RedLogix

          No I can’t. But we have an opposition, don’t we?

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.2.1.1

            The details of any moratoria would be crucial.

            Suspending mortgage payments for 3 months while the banks simply add the sum on to the principal to be repaid doesn’t help any borrowers and in fact will increase bank profitability in the medium and long term.

            By the way, we should not fear any short term credit downgrade. The market determines the spread on NZ debt, and credit rating agency conclusions are only one factor, and sometimes not even a decisive one.

            Alternatively, the Government could simply “print” a set sum of money to allocate to Christchurch residents, instead of borrowing it, enabling Christchurch residents to continue to pay their rents/mortgages as normal. Essentially the Government would be assisting private citizens to destroy their privately held debt – another form of debt moratorium.

  5. Shona 5

    So frustrating reading about this situation from up north . After careful consideration you donate to the organisation you think will help the most needy. The Salvation Army. Then find out they’re behaving this way. Just gives me the shits.

    • B 5.1

      They are doing the best they can. They have limited resources as well and there are so many people in need right now that a group who can work as this group is, might appear to not need as much help as others. They are good people – I know some of them personally and while I can’t speak for them in this instance I know they would be mortified to be seen in this way as it’s not their intention to exclude anyone and there may be people even more in need in other suburbs in the area – Aranui springs to mind. And given the situation please allow that they may make mistakes…it happens and no one is infallible – they are incredibly busy trying to deal with an enormous task – they will be the first to admit it afterwards. I grew up in this area so know what it’s like to live in, I’m not just talking out of a hole in my head…I can barely imagine what it would be like to be there now.

      • weka 5.1.1

        I think the authorities and NGOs need to front up now and admit they’re struggling. It wouldn’t hurt to recognise that they need help, and then to let people in to do it.

        TV3 had the Mexican recovery team that’s been refused access to the CBD (because they’re not UN approved). So they got given a wall to demolish. Why not give them a vehicle and supplies to take into the eastern suburbs. These guys have worked in ruined cities far worse than Chch, I’m sure they could find their way around and help out.

  6. Jared 6

    Beyond Resistance has opened an account for donations to aid our relief work in Christchurch. This account is called the ‘Unite’ fund as it is under a BR member’s name (who is also in Unite). Before our request the fund was empty, and anything donated to this fund will not be lost amongst Unite or any other aid funds, and is directly controlled by Beyond Resistance.

    So far we have been generously gifted over $550 by many people — for this we cannot thank you enough.

    We will be buying dust masks, as the dust from both rubble and dried silt is highly toxic. We will also be using it for things like printing supplies (for notices, flyers etc), water, food and other essentials. In the long term such a fund will help around organising throughout the CHCH winter, and what we imagine will be the implementation of ‘disaster capitalism’ by the National Government (which we are already seeing it now with proposed cuts to Working For Families, an aid for low to mid income workers).

    Again, thanks for all your support. Will try to keep people updated as much as possible.

    Here’s the account again:

    Westpac Bank
    Unite Fund
    03 0675 0423909 017

    In solidarity,

    Jared (CHCH Treasurer)

    —————————————————————————

    LATEST UPDATE 03/03/11

    The Avonside kitchen has been scaled down. Local residents will get together for potlucks, meetings etc as people feel able and as needs permit. It is a little calmer now with power and water back on. People are feeling more confortable staying in their homes now.

    BR members have been speaking with the folk at Te Whare Roimata and are looking at linking in with them now for resource distro etc. They have a Community Art gallery as a make shift Centre set up, so looking to move all supplies that are donated to BR to this space. It’s close by and very excessable. They are very connected to the community and do a newsletter which BR will look to connect into also.

    The dust is incredibly bad in CHCH East, with the liquifaction drying out and the wind getting up. Aid workers were driving around watering the streets in Avonside yesterday. It’s incredible the amount of the stuff that has come up.

    The local Shoalin Kung Fu club http://wuzuquan.com/homepage.asp is keen to open up to the community, with games for kids i.e. 3 legged races, tag, soccer plus all sorts of other fun kids activities. There will be qi gong exercises, basic punches, kickes etc, arobics exercises etc for the adults. This event is to get people loosened up, get people moving, have some fun
    and get together.

    In Addington Beyond Resistance members and their friends are involved in the Addington Action Committee — a residents based group which has sprung up in response to the Earthquake. While not hit as hard as CHCH East, the area is home to a number of potentially vulnerable people, with public housing, the Salvation Army addiction support centre, elderly residents and young families based in the area. A help centre has been set up at Manuka Cottage (45 Dickens Street), with a phone number to ring for both aid, and to lend a hand. A facebook page will be up and running soon, as well as door knocking and flyer drops to those not already contacted.

  7. Jared 7

    PS I won’t go into the debate on what constitutes government or whether anarchy (ie self-management of society) works (even tho it has in the past) right now, as we are crazy busy! But please, check out our ‘What is anarchsim’ link here: http://beyondresistance.wordpress.com/what-is-anarchism/, or visit Anarchist FAQ: http://www.infoshop.org/page/AnAnarchistFAQ

    Jared

  8. You don’t have to turn to an obscure blog to find comment on how the poor of Christchurch are being neglected.

    No less a source than The Weekend Australian highlighted it in a story called “Tale of neglect on poverty’s frontline”:

    Aranui, a housing commission suburb built on a drained swamp in a loop of the Avon River about 7km northeast of the city, is the forgotten community of the disaster. It was hard hit by last September’s quake and harder again on Tuesday. Now it feels ignored and neglected…

    For the most part, the residents along this bending strip of NZ Housing homes do not like to complain. As 70-year-old Maureen Tawhai says, “We are lucky. You look at all the people who have been killed and the wee babies crushed. It is just terrible.”

    Gee, knowing my friends and colleagues here in Australia were reading that this weekend really made me proud to be a New Zealander. I’ve never read any such stories about the Queensland flood recovery or the Victorian bushfires or any of the many other Australian disasters, so it appears NZ is alone in using a natural disaster to emphasise, and worsen, social disparity.

    • Olwyn 8.1

      It will also resonate with Australian readers that the street they chose as an example was Eureka St. And I have to say I am not sorry to see NZ called out for the consequences that follow from its social disparity; it leans toward the sort of thing that New Zealanders took to the streets for in 1981 with regard to South Africa. No, it is not that bad; if you are doing OK you are still allowed to marrry a poor person, but the drift toward categorising people as “real people” and “not so real people” is gaining traction, as the disaster-response shows.

      • I am not sorry to see NZ called out for the consequences that follow from its social disparity

        Nor am I, if shame acts as a motivator for English, Key, Collins et al. But will it? Or will they blithely assert, as conservatives in the US did for many years in respect of apartheid that it’s somehow not happening?

        On April 13, 1979, for instance, F. R. Buckley wrote of the “alleged callousness” of the Boers toward “poor blacks” and declared that “Soweto cannot be held up as representing any policy of material mistreatment of blacks, nor any racially motivated indifference to their well-being.”

        • Olwyn 8.1.1.1

          I am certain that it will not by itself make any difference to the above mentioned people, but it may make a difference to ordinary people for whom shame is a motivator, and hence make a difference to politicians who without such promptings would prefer to turn a blind eye. New Zealanders on the whole are not without ideals, and even those who are lacking in ideals usually prefer to be well-thought of, rather than badly thought of, by outsiders.

    • swordfish 8.2

      The neglect of poorer Eastern Chch suburbs came through loud and clear in a series of RNZ interviews with residents on the weekend. I was going to comment on it here, but there was a suggestion from those running the recovery operation (in a follow-up interview with RNZ) that all would be well in the east this week.

      I do hope this neglect has nothing to do with the politics of these suburbs (Labour and Anderton rather than National and Parker). I’ve always wondered if the Bush Administration’s neglect of New Orleans was at least in part a result of that city’s overwhelmingly Democratic political complexion.

  9. Fran O'Sullivan 9

    Guess what it also tells you is that the disaster response to a ‘big one’ in Wellington will prob take much longer than civil defence indicates to ensure real relief is brought to the suburbs. Should we all seriously rethink the warning to have ‘three days supplies’? More like a week?

    • weka 9.1

      I’ve been thinking that, about the three day thing. I now think a week is a serious under-estimate too 🙁

    • lprent 9.2

      I’d look at even longer than that for Wellington city. The problem there is somewhat more problematic because the transport routes are limited.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington#Earthquakes

      1. Existing trunk road into the city is build on land that rose a couple of metres during the last major earthquakes (1848-1855). There is no reason to think that it will go up.
      2. The airport is built on land that went up within the last earthquake
      3. The harbor mouth is narrow and has probably been impassable within recent geological time frames
      4. The port facilities are likely to get a severe battering. Last time there were some pretty significant waves flooding in and out of the harbour.

      From memory that last one in 1855 was about an 8.2 centered 40 odd km’s north from the city. Of course the quake could be closer in to the city next time increasing the effects.

      I prefer Auckland despite those nice wee basalt cones. 😈

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Lyn,

        That was the 1855 Wairarapa quake. The entire block of land from east of the Rimutakas right through to the Tasman sea tilted by about 6m.

        It was the biggest quake since colonisation.

        • lprent 9.2.1.1

          Yeah. The Wairarapa probably hammered, but I was really looking at the land movement effects in Wellington which were somewhat larger in 1855 than the earthquake swarm in 1848.

    • cabbage 9.3

      Yep Fran, A week at minimum.

      I’m out in the wops so I’ve got a provisions stashed away for four people for a week.

    • Lanthanide 9.4

      Or the alpine fault.

      Fancy having Dunedin, Oamaru, Timaru, Nelson, Greymouth and Blenheim all looking like CHCH does? At the same time?

      • Bright Red 9.4.1

        was it you, Lanth, who linked the other day to some guy’s list of his emergency kit that had a portable bag with 3 days provisions for four people and a more extensive box kit for ten days x four people?

        I can’t find it now.. but I remember his last line in the post is “I stil don’t feel safe” 🙂

        • weka 9.4.1.1

          There’s this guy:

          http://thejackalman.blogspot.com/2011/02/whats-in-your-survival-kit.html

          The GNS guy on TV3 tonight was explaining the latest quake and its fault. He said similar to what lprent is saying below, and that the way this fault and quake has happened is dangerous for Christchurch. Present tense, not past. I think they also pointed out that future problems were unlikely to be right in the city. The outlying area faults were more likely to go next, or the Alpine fault. So we’ve all been warned really.

      • lprent 9.4.2

        It would be highly unlikely that the whole alpine fault would let loose at the same time or even in a close series.

        • One of the worst features of NZ for earthquakes is that we have a lot of active and semi-active faults.
        • One of the best feature of NZ is that we have a lot of faults.

        This sounds contradictory. But actually isn’t. Rather than being a monolithic land mass acting like a concrete driveway, NZ’s islands are more like a gravel driveway rapidly dissipating energy from any single earthquake event.

        We get quite a lot of fault earthquakes, but the energy from a single event tends to dissipate into stressing other faults because the faults are everywhere. Of course that means that you’ll get earthquakes off those other faults earlier. But that means decades or even centuries later for the ones that are away from the epicenter and don’t get involved in the immediate after shocks.

        Contrast that with the US, for instance the New Madrid earthquake of 1812. Because the plates there are not broken up to anything like the same extent by faults, a estimated magnitude 7.0 to 7.5 earthquake (the first Christchurch earthquake was 7.1) made the whole region ring with the force of the quake.

        There are estimates that the earthquakes were felt strongly over roughly 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles), and moderately across nearly 3 million square kilometers (1 million square miles). The historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, by comparison, was felt moderately over roughly 16,000 square kilometers (6,000 square miles).

        The whole of the South Island has an area of 151,215 square kilometres.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Earthquake in Wellington?

    If the Wgtn Fault moves the 3-10m it is perfectly capable of this is what will happen.

    10,000 dead. Up to 50,000 badly injured.

    City will have to be abandoned.

    Survivors will either be shipped out from the wharf at Pt Howard, or walk out to the Wairarapa via the Rimutaka Rail tunnel. (Contrary to common belief tunnels are remarkably resistant to quake damage.)

    This is why.

    There will be no transport routes in or out of the city for at least a month, possibly longer. Food and fuel will run out.

    There will be no power or telecomms for many, many weeks..at best. (The critical and major Transpower site at Haywards Hill will likely be wrecked disabling the HVDC link and causing wider problems.)

    There will be no water or sewerage to most of the city for at least six months.. (Hint:This is not me guessing.)

    Civil Defense and Emergency Management people I have talked to privately acknowledge this. We can survive a small to medium event… the big one will be game over.

    • lprent 10.1

      Damn I forgot the rail lines. As you say the tunnels are pretty resistant. The rail lines and rail beds are not.

    • Civil Defense and Emergency Management people I have talked to privately acknowledge this

      So shouldn’t they be speaking out publicly now?

      And advocating doing something to mitigate these risks (assuming there is something to be done, and I accept with some of these things there is not)?

      At the very least, using the Christchurch quake, which has surely blown away any vestiges of “it won’t happen to me” defences people usually put up, as a springboard to get Wellingtonians to prepare would ensure individuals who survived suffered less, even if there’s nothing to be done for infrastructure.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        So shouldn’t they be speaking out publicly now?

        You forget how lowly these people usually are in the power pyramid. Normally they are given a few crumbs of budget and expected to keep out of sight, out of mind.

        It’s only for a few months after something like this that they get their day in the sun.

        Should they speak out now? Hard to say. Much of this information is in the public domain now if you care to go and look for it.

        It’s worth keeping in mind that in terms of natural hazards there is nowhere ‘safe’ in New Zealand. What is really required is that we grow up, and start organising our lives, our infrastructure and our buildings to truly recognise this unpalatable…and ultimately expensive fact.

      • handle 10.2.2

        Wellington’s council tried to “mitigate the risk” by forcing older buildings to be strengthened. But they sacrificed the interests of the people who occupy those buildings and doled out another five year extension after property owners complained about the expense. Expect the same reponse to anything civil defense experts suggest without firm backing all the way from the top.

    • Lanthanide 10.3

      This makes me want to move to Australia.

      • RedLogix 10.3.1

        Droughts alternated with floods.

        Not to mention that the place is full of Aussies 🙂

        • Adrian 10.3.1.1

          And bushfires and sandstorms and in Queensland alone there are 55 things that can bite you and kill you or make you very,very sick. Oh, and earthquakes, the Newcastle one was a beauty, and if you think our structures are a bit shakey, they use a lot less material to build a house over there.

    • Vicky32 10.4

      Please God no! 90% of my family lives there, and my best friend! Spread out from Melrose to Taita… 🙁

    • Hilary 10.5

      There are some factors in Wellington’s favour. Wooden houses and strong earthquake regs for years. Much of the city is on strong geological rock (apart from the reclaimed land, low lying areas and the land adjacent to the fault lines). Many communities are well prepared and stocked. Helicopters could still get supplies in. The earlier large quakes in Wellington 1842 and 1855 did not wipe out the small communities of settlers and locals. And they survived without electricity and sewerage systems.

      • Colonial Viper 10.5.1

        Helicopters could still get supplies in.

        I suspect even a fleet of Helicopters isn’t going to be able to dent the need for hundreds of thousands of litres of water etc. which will be needed to be lifted in daily.

        You would need the Australians to help with their Hercules, parachuting pallets of supplies in. As well as freight ships unloading supplies on to a flotilla of small craft if the wharves are all unusable.

  11. Addington Action – update

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    http://www.addingtonaction.org.nz

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    info@addingtonaction.org.nz

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