Blindingly obvious – but secret

Written By: - Date published: 8:22 am, June 17th, 2011 - 119 comments
Categories: disaster, Gerry Brownlee - Tags: , ,

What is Christchurch supposed to make of Gerry Brownlee?

Residents of trashed suburbs want to know what is happening. They want to know which areas are going to be written off, and which can be rebuilt. Their lives, their emotions, in many cases their finances, are all stuck in limbo. Even before Monday’s quakes it had reached the point where there was talk of street protests. Brownlee was telling people that they had to wait:

I had initially hoped we would be able to give an indication on the state of the land and options for some of the worst-affected suburbs by the end of May. The size, scale and complexity of the issues we are facing means it will take a little more time.

While this argument was unacceptable to many in Christchurch, there was at least some logic to Brownlee’s position. But after the new events on Monday, his line was unchanged:

Announcements on the long-term viability of quake-hit parts of Christchurch will not be delayed by yesterday’s aftershocks, Brownlee said. …. “These two events have simply confirmed the degree of damage in the worst parts of the city.” When asked if the new quakes meant some areas were no longer viable or sustainable, Brownlee said he could not say.

Brownlee needs to recognise that the latest quakes changed the game (see Vernon Small’s excellent piece). People that were on the edge are being pushed over it. There now needs to be certainty for the many, even if mistakes are made for a few. Brownlee then went on to really put his foot in it:

However, he added: “There are some things that I think that are blindingly obvious.”

That is adding insult to injury. It’s blindingly obvious, but the people affected can’t be told? Could he have thought of a stupider way to increase people’s anger and frustration? The blog Action for Christchurch East speaks out:

Brownlee, the EQC and CERA have been awarded the greatest level of authority, they are the judge, jury and executioner of the Canterbury Plains. They have now admitted they know what area’s have to be bulldozed with maps drawn out months ago; the Government, Fletchers, dozens of insurance companies and who knows who else have been aware of what’s staying and what’s going

Why hold on to this information? Why not give us an idea what we can expect and let us move forward?…instead we have a smug Brownlee telling us in recent days, it “should be blindingly obvious” which suburbs will be targeted. We’ve known it, for many since September, for many more since February and yet we’re still waiting to see what’s behind the closed doors. We are simply left to guess. It stinks conspiracy. The recent shakes and the Government’s indifference to people’s concerns may just prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Brownlee’s response yesterday? “Quake complainers are being simplistic”. Yes that’s right, the people of quake ravaged Christchurch are “simplistic” now…

119 comments on “Blindingly obvious – but secret ”

  1. Andy-Roo 1

    In other words, the interests of insurance companies, and reinsurers are being put ahead of the needs of the residents of eastern Christchurch.

    These companies have no interest in speeding up the process of payouts. Every day of delay saves them money.

    We should not be surprised by this of course.

    Maybe those of us who voted for “Change” last time around, should have looked more carefully at the “Change” we were voting for.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      Exactly right – delay delay. and especially delay any result until after the books are closed before the election.

    • Jim Nald 1.2

      Hmm … ‘loose change’ … they are looking for that and will take yours too.
      These are the people in government who gave you Warner Bros, Sky City, and now the overseas reinsurers.

      • burt 1.2.1

        Jim Nald

        If you think National are to blame for overseas reinsurers then you clearly have no concept of reinsurance in which case you probably shouldn’t be commenting on insurance at all. Now tell me again what was so different for how National handled overseas movie making companies compared to how Labour treaded them ?

        That leaves you Sky City – is that it?

  2. gingercrush 2

    And there lives will still be stuck in limbo even if the government said what land wasn’t getting built and what is. And half of these people complaining will continue to complain about everything and anything because their whole lives revolve around complaining. Hence, why there has been such a bloody delay in the first place. So when those who live under land that can’t be rebuilt will have their answers answered at once.

    And when that happens they still won’t be happy. Its the same with the CBD. Had they gotten their way and businesses were moving again, how many people would have been in danger on Monday? Quite a few I think.

    • McFlock 2.1

      Nice victim-blaming there: the delay goes on for freaking ages, then as soon as people complain you blame their complaints for causing the delay.
      And then you claim Brownlee’s delays save lives. That, my man, is serious spin.

    • Andy-Roo 2.2

      Ginger – as one of the people living with this in the eastern suburbs, I cannot even begin to describe the utter contempt that I feel for your comments.

      Who the hell do you think you are? What is it that you think that you know?

      How much patience do you think you would have if you lived (for example) in Keller St in Avonside where the land is shattered, and shit is flowing through your house for the third time in a year, with every prospect that it will happen again in a few months time?

      Am I connecting in any way here?

      To call the residents of eastern Christchurch people who’s “whole lives revolve around complaining” is hugely insulting. And quite franky the act of a pig ignorant arsehole.

      Thought a long time before I wrote the sentence above, so please know that this is a considered response.

      • gingercrush 2.2.1

        And please tell me how are you going to be comforted if the government said Avonside will not be rebuilt. And that is essentially what many on the eastern side expect to be told. It doesn’;t. Doesn’t answer your insurance problems, doesn’t tell you what you’ll be paid out at, doesn’t say where you’ll live. It’ll just give you a thousand more questions and the frustration will just grow. Though according to you lot, that will allow you to move on. Yeah right.

        • Andy-Roo

          Ginger – for a start, you actually don’t know a lot about me, so please try to avoid generalisations like “you lot”. There are a range and diversity of views expressed in this forum. You might be surprised at where I stand on some of them.

          Now, it might also surprise you to find out that most people actually understand that getting answers about which areas will be rebuilt and which not will not answer all or even most of their questions.

          This is because most people are not stupid. Most people. (I am keeping things simple for you)

          But it is a necessary start to the process of getting those answers.


          And this process needs to start.

          For people.

          Who live there.


          Got that?

          Want me to say it again?

          • mickysavage

            GC gets the Cameron Slater award for sensitivity displayed in a post.

            • Andy-Roo

              Yeah, thanks MS

              I need to calm down now, but my buttons well and truly got pushed.

              Right now they seem to pushable!

              • calltoaccount

                Good comments AR, spoken to a one-eyed idiot who’s just playing politics with personalised insults. I have family in the east, and know Keller Street well. Best possible luck from here on buddy!!

  3. Just Right 3

    Totally agree Gingercrush. There are no winners in this… People are sick to death of waiting, but everyone affected is going to lose something in this whole situation. The Government is not going to save the day – ain’t going to happen.

    • Andy-Roo 3.1

      And the relevance of this to the conversation is ????

      Do you think that people in Eastern Chrsitchurch are just waiting for the government to save them???

      Because – I seem to remember some time spent on the end of a shovel this week.

      The vast majority of the actual work that is being done to improve peoples lives in Christchurch is being done by the people of Christchurch, and don’t you forget that.

      They have shown that they are capable, willing and tough. Round 3 and counting.

      The issue here is that we are being told to sit on our hands and wait, while men in suits sort their shit out.

      Thats a hard call to make. We have been patient. No more.

      Take a look at the implicit message in your comment above mate. I call bullshit.

      • burt 3.1.1


        I’ve read this thread and I with you pretty much with you all the way but I think that Just Right makes a good point , somewhat untactfully.

  4. Jim Nald 4

    “What is Christchurch supposed to make of Gerry Brownlee?”

    Brownlee knows many things and you don’t!

  5. Janice 5

    The other day when the donkey was acting like a schoolboy in the playground, saying, “I have secret information, but i am not telling any of you yet, you will have to wait,” was a classic example of how stupid the man is. Surely all he had to say was that they were still working things out, not try to act like the big man with knowledge to keep from the affected people. My heart went out to the people whose lives he was playing with.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Rob, I think your article is a bit misguided.

    I feel a lot for those who are having to endure liquifaction again. I have family and friends in that situation. In fact, I will be going out to help clear a bit tomorrow. So, I too hope for an answer as quickly as possible for these people.

    The reason that the insurance side of the equation is so important in making decisions about where or where not to rebuild is that anything that is rebuilt will have to be insurable. If the government was simply to declare areas that were rebuildable and those that weren’t, it could be that a lot of people may discover that they can’t in fact rebuild because the insurers won’t cover them. Hence, the government can’t really make definitive statements until the question of insurance going forward is settled.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      If the government declares an area rebuild-able then the insurance company goes along with it. It doesn’t really have a choice unless they want to pay to get the engineers in and dispute the governments own engineers before the decision goes live and if they want to do that then they had better already have their engineers here already

      Although, considering that a lot of Chch will be a salt water swamp by the end of the century if not sooner, I wouldn’t be building there any way and the government should be telling people the same thing. People may not want to hear it but that’s what 0.9m to 1.6m rise in sea levels due to climate change means.

      • infused 6.1.1


        • burt

          Not so.

          The recent rethink on predictions for solar activity will shake a few scientific trees if people have any memory and cognitive ability. See recently the prediction that solar activity was due to increase was the first time the believers of high priest Gore actually started to play solar fluctuation in their hand. Earlier IPPC models had solar forcing as a reasonable constant, probably due to no observed longer cycles in sun behaviour and what was perceived as a regular cycle every few decades.

          (lprent shows the graphs here and discusses the previous position on solar activity. )

          So will be interesting to see the models allowing for a downgrade of solar activity, that beats a constant followed by an increment as used in earlier analysis.

          • Draco T Bastard

            See recently the prediction that solar activity was due to increase was the first time the believers of high priest Gore actually started to play solar fluctuation in their hand.

            WTF are you talking about? Solar activity has always been calculated into Climate Change.

            If we are going into another Maunder Minimum it will certainly mean that the climate models will have to be adjusted to take into account any differences that it will make to the climate. Of course, we don’t know if the Little Ice Age was caused by the last Maunder Minimum or not. Just not enough information to be able to say.

          • lprent

            Burt, do you ever read the posts? Try it some time, you may be surprised what you find out.

            The post you linked to was about the effects of the solar cycle on electrical and electronic equipment. That is the main known effect of sunspots. It has been known to fry electrical grids, satellites, cause auroras, and I was speculating on it’s effects on modern electronics.

            There is an effect on climate, but it has been hard to quantify because we only started looking at it after we started to modify our climate – so the effect has been swamped. The largest effect would happen at the poles because that is where the earths magnetic field lets in the high energy particles into the atmosphere.

            Unfortunately that is also where we didn’t start systematically measuring until the late 50’s, and where the effects of atmospheric climate change are most pronounced and where the changes in the ozone layer have happened.

            There are numbers in the climate models, but they are low because of the uncertainties.

            I personally think that there is a reasonable effect at the poles, and it influences medium to longer term climate – mostly at the poles in the short term, but with some quite strong lags for the global climate. But at present there isn’t enough data to be sure one way another.

  7. William Joyce 7

    I found it strange when I heard, on NZ breakfast, (from the new CEO of CERA I think it was) that some of this negotiation/planing going on between the insurers, the reinsurers, CERA etc. would be resolved after June 30.
    Why is a specific date important and not just “when it’s ready”?
    Why June 30 specifically?
    Could it be that this whole recovery plan  is being held up by end of year/quarter reporting considerations?
    Are people, literally, living in shit bso some unaffected people can make their reports and accounts look good?

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      Might be the case William.

      However, I don’t think a few days/weeks either way is going to make much difference to whether people are living in shit or not. I have heard numbers of 50000 having to relocate. If that is the case, many people won’t have much option but to stay where they are at the moment, even if they do have some certainty about the long-term outcome for their properties.

      Even if the government were to build that many temporary houses, there is still the issue of where to locate them and the need for supporting infrastructure.

      • John D 7.1.1

        The logistics are a nightmare. I heard from a builder that even if you relocated all of the builders in NZ into Christchurch, and set them the task of building homes full time, it would take at least two years to build the homes we know about already.

        The easiest solution might be to give the people of ChCh a one way plane ticket to Australia and a large cheque each.

        Maybe that’s what Bill English has been borrowing this money for.

        • christih

          Sad to say but I think there would be a long queue for the cheques and plane ticket to Oz! There are a lot of people affected and badly for some. A work colleague had just started getting the back yard sorted after the february one and once again had an extremely large murky swimming pool to look at. I only had a little bit of liquefaction but my heart sunk at the thought of moving it.
          My main comment from watching Mr Brownlee being interviewed was relief I did’t have his job but couldn’t he at least explain the process being followed? He may have done in the past but repeating it would not hurt him and may help some people deal with the current situation.

        • prism

          I read recently of a plan to bring in preconstructed houses from China and then I think they might be assembled here. In the circumstances that would be a good idea if properly controlled.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        I have no doubt you are correct and tens of thousands of Christchurch people will need to be permanently relocated.

        But when you say that people have to stay put “for the moment” it’s coming 4 months now. Is this moment lasting for just a few more weeks? Or another 4 months?

        Will tens of thousands people have to spend the RWC inside their crapped out shitty homes?

        Will people be in proper long term accomodation by Christmas time?

        • Lanthanide

          “Will tens of thousands people have to spend the RWC inside their crapped out shitty homes?”
          “Will people be in proper long term accomodation by Christmas time?”

  8. MB 8

    tsmithfield, I totally get where you are coming from, but I think the government knows for sure which areas cannot and will not be built on, they could release that information and give some relieve to some residents. Yes it would suck if you were on the edge of that in the undecided zone but even knowing it was undecided would be new information to them. I think this is the biggest issue, all the insurance and packages etc can be worked out later, it’s the total blanket silence approach that has been taken that is wearing these residents down. I don’t seem to recall the people of Kaiapoi being kept this out of the loop when the land decision were being made up here, their seemed to be a lot more consultation go on than there ever has been in the eastern suburbs. I mean has anyone even given them the information on exactly what the engineers are doing? even knowing that would probably eliviate some of the anxiety or make them feel included in the process, have any of them been asked if they want to stay or go, if they could put that forward to those deciding surely that information would help as well letting the residents make it clear in writing where they stand with wanting to go or wanting to stay.
    I’m not in the eastern suburbs but I really do feel for those that are, and I also feel that until these decisions are made the whole of the quake zone, including those of us not even in chch are having to wait as well because of the huge impact that this decision is going to have on chch and the surrounding districts.

    I really hoped that if something good would come of Feb 22nd it would be that things would hurry up, that all the faffing about that happened after Sept would come to an end and a realisation would set in that things have to be sorted out quickly. These were even views expressed at the time by the likes of John Key and Gerry Brownlee and the EQC and so on, that they had learnt from their mistakes and would not repeat them but in fact what is happening now is so much worse, most of us are more than capable of withstanding the aftershocks, it’s the governments handling of the situation that is causing so much stress to us all.

    • I don’t see why announcements cannot be staged.  Declare the bleedingly obvious areas now and the marginal areas later.  The whole situation does appear to be going around in circles.
      And if insurance companies are waiting for the end of financial year before wanting a decision to be made then this is utterly appalling.

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Yes MS. It seems that certain houses/streets are blindingly obvious but they could be told that X marks the spot. It may not be so obvious to the house owner. A sort of Category 1, 2, 3. Administrativly probably easier to do one fell swoop and there is always the bully aspect. I am the Power and I am not telling you peasants.

      • Blighty 8.1.2

        and why can’t we know what the process will be for different categories of land/houses, even if not all the properties can yet be given a classification within that system?

      • Inventory2 8.1.3

        Micky; I’ve been to visit one of our Chch staff today. Her home has been systematically trashed with each quake sine September. On either side of her, neighbour’s homes of similar vintage and construction style are undamaged. There is so much randomness to the damage in parts of the eastern suburbs that a blanket “tear ’em down” order is impossible. We’ve been here for less than 24 hours but in that time alone there have been four quakes of magnitude 4.4 or larger. Everything is totally unstable, and the landscape changes just a little with each aftershock. The decisions that Brownlee and CERA have to make will affect Christchurch for generations; if a few more days or weeks will produce a better decision, isn’t that a price that should be paid?

        • Colonial Viper

          if a few more days or weeks will produce a better decision, isn’t that a price that should be paid?

          You’re saying that we will have firm decisions in 3-4 days or 3-4 weeks?

          Then why doesn’t Brownlee say so.

  9. grumpy 9

    Comments here from people who have only seen the Eastern suburb’s devastation on TV are amazing.

    The insurers are digging their toes in, not because of some “bloody mindedness” but because the overeas reinsurers (who nobody has any influence over) are looking at minimising/avoiding payment. The insurance companies have bugger all resources to pay out.

    EQC only pay out the first 100k on damage to the house, the balance comes from insurance (reinsurers) with a probable Govt top up for loss of land.

    The insurance companies will pursue the least cost option. Imagine the Govt saying whole areas cannot be lived on and the insurers saying”…no, we think we can repair”.

    Who wants to negotiate that…….???? Make the Arab/Israeli thing look mild.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      So foreign reinsurers are holding tens of thousands of New Zealanders in disaster limbo?

      Nice. What is the Government doing about this?

      • grumpy 9.1.1

        Nobody has any influence over these (mainly German) guys.

        That is the problem.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Then why were they operating here?

        • Colonial Viper

          grumpy, sure we have influence. For starters, insurers who do not get results for their policy holders face increased taxes and penalties.

          Then the Government enters the insurance market using the infrastructure of KiwiBank to replace non-performing private insurers. Perhaps we could name the new provider “KiwiSure”.

          Thirdly the Govt passes laws which say that it will payout on private policies itself within the next 90 days, but if it is later found that the private insurers should have paid out instead, they will face additional liabilities in addition to being liable for the original payout.

          Its a market, so structure the market to get the result you want for your citizens.

          • grumpy

            Even if we had a benevolent locally owned insurance co. they would still need reinsurance cover. This is a wake up call for those who think NZ actually counts as a country.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Even if we had a benevolent locally owned insurance co. they would still need reinsurance cover.

              Nope, We already have all the resources we need. Money is not a resource.

              This is a wake up call for those who think NZ actually counts as a country.

              NZ does count as a country. A very rich country in fact. It just gets belittled by the RWNJs all the time in their efforts to sell off our assets.

          • infused

            Yeah, CV I think you need a wake up call. Govt can’t create a company to solve every problem.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Actually, it can. The wrong belief is the one held that we actually have to wait on capitalists to do it for us.

            • Colonial Viper

              Govt can’t create a company to solve every problem.

              Wrong. Because it’s quite clear now that it’s the private sector which can’t solve our problems.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    The problem is that where it is “blindingly obvious” people would already know the outcome without having to be told, because it is so “blindingly obvious” (think Bexley). These people are going to want options, not just told the obvious. Those options may not be available yet because the insurability of the replacement land is also undoubtably up for discussion between the government and the insurers. So, rather than just tell them what they already know, it would be better to give them the options.

    Those in marginal situations won’t have their situation determined until there is agreement between the government and insurers about whether their land is insurable or not.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Those in marginal situations won’t have their situation determined until there is agreement between the government and insurers about whether their land is insurable or not.

      And if it takes 12 months to come to this agreement?

      What if things go to court and the process takes longer than that?

      Just ask people to put the next year or two of their lives on hold?

      What kind of “free choice” is this?

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        So, put yourself in the place of the government dealing with international re-insurers. What would you do? Pass a law that forces them to behave? 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard

          Well, pass a law that holds them to the contract that they signed.

        • Colonial Viper

          ts its a market, set up the incentives and costs to make the players in the market behave.

          Any players who continue to fail to serve your peoples – squeeze them out of the market and replace them with NZ’s own public Government owned insurance company.

    • Blighty 10.2

      It’s now over 9 months since the first quake and nearly four since the second one.

      How can Brownlee not have those insurance/process issues sorted yet?

      That’s the easy part. Far simpler than which actual land will be abandoned, which requires geotechnical work.

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        Um, what?
        You can’t actually have a conversation with insurance people unless you actually have some solid data on the scale of the problem. Until that time, the insurers won’t make any binding agreements – they’re all about risk management (and minimisation), remember.

        • tsmithfield

          I agree with you.

          The government is dealing with people they can’t wave a big stick at.

          • r0b

            So I guess foreign control of our important assets is not a good idea then?

            • tsmithfield

              The government can wave a big stick at foreign owned assets within NZ. However, it is a bit harder to do so with reinsurers who are based overseas and not covered by NZ law.

              • Andy-Roo

                In order for that to happen, we would have to have a Government.

                That governed.

                In the interests of New Zelanders.

              • If it’s all about the reinsurers then why doesn’t Brownlee say that?

                That would get him off the hook – though it would make people realise that their government is powerless to help them.

                It would demonstrate where decision making power really lies. It would obliterate silly notions about countries being democratically in charge of their own destinies. That’s always been one of those childish emotional consolations sold to the ‘bewildered herd’.

          • Colonial Viper

            The government is dealing with people they can’t wave a big stick at.

            you’re not using your imagination re: the different kinds of big sticks the Government has in it’s wardrobe.

            of course, you need a Government which is willing to lead in the interests of its people, instead of having no plan and no vision.

            • Lanthanide

              The government surely does have big sticks it can wave at foreign companies. The problem is that many of those big sticks might isolate us from the international community at large.

              • Colonial Viper

                Well it just takes creativity and not timidity to get the balance right for the benefit of our citizens 🙂

  11. prism 11

    I remember a comment from a speaker for the Bexley residents heard recently on Radionz – he said that it seemed that the authorities were ‘indifferent’ to the east-side people’s difficulties and needs. That says it all I think. The idea of not providing information on the government’s plans for the unstable area until the whole plan can be provided on reams of glossy paper, is unsuitable. An explanation of what is being considered, and an official start made on the areas that are ‘blindingly obvious’ is essential. I think that Browncoal is floundering and the role of government decision-making has been delegated to businesses like Fletchers who haven’t any mandate like our ‘caring responsible’ government to serve the people including supporting and advancing our lives, in lieu of us being dissociated individuals pretending to be part of a society of totally self-sufficient people, which is an oxymoron.

    What interests Browncoal is buildings, he doesn’t seem to understand the need for commerce which provides employment and circulation of money. There has been no respect for the importance of sustaining business from the start. The military-type control and isolation of the central area without including business owners in the risk assessments for the dangerous areas, individual buildings and the neighbouring ones, kept business owners ignorant. With more advice they would have been able to make informed decisions about the possibility of recovering resources. They should have been invited to meetings with the civil engineers and other experts, and been able to discuss the likelihood of risks in recovering their equipment and records. A waiver could have been given by business owners to the authorities confirming that they were informed of dangers, and limited numbers then able to look in the apparently stable areas for five minutes at a time checked in and out, always with the knowledge that there would be further shocks. The lack of information and advice to business owners resulted in confusion, wasted time and assets. These are a further great financial loss to the damaged buildings.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Daily protests in front of Gerry Brownlee’s electorate offices will do the trick. Everyone turn up with a bucket of liquefaction to dump in front of his door step.

      • The Voice of Reason 11.1.1

        If I can repeat a question I asked on Open Mike, would Brownlee’s refusal to engage with the affected residents be different if was Fendalton or Merivale under threat?
        I have a terrible feeling that, like Bush with New Orleans, because they are left leaning areas, the Tories don’t a give a flying one about them and, in fact, hold these people in contempt. Why would National want to be open and honest with people they have no respect for?

        • tsmithfield

          Merivale has actually been hit quite hard. Brownlees house in Fendalton has also been quite badly damaged.

          • The Voice of Reason

            Not the point, TS. I was referring to the suburbs Gerry is going to bulldoze flat, which appear to all be in Labour electorates.

            • mickysavage

              Aye TVOR Port Hills (Ruth Dyson), Christchurch East (Lianne Dalziel) and Christchurch Central (Brendan Burns) are all labour strongholds.

  12. Blighty 12

    Gerry Brownlee is just the worst possible person for this job. He has never achieved anything significant.

    He lost the mining debate, at the height of the government’s popularity and with a saleable economy line, mostly due to his attitude.

    He couldn’t even run the government’s legislative schedule right. You would have Parliament running out of legislation to debate one day then going into Urgency the next. And remember when he let Labour debate Steven Joyce’s school record for half an hour because he forgot to object?

    He is pig-headed. He takes criticism as proof that the people criticising are just his political opponents and decides it is all the more reason to keep on doing what he is doing.

  13. ianmac 13

    Much of this appears to be about reluctance from Insurance Companies to pay out. (My son’s modest contents claim dated from just after 22 Feb has not yet been paid.)
    Does this reluctance give a good insight to what will happen the privatised ACC? Perhaps they make it as difficult as possible in the hope that the insured will either give up, or accept the lesser amount.

    • William Joyce 13.1

      Good point, ianmac!
      This is a point that should be “Laboured”. This situation in Chch just exposes the myth of Private Insurance GOOD – State Insurance BAD.

  14. ianupnorth 14

    People will probably be angry with me for saying this, but I reckon it is what a fair few people are feeling – and it is because of how this is being portrayed in the media.
    The eastern suburbs are buggered beyond repair; we have a government in denial and a group of residents in limbo. In the meantime we get the two minute sound bite on the news of how many homes have power, water, etc and don’t have toilets – with the token video clip of a bloke suctioning a portaloo.
    What has happened is that the rest of the country are now conditioned to ChCh, in such a way that it is almost forgotten. We have a national disaster and frankly the leadership of this is lacking and nobody is jumping up and down complaining about this!!

    • Treetop 14.1

      In spite of June 13 adding to the plight of those in Christchurch it was a big wake up call. Yes I agree that the state of Christchurch was falling off the radar for the unaffected.

      According to numerology every main earthquake or aftershock occurred on a 4 or tallied up to a 4.

      • Lanthanide 14.1.1

        Depends what numbers you choose to use, doesn’t it? Sure, if you only use the numeral day of the month.
        What happens if we use day and month? 04-10, 22-02, 13-6.
        Numerology is a complete crock of shit.

        • Colonial Viper

          Numerology is a complete crock of shit.

          Hmmmm given that most people perceive somewhat less than the ten spacial dimensions that physicists think exist, it may be a bit early to make pronouncements like that.

        • William Joyce

          Personally, I am fully in touch with all ten dimensions ( including the extra one that only those of us who are more evolved are allowed to know about – opps, bugger!)…..and I can confidently say that in all *ahem* ten dimensions numerology is resoundingly considered a crock of shit.
          A little factoid: in fact, the term “Crock of Shit” comes from the 6th dimension where it is served as a welcome dish among the Gormless people when they break their 79.6 day spiritual fast in honour of their God who bears a remarkable resemblance to Gerry Brownlee.

        • Treetop

          I did not say that you cannot have your point of view regarding numerology. My comment on the 4 was that the day of the month of the quakes and after shocks over 5.7 (the 5.7 added today) all tally up to, when broken down to the single digit 4.

          Please note that I am not making any predictions, merely it was an oberservation.

  15. John D 15

    Here’s a video made from CCTV footage from last Monday’s quake, taken at Dyer’s Rd ITM (Linwood)

    The shaking starts at around 1:00

    • ianmac 15.1

      That youtube clip has to be the most effective report ever. Fantastic. Thanks for the link John D.

  16. randal 16

    looks very much like shakey key and rockey brownlee are gunna rock on out of here in November.

  17. Treetop 17

    A disaster relief package to relocate is required in the interim for those who have have no where else to go but need to get out for there well being. I cannot imagine what it is even like to live in Christchurch inspite of shifting a house lot three times in 13 months 10 years ago. First shift was 45 minutes away, second shift was 45 minutes back to the same suburb I left in shift one and third shift was two hours away. I was left feeling very drained. First shift, a change was required. Second shift, I could not cross the winding steep road safely from right to left, (4500 cars used the road daily) and third shift a life was put at high risk.

    To have to live in shit, damp, draft, pools of liquid and then it hardening, seeing destruction, constant movements of the earth, worry about the toll the situation is taking on children in particular, no working loo in the home, power cuts, restricted or no water flow…

    For those who cannot go due to the cost, this should be remedied. The government need to assist people who can recognise that they need to go else where, because until the vulnerable go to where it is safe they will not feel safe and they will stay feeling vulnerable.

  18. ianmac 18

    I think that Campbell Live is going to have more on the saga on the EQC tonight. He has been trying to get a spokesman for ages and maybe tonight they will front up.

  19. prism 19

    The EQC must be desperate to find acceptable responses to the urgent questions. I think the only one left is Blame it on Canada!

    • William Joyce 19.1

      Those bloody Canadians! With there low number of gun related deaths and their pinko socialised medicine.

      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        Hmmmm then there are the tar sands and the way that their Right Wing government is using that revenue to entrench power.

  20. M@tt 20

    As a Christchurch resident myself; I can tell you that it is no simple job of simply writing off certain suburbs and areas. It is far more complex than any writer on this site could understand and being impatient about it doesn’t actually help the situation here in the slightest.

    and here is a pretty good rebuttal:

    • Colonial Viper 20.1


      Leaving people waiting through the RWC in crapped out housing, freezing cold, not knowing which way is up and when things are happening, is not “complex” it is incompetent.

      It is not having a plan, it is not having a vision, it is not having an ability to move forwards, it is a market failure in progress.

      • M@tt 20.1.1

        Clearly you don’t know what’s going on in Christchurch.

        • Colonial Viper

          Clearly Brownlee, Key and English know – but they don’t give a shit. you must think that an improvement.

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      and here is a pretty good rebuttal:

      What a hopeless rebuttal. More like a list of excuses for the no-plan no-idea National Party.

      Firstly, money is no problem. Country has plenty of it. Last I looked the Reserve Bank counts almost $200B in circulation. That’s not even looking at the value of many assets classes held in private hands.

      English could apply an annual levy on each person earning over $50,000 p.a. for the next three years, and reverse the decrease in company taxes for the next five years. Right, that’s Christchurch paid for.

      • M@tt 20.2.1

        So the only solution you have is to tax the very people you’re pretending to help? Great, thank goodness you’re not power.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yes raise taxes on those who can most afford it.

          Because if you don’t you then have to:

          a) Borrow from the Chinese to pay for rebuilding Christchurch (perhaps we could give them naming rights over the city, what’s Chinese for Christchurch?)

          b) Sell the family silver to the Chinese. Then they can rename all our nice dams.

          • happynz

            “Borrow from the Chinese to pay for rebuilding Christchurch (perhaps we could give them naming rights over the city, what’s Chinese for Christchurch?)”

            I just learned it the other day. ‘基督城’ – jīdū chéng. The way things are going we’d better get used to it.

    • Treetop 20.3

      Matt first of all I am sorry that you live in Christchurch in its present state. Secondly people looking in from the outside see things differently than those who are ground down having to endure conditions which have been prolonged due to incompetence by the government.

      You all deserve a weeks holiday at Disneyland/an island paradise.

    • ianupnorth 20.4

      Like the others here M@tt I sympathise with your plight, but using DPF as a response to the criticism raised here is  pretty naive.
      I would go as far as saying the points raised in the article (where he does the 1 – 4 of reasons why Tubby Brownlee hasn’t acted) have been spoon fed to him
      In point one he says

      Have specific information down to the individual house level on whether their house must be demolished, may be demolished or is not affected. One can’t just refer generally to suburbs – you need to be able to give certainity (his and the Herald’s typo, not mine) about individual houses.

      I’m sorry, but you cannot and should not leave single houses in isolation, nor can you leave derelict or vacant land; now is the time to act, to identify appropriate land for rebuilding and to sort the mess out.
      And in point three he adds

      Just telling home owners their suburb is condemned without being able to tell them what will happen next would be somewhat cruel.

      I’d say keeping the suspense is far crueler!

      • Lanthanide 20.4.1

        “I’m sorry, but you cannot and should not leave single houses in isolation, nor can you leave derelict or vacant land; now is the time to act, to identify appropriate land for rebuilding and to sort the mess out.”
        I don’t think anyone has suggested that, except DPF. After 4th September it seemed plausible that some houses on some streets, or some streets, might be abandoned. But with the scope of the damage now, they simply can’t leave some houses dotted around on otherwise empty streets – the property value would plummet and there’d be no end of complaints, both from the residents and others.
        They do still have that problem around the borders of whatever areas they do write-off, though. It is going to come down to “this street is abandoned, but this street next to it is not” and the residents in that second street are probably going to want to have a damn good explanation why not.

    • Andy-Roo 20.5

      Thats a pretty paternalistic / nanny state attitude you have going on there M@tt…

      Why can we not give individuals the information that they need in order to allow them to make the decisions that can be made now, for themselves?

      Some of them will make bad decisons because the issues are complex. But many will not.

      And while we are talking about bad decisions, just remember that the people dealing with this stuff which is all too complex for the likes of me, are the same geniuses that came up with the idea of 16 square meter campervans for $200 a week as emergency accomodation. For which a grand total of ONE person applied.

      The connection may not seem to be immediately obvious. But there is an issue here of a fundamental lack of respect. I know that CERA were told by community housing organisations in Christchurch that no one would use these campervans, well in advance of any deals being signed or announcements being made. But why the hell should they listen to us?

      Or give us the information that we need.

      Or allow us to vote for our reigonal council.

      Or allow us to manage our own water resources.

      All these things are too complicated for the citizens of Christchurch.

      We would probably just whine and screw it up anyway, right?

      • Colonial Viper 20.5.1

        Why is the Government not giving Christchurch residents good information and good options?

        Why make people live in the cold unknown?

        What is this, some kind of tinpot developing country?

        • Draco T Bastard

          What is this, some kind of tinpot developing country?

          Well, it’s a country that the neo-liberals have been turning into a tinpot developing (into a poor) country. They’ve been quite successful at it so far as well. They actually have a majority of us believing that we can’t afford anything when we have all the resources needed to do pretty much anything we choose to do – if those resources were allocated rationally.

    • William Joyce 20.6

      It seems that Gerry wants to present a “Total Solution” all at once, like Moses coming down from the mountain with the tablets. (and the people will feast on orangutangs and anchovies and say what a great chap that Gerry is).
      What a pompous, incompetent git!
      Why was it not possible to develop a project timeline with the various milestones?
      You then develop a communication strategy that is inclusive and takes people with you.
      And then with each milestone you engage in a series of community meetings in which you tell people what has happened over the last phase and what they can expect over the next one.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.6.1

        That would require competent management of which NZ seems to be seriously lacking in. Especially in the managers on the right of the political spectrum.

    • prism 20.7

      Matt – Don’t be a doormat. Someone was saying recently that NZs have a tendency to follow authoritarian leaders. Don’t sit and wait for the nice man to get round to you or the people who are worse off than you, assert yourself, insist on timelines, the available information being provided and then updated so you know you are being treated as a responsible adult trying to make sensible decisions.

      • Colonial Viper 20.7.1

        Matt’s gonna be staunch and suck up the shit which is handed to him on a plate.

        Don’t worry Matt, Brownlee has your best interests at heart, really he does. In fact he’s having a sleepless night tonight wondering how he can help your family out ASAP.

  21. Lets pretend EQC have 5-? billion invested around the world. Once they start calling it in the value of their funds will plummet, so it is smarter to just pretend the paper money is worth something, and keep some sucker paying interest (which has to be borrowed) so who are ‘we’ investing in? what global fund is worth what it was 2-3 years ago? how damaged was EQC over this time? Do they hope to weather this storm with delay tactics and paying the minimal?
    Just wait to see this govt (or any for that matter) come clean on peak oil, like no we are not capable of rebuilding Chch , and no road is of significances going forward, except maybe old coach roads?
    And no investment is worth a fuck in this or any ponzi scammed economy, especially one built on growth
    Kiwi Saver is our Moai .
    We pretend to be so advanced, yet the Easter Islanders left more evidence of their existence than we will with our Moai
    Must be some Tui ads or t-shirts with EQC on them coming out.
    The system is broken, this is what collapse looks like.

  22. William Joyce 22

    Every trades person should add a late payment fee to every account they put into EQC that should be a punitive amount plus cost of obtaining finance until the bill is paid.
    Every overdue account should be filed as a separate claim in the small claims tribunal and the courts should be flooded with claims until Wellington (and in particular the responsible minister Bill English).

  23. HC 23

    As I wrote in another thread, the government should set up a special agency dealing with all insurance claims that home and business owners have as a result of the earthquakes. Affected insured people should be enabled to sign over their claims with EQC, AMI and other insurers to that special agency, which will follow up the individual claims in due course and get the compensation from the insurers. In the meantime they could issue government backed loans to the affected persons, so they can use these funds to rebuild in safer areas. This way things could be sped up. Sooner or later the government will have to inform the people affected, so this kind of delay is unacceptable, bearing in mind that most information is already available. People want certainty, and if whole areas are declared as unsuitable for development, then alternative areas must be opened up for re-settlement. Only the government in co-operation with the councils in the region can properly address all these needs. I am sure that there is a practical way to deal with the problems, but the government is using a laissez faire approach and lets individuals fight matters out with their various insurers. The claim that re-insurers are not coming up with the money is just an excuse for the government not to step in and hurry things up a bit. This is certainly not necessary, as I suggested above. It was a great mistake to let Brownlee get responsibility to oversee the affairs of cleaning up, repairing and rebuilding Christchurch. He could not organise a piss up in a brewery that man.

  24. john 24

    The Key media machine has come and gone with all its pomp and flutter
    Now Gerry’s arrived and to date bugger all alse
    Go luck Christchurch I think your going to need it

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