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Christchurch anniversary

Written By: - Date published: 6:50 am, September 4th, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: ,

I can’t really call it a “happy” anniversary, but two years ago today, in the small hours of the morning, Christchurch was hammered by the first and biggest (though not the most destructive) of the quakes. I happened to be in the city, where I grew up, and that is a night that I will never forget.

I heard via RNZ this morning that emergency response planners are meeting to analyse how the event was handled, and learn lessons from the future. From my point of view on the ground the immediate emergency response seemed adequate, both on this occasion, and in the days immediately following the February 2011 quake.

What has not in any way been adequate is the response of the insurance industry. I have heard very very few stories of satisfactory insurance outcomes, and many of endless delay and frustration. I shudder to think of what would be happening without the massive government intervention in the forms of the EQC and the government red-zone buyout package.

Having said that, EQC needs to lift its game as well. From Stuff’s anniversary coverage:

Exactly two years on, half the city’s quake-hit homeowners are unhappy with the Earthquake Commission’s performance.

The Press has commissioned a survey of Christchurch residents’ satisfaction with EQC and the private insurance market. The results are harsh, empirical evidence that neither is performing as it should. Fifty per cent of those with an EQC property claim expressed some level of dissatisfaction with the commission’s performance. Within that, more than half were “very” or “extremely” dissatisfied. Conversely, less than one third – 29 per cent – said they were “very” or “extremely” satisfied.

Disorganisation, delays and a lack of communication were the most cited reasons for customers’ frustration.

Almost one third of property claimants – 30 per cent – said they could not move on with their lives.

EQC Canterbury events manager Reid Stiven acknowledged the numbers were not good enough. “Obviously we’d like [satisfaction] to be much higher that that.”

Greetings to all in Christchurch, and good luck with the rebuild of the city. Get involved and have your say…

52 comments on “Christchurch anniversary”

  1. Zorr 1

    Combining some knowledge of EQC from the inside (just processing claims) and knowing my own in-laws struggles to get their payouts from EQC and their insurance company (once they went over the threshold), the main issue comes from the insurers and EQC just happens to be the unhappy middle man. It is a flawed organization by nature because it doesn’t have the power it needs to get the job done, private insurers never will (because they take on too much risk to cover these large events) and this leaves the homeowners in the cold.

    EQC was formed because of the fear of such an event as occurred in Christchurch (as far as my understanding goes) but went untested until we found we’d essentially lost a city. I was there for the September quake, gone before the February quake and unlikely to return any time soon (and I love that city) due to the continuing lack of cohesive plan.

  2. Carol 2

    While I was typing a comment for another post on TS, there was a guy being interviewed on RNZ Morning Report (who?).

    I wasn’t listening closely, but I noticed with interest, that one of his criticisms of the Brownlee-dominated CERA, was the lack of women working for it.

    Sounds like typical of this government: one that claims a sports stadium is a state asset to hold onto, while utility assets are sold; and gives women MPs portfolios with secondary (social issues) status, and that are at the forefront of running distractions and diversions; while they pursue their main destructive and elitist agenda via the economic and finance portfolios.

    • It was Garry Moore, former three term mayor of Christchurch.  He retired before the current incumbent took over and left on his own terms.  He was a damn good mayor and the way he spoke he is really pissed off.  He is normally a very cheerful person.

    • Dv 2.2

      Sutton said he had a bunch of women in (some) organization!!!

      • Rodel 2.2.1

        Dv: That’s the sort of clarity of thought and communication that gets you $10,000 a week and he said he tries to get weekends off.

      • mike e 2.2.2

        Canterbury cronyism the National party are busy stripping as much of the assets built up by the likes of Gary Moore as they can.
        CHCH was the only major council to hold on to most of their assets when Shipley was PM now she is in Cera’s pig trough wallowing with Brownoselee and Sutton on extremely high retainers.
        Coming up with ideas to bankrupt CHCH since they failed before.
        Heil CERA
        Then we have the CEO suing for his untimely pay rise if the quake hadn’t happened I doubt if he would be their because of under performance!
        The dictatorship of Canterbury

      • Glg 2.2.3

        You cant run an organisation without a couple of good secretaries.

  3. Rosie 3

    To the People of Christchurch

    I send you love, strength and solidarity on todays anniversary. If theres such a thing as an athiests prayer, you have that from me.

    Theres so many of you that two years on are still suffering loss, grief, anxiety and uncertainty, and then were further affected in February 11 when loved ones, friends and work mates were lost. I can only begin to imagine what it would be like to cope the scale of disaster that you have had to cope with but then to have a void where the practical support should be is wrong and shocking beyond belief. It seems you were shafted and then abandoned by insurance companies and your own goverment while the market was left to sort it out and get their priorities in order first. You’ve had to fight when you shouldn’t have to. I only hope that you’re doing ok in your own ways and you get the help and answers that you need.

    Kia Kaha.

    • Carol 3.1

      +1
      And so many of the Christchurch residents have shown resilience and courage.

      I hope things improve for them all before too long.

  4. Andy-Roo 4

    TC3 = Me

    I walk 3.5 ks every morning to the bus stop.

    Every street I use on that walk is currently in the process of being dug up.

    I think the SCIRT team here are doing a fantastic job. Wish I could say the same about CERA, EQC and the insurers. My “emergency” repairs got “dropped off the list somehow” twice. I still have no idea when my house will be fixed. I do know that I will have to fight hard to stop corners from being cut, and that I will definitely need to have a nice warm lawyer in my corner.

  5. vto 5

    A few random earthquake observations …..

    1. emergency kits are invaluable …

    2. don’t trust you insurer or eqc.

    3. don’t trust any large organisation.

    4. go into the cbd and raid the banks whose vaults lay busted open. jewellery shops are also a hoot.

    5. start a bar of cafe on the fringe of destruction. also start a demolition company and buy a truck and a digger.

    6. be prepared for high blood pressure, increased stress levels, more drinking (buy a bottle store), …

    well anyway, on it goes. Personally I don’t like it at all – it sucks. Sure there is now great opportunity and bla bla bla but everything is busted, especially when you live east. But the city and all its memories are gone. It is all very weird, especially when driving through the cbd and picturing all the places and haunts where you lived and loved and played and worked. All ripped away. It’s like a war zone and feels like it. So much history and memory and life just gone. It sucks.

    • Rosie 5.1

      That weirdness sounds so unsettling. Seeing old haunts that housed memories gone. That is a form of grief.
      Don’t mean to be on a downer, its just so odd to comprehend it.
      On a practical note I acknowledge your tips. Lots of us in Wgtn took keen note of what Cantabrians’ experienced and got organised with emergency preparedness. It was sobering to take our blase approach to earthquakes seriously. Once earthquakes never raised an eyebrow but now its different, especially when we have bigger than usual ones.

  6. Kevyn 6

    The private sector insurance industry has taken a hit that has only previously been matched by Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake. It’s a well documented fact tha America’s largest insurers temporarily withdrew from Florida and California until the state governments relaxed their disaster insurance regulations. It is surprising indeed that there hasn’t been talk from insurers of a similar withdrawal from NZ, unless those are the “conversations with insurers” Brownlee refered to when announcing the Red Zone confiscations. Does anybody know why the $2.5bn worth of property in the redzone were only insured for $1.5bn leaving taxpayers to cough for the $1bn shortfall, or is this something we’re not supposed to talk about?

    • Fortran 6.1

      Perhaps property owners had a friendly (and cheap) Valuer so they can get a lower cost insurance.
      Did they think that they could get a free lunch ? –
      Previous Councils, over many years, have ignored professional advice from such as IGNS (ex DSIR), because it was politically undesirable, and they never thought it could happen to them.
      Christchurch – really – nasty Wellington yes.
      Lucky the taxpayers from all of New Zealand are bailing them out – for incompetance and bad business management.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Perhaps property owners had a friendly (and cheap) Valuer so they can get a lower cost insurance.

        Hmmmm I think you are making a few too many assumptions here.

        I just can’t see insurance companies falling for systematic under valuing of large numbers of properties in a suburb. They have total access to indpendent valuation and sales price data, and routine data matching would pick up a systematic discrepency like that very quickly.

        • Kevyn 6.1.1.1

          Precisely, Viper. From personally experiences within my family and friends I suspect the govt has agreed to take whatever offers the insurers make and not use the Crown Law office to negotiate the full payouts specified in the contracts. “confiscation” being an ethical definition rather than legal, although some insurers have used that excuse to persuade there customers to take option 1.

      • mike e 6.1.2

        Fartrain wealthy unscrupulus property developers are all over the country.They don’t vote left but most likely vote Tory Act.
        Cost cutting corrupt councillors and public servants allowing subdivisions on swamps.
        Dunedin has had a few incidents of that as well.
        But National is trying to make it more difficult than need be 80% of NewZealanders wanted to pay more tax to help CHCH in its hour of need.
        But borrowing Bills English said we can just put it on the TAB.

    • joe90 6.2

      America’s largest insurers temporarily withdrew

      http://www.coastalpoint.com/content/insurers_abandon_coastal_market

      “Nationally, insurance companies have been not renewing homeowners policies in the coastal areas or have been putting new restrictions on policies,” Denn said. “These actions are being taken by companies seeking to reduce their potential losses from future hurricanes and coastal storms following financial payouts from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.”

      “After those storms, more than 600,000 homeowners policies were canceled or not renewed in Florida and Louisiana and more than 80,000 coastal policies were cancelled in Massachusetts and New York,” he noted.

      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-insurance,0,1503989.storygallery

    • Phil 6.3

      ‘It is surprising indeed that there hasn’t been talk from insurers of a similar withdrawal from NZ, unless those are the “conversations with insurers” Brownlee refered to when announcing the Red Zone confiscations.’

      Exactly.

      ‘Does anybody know why the $2.5bn worth of property in the redzone were only insured for $1.5bn leaving taxpayers to cough for the $1bn shortfall, or is this something we’re not supposed to talk about?’

      “Property” includes both land and buildings. Buildings were fully insured for the most part, land only has very limited cover available through EQC, and EQC’s definition of land damage doesn’t liquefaction or heightened seismic risk. Also, as you say, the red zone was a “confiscation” by the government and all insurance policies explicitly exclude cover for government confiscation.

  7. fnjckg 7

    i lived i christchurch for six, may have been seven, years
    i learnt that when city was initially settled pumps ran around the clock to keep the natural water level down-regretably, it is a swamp; maori referred to much of the area as a “food basket” or kai gathering area, as it is, was, and will remain, a wetlands

    furthermore, the inevitability of liquifaction following a seismic event was broad public knowledge

    and then, the alpine fault

    During some periods of winter it can be cold, with a grey sky, and no sun, for day after day after day
    (i counted 11-14 days like this at times)

    the level of racial intolerance and general aquisitiveness, i found extraordinary

    Oh well. every article i see on the region, i feel a little more sadness inside

    so, the main reason i chose not to remain there was Nature
    (and i think the incumbant V.C is not a very helpful man)

    • Populuxe1 7.1

      During some periods of winter it can be cold, with a grey sky, and no sun, for day after day after day
      (i counted 11-14 days like this at times)

      Oh open another bottle of whine and call the whaaaambulance – imagine that! Cold in winter! And sometimes overcast! I suggest you avoid London, New York and several other cities in Europe and North America as it might be too much for you.

      the level of racial intolerance and general aquisitiveness, i found extraordinary

      Compared to where? Despite the presence of Kyle Chapman and his idiots, I’ve seen as much racial intolerance on the streets of Auckland than I ever have in Christchurch. I think you must have been hanging out in the rougher parts of town. Whenever I hear statements like this I wonder about what place you are comparing Christchurch to, and what your basis for comparison is.

      • fatty 7.1.1

        “I think you must have been hanging out in the rougher parts of town. Whenever I hear statements like this I wonder about what place you are comparing Christchurch to, and what your basis for comparison is.”

        True…I think the same. I have found Christchurch just as (in)tolerant as anywhere. I here this often from people and I don’t get it. I also don’t know about the acquisitiveness, maybe some people, but I thought less so compared to other parts of NZ.
        I also find the winters in Chch to be quite sunny.

  8. vto 8

    Christchurch has pretty much the most going for it of any place in the country. It has effectively two ports (Akaroa can take a whole navy). It sits in the lee of the mountains and so gets a very pleasant climate most of the time – certianly not of the wind and rain of other large cities. It has a large flat area for airports. It is the first / last stop to Antarctica, which is sure to boom over the next decades and centuries. It has farmland all over the whole place. It has water coming out its ears. It is as remote from dangerous parts of the world as anywhere.

    On most measures it stacks up as one of the most liveable places on the planet. Its population, like that of the entire countrys, will rise like water finding its level to a multiple of that today.

    Meantime, we need to sweep up the mess and fix the broken shit. What a pain in the backside.

    • MrSmith 8.1

      You paint a very bright picture VTO but forgot to mention when you do get a nice day the freezing easterly comes roaring in and spoils things and don’t forget the smog and freezing temperatures in the winter, yes there is a harbor all be it dirty with hardly a fish in it, the only thing I can see that CHCH has going for it is it’s flat sorry, anyway I left the place years ago and will only be going back in a pine box now.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about – the occasional easterly is inevitable because, wow, gosh, look at that, it’s near the sea. Over a decade of open fire bans have dramatically reduced the smog problem (I suggest you avoid large cities elsewhere if you’re that sensitive) and the harbour (It’s a separate town – you may have forgotten – called Lyttelton) is full of warehou, red cod and yellow eyed mullet. I’m not sure they’d want you back, pine box or no.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Hey Christchurch, hope your National MPs are doing it for you.

    • Populuxe1 9.1

      You’re all class CV – maybe if more Labour and Green supporters had bothered to vote at all….

    • fatty 9.2

      “Hey Christchurch, hope your National MPs are doing it for you.”

      Actually, they suck balls. That for me was the worst part of the last 2 years. I’d rather have another big quake, than have Nicky Sagner. Also voting back Bob Parker – and then the whole country got a Bob-boner, which made it even worse.

  10. millsy 10

    That biting feeling in our rear end is the sale of the state insurance services and the removal of engineering, scientific and technical expertise from the public service (ie the break up of the Ministry of Works), by the way.

    • vto 10.1

      Agreed millsy. One other lesson from the quakes is that one of the most important “infrastructure” items you can have after such an event is the institutional knowledge of a long-term workforce in the public sector. Such people as draining engineers in the local Council – essential. Or a bridge / civil engineer in the Ministry of Works – invaluable. These people have the detailed and long knowledge that a “contracted out” party simply lacks. Contracting out is plain dumb, in many many ways.

  11. Kevyn 11

    Those oldfashioned organisations were only necessary when everything was paper based and institutional knowledge was vital for rapidly accesssing plans. With appropriate use of modern technology such as GIS and RAMM and multidisciplinary intraorganisational structures there is no need for behemoths such the MoWD, with one critical exception- transparent and incredibly detailed accounting, something MoWD did exceptionally well. Instead we’ve ended up with the CERF slushfund allocating $750m to the category “other”, which I suspect is code for NZTA who are a bit short of money for the future PMs hobby horse highway.

    Please note that the exceptionally smooth, rapid and inspirational emergency responses were the result of the modern methods alluded to above but the useless pricks in the Beehive have taken the credit for themselves, as well as not crediting the urban planning done by CCC and GCUD over the last decade for identifying all the potential subdividable land and laying the groundwork for the mixed use carfree central city concept. A- to local govenrment, D- to central government, IMHO.

    See for yourself how totally expected these earthquakes and there damage were in this 1997 Canterbury University publication “Risks and Realities: ?A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Vulnerability of Lifelines to Natural Hazards”
    http://www.caenz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100%3Arisks-and-realities-a-multidisciplinary-approach-to-the-vulnerability-of-lifelines-to-natural-hazards&catid=8&Itemid=54

    • Murray Olsen 11.1

      An old fashioned organisation like the Ministry of Works and Development could also have built a heap of emergency housing in a hurry, possibly with help from the army. Instead we see dictatorial powers being assumed in a hurry, a few Tories invited to pig out at the trough, and people without shelter while the army is used to give legitimacy to American imperial adventures. It’s hard to think of a 3rd world country that would have done a worse job of fixing a ravaged city. My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Those oldfashioned organisations were only necessary when everything was paper based and institutional knowledge was vital for rapidly accesssing plans. With appropriate use of modern technology such as GIS and RAMM and multidisciplinary intraorganisational structures there is no need for behemoths such the MoWD

      “Old fashioned organisations”? Seriously? Your ‘modern’ private organisations have served NZ better have they? I for one believe that a massive state owned insurance company, like we used to have, would have sorted out most Christchurch issues by now.

      I’m also fascinated that you think that technological and IT solutions can make up for a short fall in on-the-ground institutional and human expert knowledge.

      There is also the element that an “old fashioned organisation” like the MoWD could have acted far differently using “old fashioned” public good motivations, instead of “modern” for-profit private sector motivations.

      • Kevyn 11.2.1

        Viper, If you want to conflate modern with private sector and oldfashioned with public sector that is your prerogative but please don’t suggest that my comments contained that inference in any way at all. The fact is modern technology combined with modern multidisciplinary organisation make “on-the-ground institutional and human expert knowledge” less critical. It makes no difference whether the organisation is public or private. The MoWD would have acted exactly the same as the contractors who have done such a brilliant job so far because its the same type of people who are attracted to doing that sougth of work no matter who their employer is.

        However insurance is a different thing altogether, they’re all run by the John Keys of this world so I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment ” I for one believe that a massive state owned insurance company, like we used to have, would have sorted out most Christchurch issues by now.” but, with the smiling assassin in charge would they have been allowed to sort things out, after all EQC is still waiting for English to approve the selling of EQCs last $1.5bn of Government Bonds so it can have the money for the payouts.

        note, the posts on my blog are sarcasm and taking the p*** out of neoliberalism. Some of us down here are too angry to write what we’ve uncovered without going ballistic and sounding like tin hat conspiracy theorists.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    I am not trying to defend EQC or the insurance industry, which I agree that both have a lot of scope to lift their game, and I agree with a lot of the sentiments expressed above.

    However, I think a fair point is that the TC3 areas are highly vulnerable to further seismic activity. We have had three 6+ magnitude aftershocks that have occurred after periods when the aftershocks seem to be dying away. Each of these aftershocks has caused considerable damage with liquifaction etc to TC3 areas.

    The problem is that if major repairs are done and then another aftershock occurs, all the work and money might well be wasted. I have seen this several times in my son’s girlfriend’s street. After each aftershock the council has relaid the street. The next aftershock has turned it back into a swamp again. I have thought it would probably have been better just to have left the street in shingle until it is unlikely there will be any more large aftershocks.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Sounds like people need new homes in new areas, and that can be covered by insurance/the Govt.

      I have thought it would probably have been better just to have left the street in shingle until it is unlikely there will be any more large aftershocks.

      Do you happen to have a date for this? Because instead of living in a sediment swamp for the next few years, those people might need to be permanently relocated.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        We have the likes of Wigram Skies that is a fairly major subdivision on TC1 land. It will be a whole new suburb by the time it is finished, I expect.

        My parents have built there after their home was red zoned. There are sections coming on line I am aware of, but they still have to go through a hearing processes to allow for objections etc. I guess CERA could ram the subdivisions through, but we all like democracy here, right?

        • fatty 12.1.1.1

          “but we all like democracy here, right?”

          Christchurch with democracy?…that would be nice

    • vto 12.2

      ” After each aftershock the council has relaid the street.”

      Bloody hell she’s lucky. Ours is just left as is, bumpy as all hell, with ever increasing pot holes. Bounce bump bounce bump bomp-de-knock bump bump bounce.

      • tsmithfield 12.2.1

        Yeah, it must be quite frustrating. We have had a number of pot holes that keep reappearing down our street, and we are TC2 in a good area. In the end, the council dug up the road under the potholes and replaced sections of pipe. It seems that leaking pipes must undermine the road and cause potholes.

        So, if that is what it is like in my area, I can imagine your whole street will need to be excavated given likely damage to underground pipes etc in your area. The scale of the work is probably on another level. My impression is they are going for the low hanging fruit at the moment.

        For instance, we had Fletchers come through and repair our house. They found over $10000 of damage. Most of it was hair line cracks where the jib had moved slightly and caused a crack in the paint at the joint. The repainted most of our house interior as a result. Also, a few cosmetic cracks in the mortar of the bricks that required the mortar to be ground out and replaced. If they hadn’t pointed it out the “problems”, I wouldn’t have noticed.

        I felt a bit guilty that they were focusing on this sort of stuff when there is much greater need. On the other hand, I guess they are doing what they are able to do at the moment given the complexities of insurance etc in TC3 land.

        • Keep in mind that there’s an issue with some claims needing to be held for various reasons (including everything awaiting TC3 drilling information) and that all mid-level claims that aren’t under 15k or to be paid cap are moved to Fletcher EQR, so you get into this dichotomy where the fastest claims to settle (and thus the ones that are usually the priority) are BOTH the hardest and the easiest claims, but many of the in-between claims with Fletchers will take a long time to be fully settled given they’re actually mostly being project-managed by Fletchers.

  13. MrSmith 13

    For me the big problem I have still have is I paid my EQC levies for years, which I will add is nothing more than a great big insurance policy covering the first 100-115k of damage to your home in the event of an earthquake, when I needed to use this policy the response from EQC was and still is hopeless, I have said it here before ‘people don’t worry about an earthquake’ as the quake will be the least of your worries dealing with EQC is like waking up every morning knowing your have to spend the rest of the day sitting in the dentists chair.

    Here was a perfect opportunity to train people and get this organization knocked into shape and 2 years later they are still running around Brownlee’s feet like headless chickens, while he and the big Shipley, plan how they can siphon as much money and business to their mates.

    • How was the response hopeless? Is your claim still under review? What are you claiming for?

      • MrSmith 13.1.1

        I could go on for hours Matthew, about the emails that have never been replied to, the calls that where never answered, but like my suit said either you pay me to sit waiting on the phone for someone to answer or you wait on the phone for someone to answer. I have been dealing with EQC over several claims from day one but won’t bore you with details, when they did answer the phone the poor person on the other end couldn’t help you, they would promise to get back to you and look into it, then the silence would be defining, so a week later you would try again etc etc etc.

  14. Lanthanide 14

    And to cap it all off, we’ve got a rather large thunder storm going on right now. Probably the biggest lightning I’ve ever seen.

    Just getting some sparse but large hail – 1cm in size.

  15. Vicky32 15

    Once again, after listening to Radio NZ early this morning, I ask myself why the media seems not to give a monkey’s about those who were renting at the time. A friend of mine was renting, his flat was destroyed and he (uncompensated) was made homeless.
    Afaik, he’s gone to the UK, probably with family help..
    What about the rest?
    It may be mean of me, but when I hear people whingeing, like the man I heard this morning – moaning because he was using the ‘compensation’ he got for his house to pay his rent despite that he’s working (why?) I just get annoyed with them.
    The twin earthquakes in Iran on August 12th killed upwards of 250 people.

    • Lanthanide 15.1

      In a country with the population of Iran, that’s really not many people.

    • Kevyn 15.2

      It’s not mean Vicky, its just a classic example of “ignorance is bliss”.

      The situation, which every rebuild/write-off homeowner is confronted with, is that in the months it takes to build a house they are having to pay rates and insurance on the new section, having also had to pay rates and insurance on the damaged property while waiting for the insurance company/government to payout and having to pay rent because the rental cover in insurance policies is limited to 12 months. He is having to do this because NZ is the only OECD country that allows collection of property taxes on uninhabitable houses and because the insurance companies aren’t issuing new policies in Canterbury so even if the new section is in a subdivision that is only a plan on paper there will have been a foundation stone laid on his section before he accepted settlement in order to transfer his existing policy to his new house otherwise he would have ceased to be an existing customer as soon as he accepted the settlement offer and thus would not have been able to ensure a replacement home in Canterbury.

      What was your renting friend expecting to be compensated for that wouldn’t have been covered by contents insurance or a Red Cross grant?

      The Canterbury quakes are the most expensive national disaster per capita in the history of the OECD, and the NZ media don’t give a damn about that either,so I find it hard to understand why you are carrying on as though they are minor just because we don’t have enough people in New Zealand to ever be able to be slaughtered in the same numbers as happens in more populous countries.

      • Vicky32 15.2.1

        What was your renting friend expecting to be compensated for that wouldn’t have been covered by contents insurance or a Red Cross grant?

        No, he wasn’t.. but afaik, all he had was contents insurance. Luckily he was able to spend some time sleeping on a friend’s couch, because he had nothing at all, as a renter who was on a sickness benefit (he has a blood disease). When I think of him, I get brassed off about middle class people who don’t seem to realise that they’re comparatively well off!
        IMO, the NZ media give many millions of damns! 3 News has just started with another item about the CTV building. I suspect that on the 10th anniversary, we’ll still be hearing about it the day before, on the day and the day after. NZ is so parochial, that a disaster ‘off-shore’ matters only if it happens in, or is linked to the USA (such as the quake in Costa Rica, which Radio NZ kept blatting on about this morning.) 
        All I have heard about Tokyo/Fukushima since it happened has been on here!

        • Kevyn 15.2.1.1

          Media coverage is based on the “nearest and dearest” principal since that is how most people rank the relative importance of information. Hence you will observe the same parochial media bias everywhere in the world, on almost every subject. Better get used to it, its evolutionary reality.

          The NZ media parrots the stats released by the government, covers items of huge importance to the nations property investors and features lots of angry or crying people on Cambell. But it doesn’t give a damn about the fact the New Zealand earthquakes are THE BIGGEST IN HISTORY OF THE OECD, on a per capita basis. Twice as big as the Japanaese Tsunami, four times bigger than Kobe, ten time bigger than the Queensland floods or Hurricane Katrina yet the cost to taxpayers outside Canterbury is no higher than in any of those events whilst the cost to taxpayers and ratepayers in Canterbury is TWENTY times more than in any of those events. That’s the point that I said the news media don’t give a damn about, and why should they, after all they all live in Auckland, a long way from Christchurch, and the govt has bent over backwards to stop the insurance cos from pulling out of NZ and crashing property values so for them (the media execs) the earthquakes aren’t a problem, they are entertainment. Its the quality of the coverage that appalls me rather than the quantity.

  16. Vicky32 16

    In a country with the population of Iran, that’s really not many people.

    Which is not really the point – I ought to have added that the huge indifference of the NZ media made me very cross.
    On the weekend, there was a fairly large quake in Indonesia. I know about it because I read about in Corriere delle Sere online, and because one of my Thai students was agitated about it, because of the possibility of more flooding hitting Thailand.
    If an Italian newspaper cares, surely we ought to?
    Afaik, the NZ media didn’t give a damn. I heard no mention of it in NZ, and I am a news junkie… 🙁
     

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