Forgotten Christchurch

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 22nd, 2013 - 22 comments
Categories: disaster, john key, national - Tags: ,

Today is the second anniversary of the most destructive of the Christchurch earthquakes. Condolences to the friends and families of the dead. Greetings to all who lived through it and remember.

As the government moves on with its own plans for the Christchurch city center, there is a second Christchurch that is largely forgotten:

Poverty strikes at home, children first victims

An increase in poverty-related illnesses and “Third World diseases” among Christchurch children is worrying health professionals and community workers.

Skin conditions such as scabies and ringworm are cropping up at city medical centres and primary schools as hundreds of families continue to live in overcrowded, damp homes almost two years after the Canterbury earthquakes. …

Some children are being sent home from school with contagious infections, and health professionals fear low-income families are shying away from medical treatment because they cannot even afford food. The problem appears to have hit the city’s Maori and Pacific Island communities hardest. …

Aranui Primary School principal Mike Allen said scabies, school sores and head lice were “anecdotally getting worse”. Jo Barlow, principal of Aranui’s St James School, had also seen a rise in scabies. Pre-earthquake, the disease was uncommon, but in the past two years at least five families had contracted it, she said.

The government’s response to the housing needs created by the earthquakes was inadequate from the start (remember the empty camper vans?). Too many families are still living in damp, unsafe conditions. Winter is coming again.

That’s the worst of the plight of Christchurch, but it’s by no means the whole story. Too many families are (as I can personally attest) still living with uncertainty and financial distress, a frustrating and erratic rebuilding process, and a complex insurance nightmare. Too many families feel forgotten by the government, and by the PM (for all his fine words his actions have been – lacking).

The Nats must know they’re in trouble in Christchurch, because they’re going to some trouble to try and spin some good news reports of public sentiment – see Gerry Brownlee in “Life in post-disaster Christchurch improving – survey“. Blogger James Dann (check out his blog Rebuilding Christchurch) comprehensively destroys Brownlee’s spin. Here’s a sample:

2381 people responded to the survey. 1156 of them were from Christchurch City, 618 from Selwyn District and 607 from Waimakariri District.

So that means that of the people who did respond, more than half (1225) aren’t actually from Christchurch. I mean no disrespect to the people of Rolleston, Lincoln, Rangiora, Kaiapoi etc. I am sure they have had a hard time. But they don’t have the same issues that people who actually live in the city do. They haven’t had to deal with a lack of services, portaloos, red zoning, TC3 land, roadworks to the same extent that people who live in the city do.

Good work from James Dann.

So, two years on, if the government is not interested in the forgotten people of Christchurch it is up to the rest of us to remember them, and keep their plight in the public eye. We might shame the Nats in to action yet.

22 comments on “Forgotten Christchurch”

  1. karol 1

    Condolences to those who lost people in the quakes. The people of Christchurch should always be remembered on this day, but especially those who are still suffering, and those who have been neglected or otherwise failed by our current government.

    Very good post, Anthony, which goes some way to ensuring those in poverty in Christchurch are not forgotten.

  2. tracey 2

    “Kaiapoi etc. I am sure they have had a hard time. But they don’t have the same issues that people who actually live in the city do.”

    I think these kind of broadbrush comments cut into the credibility of the article.

    the first earthquake, which is the forgotten earthquake had kaiapoi as its largest victim. My cousin’s home was completely destroyed and they were lucky to get out alive. Not an ounce of exaggeration. Her 23 year old son a fit squash player was thrown from his bed tot he far wall. Trying to get to his screaming mother downstairs he made it to the door only to be thrown against the opposite wall.

    Their entire exterior was enveloped by liquifaction and their road swallowed two cars.

    They have had to wait since Sept 2010 to get money for their house and still do not have it. They have been forced to engage lawyers to fight insurance.

    I agree they no longer have a portaloo in their area because they all were not permitted back into their homes, even to remove clothing (that’s how badly hit they were).

    Anyone who has friends or relatives in christchurch or has visited and driven around and spoken to people knows how terrible it was and still is for most.

    We need to highlight and push their predicament, but not by playing down other people’s strggles or losses.

    I suspect a number of kiwis have forgotten their was a major earthquake in 2010… because by some miracle no one died.

    • vto 2.1

      Yep, Kaiapoi got nailed alright and people have forgotten that.

      Part of the developing rebound is that centres to the north and west of the city (Rangiora, Lincoln, Rolleston, surrounds of Kaiapoi) and the northwest of the city itself are going nuts in the rebuild due to the population moving there and those effects. This has led to a splitting of effects now today – east still struggles, west and north are well into recovery, in fact past it. A city of many tales ….

      • tracey 2.1.1

        I was in Kaiapoi and rangiora a couple of weeks ago and the exodus from kaiapoi and christchurch is there to be seen. I worry about infrastructure support matching the housing development speed. My cousin relocated tot he city immediately following the 2010 earthquake and was promptly caught int he second one and their rental accommodation was destroyed! They are now out in the oxford/rangiora area

  3. vto 3

    Last night I felt the ground doing that long slow constant movement deep down again. No quakes (well, one) but just a constant moving of the earth, which I haven’t felt since Feb-June period. The bed was doing a long constant very small wobble. And there weren’t no trucks or buses going past. God I hope it aint going to fire up again. It won’t I’m sure…..

    But check this story out. It is quite something – not just the mother and daughter but also the father and his own luck. Pretty teary. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8337075/Mothers-survival-against-the-odds

    • tracey 3.1

      vto, I have been down several times since the Feb earthquake and was lucky enough to be down the week before the earthquake (rather than during as had previously been planned). The international parafed games were on, if you recall and all the athletes were housed in the grand chancellor (we were next door). I shudder to think of the further devastation had the games been on when the G Chancellor was struck full of disabled athletes.

      I have not been there for a single tremor but frequently they have been felt immediately before or after our stays. I am lucky. BUT everyone we spoke to said just when you think it’s the end you feel something, or a truck goes by and you get transported back tot he days of fear again.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Yep, they certainly get everyone’s back hairs on the vertical! I’m sure the rest of NZ is tiring of it all – we certainly are, but it remains real.

        Here is the geonet site which shows two small quakes early to later this morning http://geonet.org.nz/ which may be some evidence of the constant movement felt for a period.

    • ianmac 3.2

      VTO Thanks for the link. Remarkable magnificent survival. Great work too by those who rescued them. Even to the detail of the boys on skateboards clearing the way.

  4. Dr Terry 4

    My continuing deep sympathy for all who suffer still in Christchurch, my thoughts are very much with you today. Anthony, you mention so little real progress for all Key’s “fine words”. Well, who is to give the address with yet more “fine words” today but this very same man – now, who could have more “empathy or pity” than Mr Key? (rhetorical question) Who decided that he should speak on a sad occasion such as this, a situation to which his government has contributed so much additional misery. Not only that, but one report says that he will also be offering prayers! Is he the new Archbishop of New Zealand all of a sudden? To what “god” does Key turn in prayer (I leave it for you to guess)? And as for his government ever feeling “shame”! Sorry, but I am not a believer in such miraculous transformations!

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    “We might shame the Nats into some action yet.’

    The Nats could not care less what happens to the people of Christchurch. Never have. Never will.

    As energy depletion really starts to bite Christchurch will be largely abandoned. There is nothing there anyone needs and there will be no reason to stay. The current plan is to make some disaster capitalism profits while it is still possible.

    • Wayne 5.1

      That must be why the Govt is spending over $10 billion in Christchurch and will be building the central city with a 50 to 100 year plan.

      That must also be why the Govt has offered all insured red zone home owners the 2007 valuation, which over 90% have accepted. The whole reason was so homeowners would not be trapped into interminable disputes with their insurers, but could get along with rebuilding (I guess mostly in the west of the city).

      Seriously, this has been the biggest thing the Govt has to deal with. Clearly there is huge frustration, but progress has been made. You can expect a huge rebuild effort this year, now the land issues have been largely sorted, now that the insures seem to be dealing with the problems and now that the bulk of demolition work is complete in the central city.

      By the way the survey was corrected for the overbalance of less affected areas, so it is an accurate read of city attitudes.

      Most can see that progress is being made, but I imagine the people in TC3 will be the most frustrated, with land to be stabalised before repairs can start. (I have relatives in this situation and is very tiresome for them, but they are making the best of living in their broken home) Actually it is almost harder than being red zoned where at least people get a fresh start, but they also have their memories, so that is also hard.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        That must be why the Govt is spending over $10 billion in Christchurch and will be building the central city with a 50 to 100 year plan.

        No, the reason why they did that was so that they could give even more of our money to their rich mates. After all, they totally ignored the wishes of the people in Chch.

        That must also be why the Govt has offered all insured red zone home owners the 2007 valuation, which over 90% have accepted. The whole reason was so homeowners would not be trapped into interminable disputes with their insurers, but could get along with rebuilding (I guess mostly in the west of the city).

        And yet what they should have done was told the insurers to pay out the full amount for the property rather than protect the insurers from having to pay out.

        Seriously, this has been the biggest thing the Govt has to deal with.

        Yep, it is and they’re doing it wrong due to the fact that they’re more concerned with protecting the multi-nationals than doing right by the people of Chch.

        By the way the survey was corrected for the overbalance of less affected areas, so it is an accurate read of city attitudes.

        When they re;ease the methodology I’ll believe that. Until then I’ll believe that they’re lying.

        Most can see that progress is being made

        Yep, at about a tenth of the pace it should be and NACT are walking all over the rights of the people living there so that their rich mates can be made better off.

        • Fortran 5.1.1.1

          DTB
          I thought the Insurance companies were not Government owned so how can any Government TELL them what to do.
          AMI is funded now by Taxpayers money to settle all legitimate claims, when AMI ran out of funds. Government did not have to do this with taxpayers money.
          All other insurance companies are privately owned, so I cannot see them being told what to settle. You would soon run out of any insurance companies if you did try.
          They all have different policies, terms and conditions, so you only get what you pay for.
          Who sold State to the Poms who onsold to the Aussies ?

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1

            I thought the Insurance companies were not Government owned so how can any Government TELL them what to do.

            It’s fairly simple.

            If you wish to have a license to continue operating as an insurance company in NZ, these are our expectations of you.

            If you do not wish to undertake commitments to meeting these expectations, you will be given time to exit the market in an orderly fashion while we acquire and nationalise your client base.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2

            You would soon run out of any insurance companies if you did try.

            ?

            The NZ government operated its own insurance company for decades.

            The privateers can fuck off if it does not suit them to be here.

  6. BLiP 7

    .

    Kia kaha, Christchurch.

  7. vto 8

    Another one. Prepare thy survival bags.

  8. millsy 9

    Feel the teeth marks in your rear end?

    That’s the government’s sale of the MOW and the insurance companies.

    And the government’s restructure of education in the city underlines the fact that chopping the education boards was a little bit mistaken.

  9. Anonymous 10

    The city will be rebuilt but I hold no attachment to it anymore, some monstrous sprawling capitalistic environment built for the companies that wish to continue to extract money from us. Do we in Christchurch have a dream of something other than a corporate coup of our space. The central city that could become a place designed and built by and for the community. Pessimism reigns, those with the money and the power will have access to the land before anyone else.

    The green belt, a token gesture, while many celebrated I merely became more despondent. Plans exist now, but their shape and form will most likely metamorphose over the years of the rebuild. I doubt there will be room for much green space in the city, as it isn’t cost effective.

    Meanwhile, the plight of those outside of the rebuild continues to grow. The irony of watching the rebuild get underway in earnest while walking through neighborhood streets full of empty and decaying homes, though still usable, the basic shelter of which is unavailable to many is not lost on this individual.

    A level of anger and frustration comes to mind, but is quickly tempered by one of the options left to me. Ignorance is bliss.

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Urgent action needed on dirty rivers
    The Our Fresh Water Environment 2017 report re-confirms that we need urgent action to clean up our rivers. Meanwhile, National is standing by as our rivers get even more polluted, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “This report is yet ...
    12 hours ago
  • Where there’s smoke and mirrors, there’s Steven Joyce
    Steven Joyce’s much vaunted pre-Budget speech is simply an underwhelming response to the infrastructure deficit National has created, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has belatedly come to the realisation that everyone else has a long time ago, ...
    12 hours ago
  • Time to stamp out cold, mouldy rentals
    New figures show a small number of landlords are letting down the sector by renting cold, mouldy rentals. These houses need to be brought up to a decent standard for people to live in by Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Bill, ...
    2 days ago
  • Time for fresh approach on immigration
    Latest figures showing another record year for immigration underlines the need for an urgent rethink on how this country can continue to absorb so many people, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealand needs immigrants and is all the better ...
    2 days ago
  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    3 days ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    7 days ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    7 days ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    1 week ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    1 week ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 weeks ago
  • Govt drops ball on Masters Games housing squeeze
    Families currently living in emergency accommodation face being forced out onto the street as motel accommodation in Auckland is filled up by contestants and visitors of the World Masters Games in coming weeks, says Labours social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • State inquiry for Nga Morehu – The Survivors of State Abuse
    The Prime Minister must show humanitarian leadership and launch an independent inquiry into historic claims of abuse of children who were in State care, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Coleman – ‘overwhelmed by disinterest’ and ‘conked out’
    Today’s trenchant criticism of the Government’s health policy by Ian Powell the executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists must trigger action by the Minister, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago