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Round 3 in the Eastern – one week on

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, June 22nd, 2011 - 62 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: ,

It’s been a tough week.

Right now Christchurch is a city of two halves. I am fortunate enough to work on the west side of town, but unlucky enough to live on the east side.

It feels odd to write about an east west divide in Christchurch, although in some ways it has always been there. It’s just never been a big factor to most people – never been as in your face as it is now.

A colleague at work volunteered this weekend and spent some time digging out in Avonside. Good on him. He had energy, and enthusiasm and a genuine desire to help those in need. More energy than I can muster right now – in any case.

He came to work today full of stories of the things that he had seen, and appalled at the conditions he saw people living in. Rightly so. The things he saw, are appalling. The conditions many people are living in are unbelievable.

But that wasn’t what struck me as I was talking to him. What I felt most strongly was surprise. Surprise that he was expecting to see anything different.

Those pictures you are seeing on the TV and on the web are real.

They have been real for nine months.

I feel the need to say it again.

Those pictures you are seeing on the TV and on the web are real.

I hate writing this next sentence, because I have always liked to focus on the vision of my community as being strong, and for the most part capable and caring. But right now, the people around me are just tired, and traumatised.

A sense of community remains, but for many of us it is turning inward. I don’t really want to list all of the reasons why. But the fact is that most of us know that despite the good intentions of the wider community in New Zealand and the very genuine sympathy that many people feel for our situation, we are no longer a fresh story.

We are an unplanned expense in the country’s budget, or an excuse to sell state assets, or a source of quirky one liners for a humorous book.

Or a group of people who “build their lives around complaining”.

I am not a man who is by nature a victim. So I will admit to feeling real and genuine anger when I read the above statement. It just seemed so casual. Cheap point scoring at the expense of others. A shameful way to behave.

My reaction was disproportionate, and I have tried to turn it into something more positive. The motivation to write this piece.

I hope that when you read it you will understand my community more, and what we are going through. I am not going to ask anyone for sympathy. We know that we have that. I will ask you to try to understand us though, and what we need.

Andy-Roo

62 comments on “Round 3 in the Eastern – one week on ”

  1. grumpy 1

    Hi Andy,

    As a member of the “Farmy Army” on saturday, I too saw at first hand some of the situation you describe.

    However, I found people in quite good spirits, especially the older ones. One family in a badly hit house was holding a lunchtime dinner party and told us “don’t worry about our place, we’ll sort it out later”. There is no doubt people are vulnerable, just as there is no doubt that most are as tough as boots.

    What I cannot condone is the using of these people to score cheap political points by Labour, using vulnerable and those not handling things well as political pawns is distasteful.

    We have “refugees” living with us and their battles with insurance is horrendous. Surprisingly they have no problems with EQC but the insurance companies are almost impossible to deal with (pressure from reinsurers????).

    If you watch TV and listen to the Labour politicians, you could get the impression of scared, frightened and despondent people, although they exist, they are certainly not the majority.

    While we were working the City Council staff (who were shifting the liquifaction that we had wheelbarrowed out onto the road onto trucks) were only working half days. As a result, when it rained on Sunday night, it all retuirned to sludge and went back to where we had shifted it from.

    The CERA, Christchurch City Council and Army need to sort themselves out.

    • r0b 1.1

      What I cannot condone is the using of these people to score cheap political points by Labour, using vulnerable and those not handling things well as political pawns is distasteful.

      I take issue with that grumpy.  Labour did not politicise these quakes.  It even supported the CERA legislation (which I think was a mistake).

      Now it is advocating for those who need help.  Which is exactly what it should be doing.  To call that scoring “cheap political points” is just playing politics yourself.

      But cheers for your help in the Farmy Army.  It’s great the way people are pitching in.

      • grumpy 1.1.1

        Either “cheap political points” or they have absolutely no idea what a law to themselves the insurances companies are. Many people are now only dealing through lawyers. How the government is going to get insurers and reinsurers sorted in able to remove whole areas is beyond me – how would Labour do it….???? oh, that’s right…. they don’t have to!

        The extent of the problem is huge, there ate 10s of thousand of houses involved. In any street it is common to see rows of houses already abandoned. Anyway, big congrats to John Campbell on TV3 for his coverage – far superior to NZs worst interviewer on the other channel.

        • r0b 1.1.1.1

          how would Labour do it….???? oh, that’s right…. they don’t have to!

          Well no, but put them in government in November and it will become their problem!

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.2

          Many people are now only dealing through lawyers. How the government is going to get insurers and reinsurers sorted in able to remove whole areas is beyond me – how would Labour do it….???? oh, that’s right…. they don’t have to!

          Simply say that without additional co-operation from all insurance parties, NZ will nationalise AMI and use it as a basis to recreate a cheap public insurance option (“KiwiSure”) for all New Zealanders, and cut its own deals with reinsurers or self insure, reducing profits going forwards for all other insurance companies.

          If insurers continue not to pay out what is due to policy holders in quick order, they too will be nationalised as they will have failed the critical role that the economy requires of insurance companies.

          We’re not having a bunch of multinationals leaving a hundred thousand New Zealanders in limbo for months (years?) without end.

          • grumpy 1.1.1.2.1

            I agree with you that this situation shows the need for a benevolent insurance option (probably Govt. owned). We actually have one in EQC who are doing a good job, it is the intersection with the insurance industry that is the problem.

            This is the first time that abandonment of land has been an issue and, naturally, the insurers are using that situation to limit payout (it’s in their DNA). I understand the Govt have already involved the High Court so we can expect to see something a bit radical.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.2

            Even simpler:

            Email to insurers from govt
            Re: Canterbury

            We will rebuild it and send you the bill.

            PS, If you don’t pay when requested we will close you down and seize your assets.

            • freedom 1.1.1.2.2.1

              ‘ I like’ times infinity squared.
              now if only we had a Government willing to say it?  but sadly decades of international commercial pressure have twisted the Social Responsibilty Gland into such a distended form it is unrecognisable by those trying to transplant it into the 21st Century.  So they placate the masses with promises of sporting glory and …. what was the other one?

        • ianmac 1.1.1.3

          Haven’t seen where Labour are scoring “cheap political points.” Must have missed that Grumpy.

          Agreed that the Campbell Live program has explored the Eastern suburbs people’s awful circumstances. A good balance between the depression yet optimism still showing through.

          I do wonder why the Brownlie machine doesn’t explain the problems they face in resolving the dilemmas.
          Why not show what is holding up EQC? Or re-insurance? Or payout Insurance for contents? (My son lost his flat and the contents. Applied with detailed claim for a modest amount for his contents in Feb so that he could buy some basics to restart. Why not any response?)

    • millsy 1.2

      If airing legitamite concerns about the government/CCC/CERA/EQC/Fletcher/The Insurance industry is handling this is playing politics, and play they may as far as I am concerned.

      I am sick of this ‘just suck it in’ attitude that seems to be coming from people like you.

      Christchurch is in a lot of shit, and I dont mean the liquefaction induced silt.

      I personally think that we really need to debate the viability of Christchuch in its current form, if these quakes are going to carry on.

      • grumpy 1.2.1

        The whole of NZ is earthquake prone. The continuing finding of new faults just shows how little is known about NZs underlying geology.

        You could say that all of NZ is non viable (what about Wellington???).

        By all means keep Govt, CCC, CERA,Fletcher, the insurance industry honest but do that with genuine stories of hardship – and there are plenty, not the continuing drone of “…they need to know….”. Most of those affected bloody well know, they have had a hell of a beating from the insurance industry and want the Govt to sort it out on their behalf. They are happy to wait a few more weeks to get it done properly.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          The difference is that Wellington hasn’t had its big one yet, and Chch has immediate ongoing problems. I agree that discussion about the viability  of Chch is important, not least because many people are going to be dealing with longterm stress related illness (mental and physical). That’s because of the continuing shakes and the uncertainty about insurance, jobs etc.
           
          Personally I don’t think Chch should be abandoned, but I do think a dialogue about how it needs to change markedly to surive well is vital.
           
          I’d really like to know how other cities in the world have handled this.

          • Oscar 1.2.1.1.1

            Just do what they did with Napier and move the whole city 15 kms away from the epicentre.

    • Andy-Roo 1.3

      Hi Grumpy,

      Thanks for your help with the digging. It does make a real difference – and the help is really appreciated by us. Especially given that this is round three.

      Its an interesting point that you make, re the spirits of the people you dealt with. My own experience has been that while I was out there digging – making my life better, and my neighbours life better, I was feeling OK. Tough, capable and resilient.

      There was stuff to do, and I was doing it.

      I wrote the piece above, once the digging was finished – and I was looking forward.

      Looking forward to those battles with insurance companies. Looking forward to a long time spent in a damaged house, at the mercy of a bunch of international reinsurers who will see their primary moral obligation as maximising returns to their shareholders, and minimising their exposure to liability from this series of quakes in Christchurch.

      I then look at who we have on team CHCH right now, and I am uninspired.

      I agree with you that CERA, and the CHCH City council need to sort themselves out. But ultimately the man in charge here is the minister of earthquake recovery. He should have been first on your list. He has after all been granted extraordinary powers.

      Right now the evidence that he is using these powers in the interests of the people of CHCH is pretty limited.

      That needs to change. And somehow finding the guts to face up to the problems with the insurance companies and the reinsurers has to be top of the bloody list.

      Those are the problems that need solving.

      If Gerry and John did not want the responsibility – then they should not have asked for the job.

      • grumpy 1.3.1

        Can’t argue with that Andy – good luck.

      • Gus 1.3.2

        Why did you lump the Army in with this ? I dont get the connection ?

        • grumpy 1.3.2.1

          The army have huge manpower and resources sitting out at Burnham. They have engineers and “reconstruction teams” in other countries but not in Christchurch.

          In the weekend, the lack of machinery and trucks to shift the liquefaction carted by hand out to the street led to a lot of it reverting when it rained.

          The army seem good at driving around in vehicles and manning checkpoints. To be fair, I did see a fair few of them on TV on Monday shovelling silt but that is the first time and probably in response to widespread rumblings from volunteers on the weekend.

        • freedom 1.3.2.2

          Gus, In peacetime that is their bloody job.  They are there to follow the orders of the Authority of the land to assist in any service deemed appropriate by the Government and the Crown.  Right now that is  Mr Brownlee, who on day one back in September should have commited all available resources of our Nation to get the job done regardless of the prior commitment to Wargames with Singapore and other nonsensical events that soak up their massive budgets.  We do not need the EQC or a private Insurance company to give us the go ahead for guys with shovels to get their hands dirty.  Leave the Cordon Patrol to the Police and give shovels, hammers, saws and ladders to the Soldiers.

          The Army Navy and Airforce’s response to this disaster has been pitiful.  They have incredible resources and have chosen not to pressure the Government into enacting greater participation from the thousands of taxpayer funded bodies that could be doing so much more. If they were keen on doing the work they would put their hand up.

          • Colonial Viper 1.3.2.2.1

            I know what you are saying but personally I don’t want our military pressuring our civilian leaders to do any particular thing. Advising yes, recommending yes, insisting or pressuring – no.

            And what is the bet that the Armed Services have already made multiple offers and suggestions of help to Brownlee.

            • freedom 1.3.2.2.1.1

              They have many possible roles in these events.  The resources of these organisations have not been utilized to their full extent.  I am obviously goading the topic to suggest that if the offers have been made and rejected that is information that we have a right to know

          • millsy 1.3.2.2.2

            In addition, this is the time when we really should be thinking that perhaps abolishing the Ministry of Works and selling the insurance compamies (State, NZI, etc) wasn’t such a fantastic idea after all.

            Of course, it’s not like we weren’t warned…

          • Treetop 1.3.2.2.3

            Freedom do you think that the army are not participating in utilising engineers for reconstruction due to the Berryman case? The bridge which collapsed due to the Transoms holding up the bridge rotting that the army built. The litigation has gone on for years.

            • freedom 1.3.2.2.3.1

              All large organisations make mistakes now and then.  Look at New Coke.
              Not for one second would i consider the Berryman case to be a mitigating factor in the low volume tasking of our Military resources

      • dave brown 1.3.3

        Andy-Roo the class divisions in ChCh have been brought to the surface like the shit. Forget the NACTs they are using the ‘natural’ disaster to restructure ChCh for their class of banksters and gentry. They don’t give a damn about the East. For them the market will solve the problem as workers leave in droves.
        The best deal that ChCh East will get will be from a Labour Govt spurred to act to keep its ChCh voters on side – free land and cheap loans for new housing and a nationalisation of the insurance industry. Those are the demands that should be put on Labour to campaign on. Since the recession hit people hate the whole parasitical finance sector. Not only that but restoring Ecan control over water and a vision for ChCh that is more than a stopover for tourists visiting our 100% clean green privatised assets. Labour will be foot dragging and gutless, but a kick up the backside from their betrayed historic constituencies in ChCh is long overdue.

        • grumpy 1.3.3.1

          Been a good crop this year where you are Dave….?

        • Andy-Roo 1.3.3.2

          Hi Dave,

          I guess I would back any government that I thought would at least try to stand up to the grey men that run our big financial institutions, and the polyester jackals that run the finance markets.

          Right now I see no evidence that any party is prepared to do that.

          You might argue that we would have a better chance with a labour party in power. I might agree – for a given, very, very small amount of “better”.

          Certainly the current generation of National Party politicians, or at least the ones who appear to be driving the parties behaviour (I won’t say policy!) are ideologically committed free marketeers. Expecting them to look past this ideology and see how dysfunctional the impacts of the behaviour of the big financial institions are for the people who actually live on this planet, is too much of a stretch.

          But that is what is required here, at least in terms of the insurers and reinsurers. The paradigm needs to change.

          • dave brown 1.3.3.2.1

            Andy-Roo, that’s right the NACTs are only interested in profits, to hell with workers and small businesses. The reason I say that at least we should try with Labour is that it was formed out of the working class suburbs of ChCh and workers should remind it what it owes them. I really don’t expect Labour to take on the banksters or the insurance coys. They are too far into their pockets. But at least then workers will see the need to organise locally to solve the problems they face without regard to any of the sell-out political parties. That means rejecting cheap buyouts that leave them with nothing in their pocket and thrown onto the floating reserve army of unemployed. Rejecting the right of the NACTs and CERA to dictate solutions and insisting on convening democratic conventions where plans are voted on. Working out a plan for ChCh that meets the needs of its working people not big business. If the working people had the confidence to do this they stand up against both the NACTs and Labour and put up their own candidates for parliament and stir the shit in the Beehive.

      • weka 1.3.4

        Its an interesting point that you make, re the spirits of the people you dealt with. My own experience has been that while I was out there digging – making my life better, and my neighbours life better, I was feeling OK. Tough, capable and resilient.
         

        I think kiwis are pretty good at getting stuck in even when they’re feeling shit. It’s entirely possible to work and appear in good spirits, but still be really struggling on many levels. Some people will be managing much better than others too. I wonder how easy it is in our tough man culture for people to talk about how vulnerable or weak they may be feeling?

        • Puddleglum 1.3.4.1

          Exactly. When I was helping out with the silt, wisecracks were cracking all the time. Until we stopped for lunch, when one of the property owners (hard as nails, classic ‘battler’) just broke down in tears (she’d been shovelling for three days solid by then).

          • Andy-Roo 1.3.4.1.1

            Bloody hell.

            I really feel for her.

            It’s why I posted.

            I can do “tough guy” when required. But you need to know when that is not enough.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Also note that the loud claims of “playing politics” from the RWNJ’s is in fact, playing politics in itself.

    • grumpy 2.1

      Nah, I just hate to see good people doing their best in trying circumstances being falsly portrayed as a bunch of moaners by filling the TV screens of the nation with Labour politicians and some of those who are less resilient than the majority.

      This rush for a “quick solution” puts a good permanent solution at risk.

      • ianmac 2.1.1

        “quick solution?” September to now 9 months? Quick?

        • Inventory2 2.1.1.1

          The clock resets every time that there is a significant ‘quake Ianmac; at this stage, it’s sitting at nine days, and for some areas 12 1/2 hours.

          • Andy-Roo 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes the clock reset’s – that is physical reality.

            I think most people in Christchurch understand this. I certainly do.

            So – a question for you.

            How long do you think it is acceptable to ask people to just wait for the clock to wind down?

            The waiting has a very real cost.

            The cost of the waiting is not being borne by the insurance companies. They are not interested in minimising this cost – only the cost’s that they are responsible for.

            Crossing our fingers and hoping that the earthquakes stop, and that serious repair work can get underway in time to avoid serious social problems in the eastern suburbs, (and badly compromising the long term viability of big parts of the city), is not working.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Basically if we think about using a model where the clock is reset every time there is a big shake then there are several easy conclusions about where that model does NOT apply

              – Areas which are already fully fraked have hit time zero. No further quakes will change the fact that those people need to be permanently moved and rehoused, ASAP.

              – Many areas which are highly dubious in character need to be abandoned as if they are fully fraked. The rationale is that the combination of ongoing uncertainty, likelihood of another big one within months, and dire living conditions makes that decision a clear one.

              – In other circumstances the “clock reset” model of thinking may have some validity.

              • Andy-Roo

                Sounds like a practical way to get started to me!

                Now – putting my tongue firmly in my cheek…

                What about a gaurantee of property values for those who’s properties are not going to be written off – but are in areas that have suddenly got a whole lot less desireable?

                After all – it was good enough to socialise the risk for investors in South Canterbury Finance…

              • grumpy

                Makes it even more important for the Govt to have a “system” where the legal obligations of EQC and the insurance industry are spelt out, together with who pays the difference.

                My understanding is that currently, if the land is abandoned, the insurance companies pay out less than if they can rebuild?????

            • grumpy 2.1.1.1.1.2

              A hint; our refugees have finally got AA/Vero to pay for their accommodation ($250 pw). suddenly Vero is taking an interest in repairing their house sooner rather than later – obviously they do not want to be still paying out this time next year.
              I accept that it will be years before my house(s) are fixed but I don’t care, the priority needs to be with the “eastern suburbs”. ….and don’t think it’s only about “poor people”, those on the hill and at Sumner are badly hit too but most of them have the networks and the business experience to go head to head with the petty bureaucrats.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hopefully those with the negotiating, legal and financial resources to go toe to toe with the insurance companies will be able to share their knowledge with others in due course.

            • Inventory2 2.1.1.1.1.3

              I don’t know if there is a right timeframe and a wrong tmeframe Andy-Roo. I was out digging liquefaction from a friend’s back-yard in New Brighton on Saturday, and it”s certainly given me a new appreciation for just what people are going through down there. The damage along New Brighton Road as we were driving out from the city is obvious and significant. Even as we drove back to Fendalton, there was a corridor of about 800m of liquefaction in Innes Road near St George’s hospital, but no damage either side.

              I don’t envy the situation that so many people are in, and whilst I haven’t lived with it on a daily basis as you have, I’ve heard enough from staff and family in the east, and I’ve seen enough myself to empathise with you. Nor though do I envy those who are having to make these decisions that are going to impact on Christchurch for several generations. It’s a bastard of a situation for everyone concerned.

              Hang tough mate, and know that people DO care about your plight; even RWNJ’s!

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2

            The clock resets every time that there is a significant ‘quake Ianmac; at this stage, it’s sitting at nine days, and for some areas 12 1/2 hours.

            This reminds me of the Season 1 episode “33”

  3. RobC 3

    Key’s “joke” in Q time y’day (Q1) about missing Labour MPs (mainly Cantabrians) being in Te Tai Tokerau breached a cross-party agreement and is probably the worst example of a “cheap political point” in recent times.

    Grumpy, may I suggest you read the Bulletins put out by the Labour MPs in ChCh. If, at times, the Earthquakes become political, you will see that it is far outweighed by what these MPs are doing on the ground for their constituents.

    • grumpy 3.1

      Yeah sure, I also think that the Govt have not dealt with this as well as they might, also that Dalziel and Burns have upstaged them – they are the local MPs most affected.

      Brownlee has been a disaster but they probably wanted to appoint a local (better than Carter but what about Amy Adams – she would be much better).

      I think all of us involved have a basic agreement of what the issues are, my house is damaged (not much – only EQG), my farm house is damaged involving both EQC for the house and FMG insurance for the farm buildings and my father’s house – again only EQC. I have found EQC fairly easy to deal with and FMG very good. Our refugees have horror stories of dealing with Vero and AA (same company), with Vero/AA actually halting remedial work organised by EQC as they thought it would go over the $100,000 threshold. This despite an intial assessor from AA/Vero trying to get them to sign a waiver excluding them from any liability as the damage was “minor”.

      At the moment the simplistic idea of nationalising the insurance industry seems pretty good.

      What is needed is a simple set of rules from the Govt setting out the legal obligations of the insurance industry and power up CERA to make sure it happens. Roger Sutton is too lightweight for that job.

  4. Jane Doe 4

    I think last Monday 16 June was a very real setback for many Eastsiders like me. Yes, we do try and keep our spirits up, but last Monday really did feel like being kicked back to very close to the February 22 square one.

    Talking with neighbours as the process of digging out liquefaction began again, everyone expressed the same sense of weariness, but also the very real fear that the same process may just happen all over again in a few weeks or months time. And each time homes and land get just a little more damaged, a little closer to the point where you wonder whether they will stand up to the next major quake–and on Monday 16, there was a moment when I honestly thought that the house might shake apart around me. Right now, I do think many people are simply worn down by he constant shaking since September 2, 2010, the deprivation in terms of everyday amenity and the very real fear and uncertainty around the fact that there may be another big shake at any time.

    A more invisible nonetheless very real factor is the loss of community amenity, which has increased with every additional major event since September 4. In our area, all the high schoosl have been closed since February 22nd with pupils being bused to the west side of the city ot premise-share with the schools there. It has been suggested that one of the local schools may never reopen because the damage to buildings and land has been so extensive. One major mall has been closed since February 22nd and a large number of churches, clubs and community facilities are either gone or unusable. We have lost a raft of smaller retailers, particularly restaurants, cafes, wine bars and the other venues that give a community its “flavour.” So all those networks that make up a community: schools, places to meet and socialise, are all gone.

    Even simple things like going for a walk along the river are difficult: at a practical level, because the road is so broken up and the area physically difficult to negotiate; at an emotional level because all the waterways in this part of Christchurch are pretty much open sewers right now. And everyone you know is living with loss and uncertainty: homes, jobs and businesses have been lost by some; others are living in houses that are badly damaged and not knowing whether the insurance decision will be ‘repair’ or ‘rebuild’ or ‘write off completely’.

    I agree with Grumpy that many people are resilient and still keeping their spirits up, but the need of those whose case shave been highlighted through the media is very real. And it is the job of MPs to advocate for the needs of their constituents so I actually applaud the Labour MPs for doing that, given that need exists. I am hope, in fact am sure, that National MPs would be doing the same if this were happening in their electorates.

    But I also agree with Andy-Roo that many are getting worn down (as above) and have been doing it tough for a long time now. I believe that will inevitably take an emotional toll. In terms of the allusion to someone who described those on the east side of Christchurch as “whiners”, my view is that blaming those adversely affected by disaster can be a reaction of guilt (for being all right oneself) but also a kind of “mantra against fear”, ie if one can find a way to blame those suffering, then one can close one’s eyes to the fact that nothing we can do, no matter how smart, well organised, successful etc, can protect us from the the random acts of violence of an indifferent planet. And that in fact those suffering need our help, generosity, compassion and understanding, not our denigration.

    Help, generosity, compassion and understanding, I hasten to add, that has been forthcoming from so many of our fellow New Zealanders. But now we’re in the hard yards zone. The “captains and the kings” have largely departed, the earthquakes and the need continue: now is the time that it is more important than ever that we do continue to pull together and focus on generosity and understanding, not brickbats and blame.

    I know this is a political opinion blog so here’s my political five cents: in terms of whichever major party was leading the government, I don’t think the response to the earthquake would have been substantially different. But it is the duty of the loyal opposition in our adversarial system to point out flaws in the government’s performance. I also feel there is some merit in the view of John Stuart Mill that one cannot measure an instution by its best examples, but must look to its worst, so believe that it is important that our political system idenitfy problems and strive to get them resolved.

    In terms of our current National led government’s repsonse to the Christchurch situation so far I only have one major criticism (and think Labour is doing a reasonable job of highlighting my more minor concerns: just to place a nice buck each way) which is that I believe that CERA has been established in the form of a dictatorship with absolute powers that equally absolutely runs contrary to the principles and traditions of democratic government. I believe that CERA both being granted those sweeping powers, without recourse or right of review in many/most cases, and its subsequent use of them, raher than the loss of either life or bricks and mortar, may well become the enduring legacy of the Christchurch earthquake period. And although CERA may be National’s creation, Labour and all the other parties except the Greens voted for CERA as we now have it. And as even the Greens voted for the first post-September version of what is now CERA, which was equally draconian despite the far lesser level of damage, I will confess to doubts around our parliamentarians commitment to the democracy they are meant to uphold.

    • grumpy 4.1

      Wow Jane, great comment!

      At the Feb quake my daughter ran in the farm truck with a few thousand litres of water to streets in Dallington who had no water for a few weeks, others did the same. This time we were appalled that didn’t seem to happen.

      It seemed the Eastern residents were left to fend for themselves so a few of us decided to shovel liquifaction and I am bloody glad I did as it gave me even more insight into the conditions the eastern residents face.

      You can watch TV, read the papers, look at the photos and you have absolutely no idea how bad the situation actually is.

      I agree that Cosgrove and Dalziel are doing a great job – and that Brownlee is doing a bloody poor one. I have no faith in CERA with Sutton at the helm, he is a lightweight and will do as he is told (I hope I’m wrong).

      I know Brownlee is local but the Govt. should have considered more effective ministers for the job.

      • Jane Doe 4.1.1

        Grumpy, I know everyone over here is terribly grateful for the efforts of both the ‘farmy army’ and the ‘student volunteer army’ and I think mostly this last time round. Our water came back on relatively quickly this time but I’ve definitely had friends coming to fill up water containers etc. And I’m just a person the ground so in general I feel that most of the infrastructure people and many at the council are really doing a great in terribly adverse circumstances – but I do think it’s still important to point out the failings, because when something is this big they are just going to be there and need to be remedied. In terms of insurers, having seen what happened post-Katrina in the US, I think definitely, that is where some of the toughest batteles are going to come and like you, I’ve already heard plenty of stories that do not inspire confidence.

        (PS This is my first ever ‘political blog’ comment ever, I think.)

    • Andy-Roo 4.2

      Thanks Jane Doe.

      Thanks for adding your (very eloquent) voice.

      And John Stuart Mill definitely hit the nail on the head.

      • Jane Doe 4.2.1

        Just wanted to support your post, Andy-Roo. I do occasionally argue with John Stuart Mill,but not often.

    • freedom 4.3

      I sincerely wish Jane Doe’s acutely precise statements could appear as Thursday’s Editorial in every single newspaper in New Zealand.
       
       

      • Jane Doe 4.3.1

        Freedom, I very occasionally write letters and even more occasionally get them published, but more often not. I’ve never tried an actual opinion piece, being “no one in particular.”

        • freedom 4.3.1.1

          i like the way it ties the emotional, the practical and the political concerns CHCH is facing and would be very interested to see the Nation’s response to it because the rubbish that fills the papers is doing CHCH no favours 90% of the time.
           
          the reality is although the net is seen by many the daily papers are still the primary source for ‘common opinion’ in New Zealand

  5. Frida 5

    Nice post Andy Roo. I too reacted with shock to the insult you received the other day (even though I am sitting up in Wellington with nothing to complain about). The poster who said what he/she did deserved the bollocking you gave him. And I’m glad it motivated you to write this post.

    Please know that the majority of NZers are with you all, really feeling for you and in no way thinking you are complaining unjustifiably. For myself, I’m shocked and sickened with the way the Government is dealing with this. Someone up above accused Labour of playing politics. I’m sorry, I’ve seen no evidence of that. From afar, it seems to be Dalziel and Cosgrove are the only politicans keeping it real and acting for Cantabrians. The pollies playing politics are Mr Smile and Wave Key and Mr Blindlingly Fat Brownlee who clearly are trying to spin this out and play the PR game as much as possible to lessen the impact on 26 November. It absolutely sickens me, it’s peoples’ lives and livelihoods they are trifling with. It’s alright for them, with their money and backgrounds they can’t even begin to imagine what the ordinary Cantabrian is going through right now.

    I also heard Nicky Wagner (?) on the radio the other morning and she absolutely appalled me too. In the face of common sense remarks and discussion from Lianne Dalziel, her only stumbling response seemed to be some weird ramble about how we’re living in strange geological times (all said in a bizarre, soothing kind of soft tone as if to make us all feel comforted). No shit, sherlock, I thought. I’m sure Cantabrians are quite aware they are living in a geological shift, they’re feeling it every hour or so. THE POINT IS WHAT IS YOUR PACK OF CLOWNS PARTY GOING TO DO ABOUT IT???

    There, my rant over. Yours in solidarity, Andy Roo….

    • Andy-Roo 5.1

      Thanks Frida,

      Very much appreciated.

      I think the scale of the problem is showing up, (for anyone who is looking) the very real governance problems we have in NZ right now.

      I just wish more people were looking

  6. r0b 6

    Thank you to those who are sharing their experiences here.  The considered written word gives a different kind of insight than the interviews and images on the TV.

  7. Frederick 8

    From an inside source in the police, I hear that 250 extra coppers have been deployed to Christchurch ahead of Thursday’s land announcement.

    I guess they are expecting a less then happy outcome.

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