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Show some leadership, please

Written By: - Date published: 6:12 pm, March 8th, 2011 - 136 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

Apart from the first post a short while after the earthquake happened, I’ve not written about it. Partly because I’ve been busy with other stuff but also because I’ve been waiting and hoping for the government to do what governments (left or right) do in a crisis – knuckle down and focus on getting things sorted.

For instance I’d like to know there was some plan. And I’d like to see that plan outlined along with a timetable for acting on it and an idea of how to pay for it. I’d be happy if it came with a strong proviso that the details were subject to change but I’d like to be able to get a sense of the big picture. Of how we’re going to fix this.

What I’m seeing instead is a Prime Minister that is treating it like a fucking game. When he’s not mouthing vague platitudes he’s just winging it. Constantly. We’ve already seen him criticising the police and releasing unconfirmed death tolls as if they had been confirmed and now it turns out he’s second guessing civil defence about how many houses have been destroyed:

Official figures released today by Civil Defence tag the number of homes condemned to date in Christchurch at 2190 – about 7800 shy of John Key’s estimate of 10,000 – causing some to question where the Prime Minister’s office is getting its information.

That’s just wrong. I understand that the media is pushy and always after more information but making shit up isn’t appropriate. In fact it’s downright counterproductive. As Bob Parker put it:

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has also questioned Key’s figures and the risks of speculating.

Parker told TVNZ there may well be 10,000 houses that will need to be rebuilt but geotechnical information is needed before decisions can be made about land remediation.

“But with regard to land remediation and which pieces of land will or may not be rebuilt – and they may all be able to be built on – the simple fact of the matter is anything else until we get that geotechnic information is really speculation and can be very alarming,

I would say “very alarming” is an understatement. Key is the Prime Minister. That means he needs to do more than just play to the cameras – HE NEEDS TO LEAD.

But he isn’t. And I’m starting to wonder if he even can.

Most other times watching a Tory leader fail this badly would give me some degree of pleasure but right now all it does is fill me with concern.

136 comments on “Show some leadership, please ”

  1. I agree. I was going to write on this too. Key’s talking about abandoning nearly 10% of chch’s residential properties, the whole of suburbs like Avonside and Bexley. To do this without solid information is extremely cruel.

    And if tens of thousands of people are to be moved is the government planning these suburbs or will it be left to be done hodge podge by individuals?

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      Key reckons they can move to new suburbs, up to the level of your insurance payout. No hint that it will planned in a sensible way.

      “Here is a cash option: take the cheque, or the second option is: here is a subdivision and you can choose a site and maybe a building plan that suits the insurance model you have.”

      So that means building a new house in a subdivision that currently doesn’t exist, somewhere out west. With whatever your insurance will allow, which may be less than enough for something truly equivelent to what was lost. Little houses, made of ticky tacky …


      • ZeeBop 1.1.1

        There are some subdivisions available, the problem I see is that they were designed for cheap oil access. If we had been having a lower carbon debate we’d be better placed to build a proper new suburbs. Likely outcome lots of poorly purposed sprawl that could be built just as oil hits $200 or more a barrel.

    • Jim MacDonald 1.2

      Government planning is anathema to National Government.
      “Hodge podge by individuals” is, cough cough, something that the Nats & ACT may attempt to reframe as best being left to the free market, freedom of choice, personal responsibility, and business enterprise. Quite simple, really.

      • neleftie 1.2.1

        thats why the Tories are in a bind – in the darkest of economic times we need social responsible leader to provide just that, leadership. Gosh any monKEY can lead when the going is good but faced by crisis is a different story…Time for a labour revival and to generate some go forward.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    Gerry was on’t radio saying the high figure was used b/c they don’t want the rest of NZ to forget that there has been a lot damage in ChCh, after there was an earthquake there.

    So they went with a high estimate to keep everyone freaked out at the appropriate level. He then said it would be wrong to speculate on what the real number might be.

    • Marty G 2.1

      really? that’s such a fucken pathetic excuse. And it’s not the same excuse as he made on TV3.

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        Checkpoint I think, or the panel. I was triple tasking though, what with the cooking dinner and the fighting intergalactic war with the four year old, against the cat. (Humans FTW, jftr).

    • Kaplan 2.2

      It all starts to make sense when you factor in that the reason that they want NZ freaked out is so they can dish up another big round of services cuts, asset sales and general tory nonsense in the name of ‘earthquake recovery costs’ while the sheeple say ‘yes please, whip me some more sir’.

  3. Zorr 3

    He’s just doing what he has been paid to do all his adult life… speculate…

  4. ianmac 4

    John says 10,000 houses. Gerry says no. A lot less but they just wanted to frighten the Public in NZ. Some sort of double act? Not sure which should get the laugh.

  5. and who will step up to defend this goon now? TSmithfield we await.

    Key has plunged to new depths for me

  6. Dean 6

    IB, I trust that if anyone involved is an Uncle Tom that you will make a post about it and call them out on it? I love the smell of racism from the likes of you. LEAD THE WAY brother.

  7. Morgy 7

    I will Appleboy. Do you seriously believe he would have used this figure without advice? Do you all simply walk around with the ‘National bad……Labour good’ blinkers on?? And you use phrases like “Key has plunged to new depths….” Jesus. What do you know about this that is 100% factual? Like the most of us…nothing I suspect BUT you and most of your mates here will jump on the sound bite. FOOLS!

    • The Economic Illiteracy Support Group 7.1

      Do you seriously believe he would have used this figure without advice?

      There’s simply no evidence that he got any advice at all – as IB’s post speculates, it’s far more likely that he pulled the number out of thin air. But hey, maybe you’re right, in which case you can go to the effort of submitting an OIA request to the Prime Minister’s office asking where the advice came from and reporting the results back here.

      A $50 donation to the Red Cross says you won’t.

      • morgy 7.1.1

        It is the theory on this thread that assumes he has no advice and is picking numbers out of thin air. You and your beleivers need prove your thoughts….not me.

        • bbfloyd

          the public precedent for key talking off the top of his head goes back to the year he became an mp. as yet, i havn’t seen a comprehensive list of statements of fact that key has made that turned out to be no more than air.

          deap down where your conscience lives, you know this to be true.. indulging in fisking exersizes changes nothing.

          “john just goes from cloud to cloud”. wasn’t that an interesting assessment of his leader by his own 2 i c?…. the media fell into acute puppy mode over the comment at the time, (pant pant.wag wag, wriggle wriggle), but nonetheless the words were spoken.

          so, will there be, or was there a calling to accout for making false statements? or was it simply true words spken in jest?

      • BLiP 7.1.2

        Heh!! $10 says Morgy doesn’t pay up ; )

  8. MrSmith 8

    Key just loves the big numbers, look over here I just pulled 10,000 out of my ass or was that Gerry’s ass, these guys just make stuff up as they go along, ok if your a comedy act!

  9. tsmithfield 9

    A couple of points. The official figures quoted in the article are for condemned houses, not unrepairable ones. There is a big difference.

    Just because a house isn’t condemned doesn’t mean it won’t need rebuilding. This might account for some of the difference between the estimates.

    When a house is red-stickered, it simply means it is unsafe to live in. However, many houses are quite safe to live in, even though they are unrepairable. For instance, an employee at my business has a house that has a concrete pad foundation broken in three places and major damage to the roof. He has had his $100000+ payout from EQC because the house is unrepairable. But he is still living in it because it is safe to do so. i.e. it is green-stickered.

    I know quite a few people in this position where the damage is to the concrete floors. The damage doesn’t affect the safety of the house. It just can’t be fixed, and it can’t be sold in that state. So it needs rebuilding.

    After the first earthquake the figure for house rebuilds was over 2000 (from memory, though I stand to be corrected). So, after this last, much bigger quake, it stands to reason that a lot more houses will need rebuilding. So I certainly wouldn’t doubt 10000 or more. I talk to a lot of people during my working day, and it seems like every second one of them tells me their house will need rebuilding, if that is anything to go by.

    The other point is that in suburbs where rebuilding is not possible, it might be that all houses in that area damaged or otherwise have to be demolished. Owners might not be able to get insurance, the council might deem it too expensive to restore services, and the whole area might be considered too much of a flood risk.

    So, I wouldn’t be too quick to dis Key’s estimate. It might well be an underestimate.

    • Kaplan 9.1

      I don’t give a shit whether his estimate is correct or not.
      What I care about is that my own friends and neighbours are now wondering if it is their properties he is talking about.
      He’s fucked up. Don’t be an arse and try to cover for him when real people, people that I know, are rightly pissed off with this. They aren’t pissed off just because they feel like it, they are pissed off as a direct result of what John Key said. End Of.

    • Kaplan 9.2

      Looks like even Key is now uncomfortable with they way this panned out. I’ll not hold my breath waiting for an apology though.
      No official advice on abandoning suburbs – Key

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      So, I wouldn’t be too quick to dis Key’s estimate. It might well be an underestimate.

      So, which relevant authority* gave him the estimate then?

      *NB his own backside is not considered a “relevant authority” in this case.

    • bbfloyd 9.4

      another phishing expedition ts? god your getting predictable. what are you going to do with your time when you finally fall out of love with swishypants?

  10. tsmithfield 10

    The whole premise of the article is incorrect. It is conflating “how many houses have been destroyed” (I interpret this as damaged beyond repair) with “condemned”. The whole purpose of Irish’s article is to dis Key for giving an estimate of the damage. There needs to be a sound basis for making this criticism. That has to start with comparing apples with apples, which Irish has not done.

    This link explains what the stickering process is about. As can be seen, it is all about safety and nothing to do with repairability. These are very different concepts, and very often unrepairable buildings are safe to enter, and even live in. So, it is simply not valid to equate red-stickered buildings with unrepairable ones. There is a vast, not just a technical, difference.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      As I asked above, which authority did Key’s 10,000 estimate come from?

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        I don’t know about that.

        However, from my own experience, I think it might well be an under-estimate.

        As I said, the estimate of rebuilds after the first quake was around 2000. There has been a lot more damage since then. For instance, my parents have a house behind horseshoe lake. The land suffered damage, and the house suffered minor damage after the first quake. However, after the second quake their house has been totalled.

        Same story with my nephew who lives in New Brighton. His house was marginally repairable now has been totalled. There are two people in my staff of nine who need total rebuilds. I have talked to six people I know who live up the hill. One house has major damage but is repairable. The other five are total write-offs. One person I was talking to was saying his house is sloping at 45% at the moment. There are quite a number of other people I have talked to who are customers of our company who will require their houses to be rebuilt.

        I know its anecdotal evidence, but judging by my personal contact with people, and what I have seen in the areas I have been able to drive around in, I would say a lot more than 10000 houses will require rebuilding.

        • Colonial Viper

          Come now, Key looks like he made that number up, as a nice round figure for Christchurch. In doing so he ignored the Civil Defence numbers.

          So that kind of by the seat of the pants winging it is OK by you?


        • jcuknz

          You won’t win with these people Tsmithfield, your reasonable arguments make total sense to me but these people simply want to make some political capitial, only valued of course by themselves, not by people who appreciate the devastation that has happened in Christchurch.

          • gobsmacked

            people who appreciate the devastation that has happened in Christchurch.

            Jcuknz, please read the comments on this thread, then apologise.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey which “reasonable arguments” are you referring to? That the PM is OK to pull numbers out of thin air, numbers which have no backing in fact or authority from Civil Defence, etc?

            Yeah buddy what a star, you really know how to pick the quality rationales.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Yeah, because everyone here has evil motives.

            The point people are making, and that ts is studiously ignoring, is that Key’s comments are not making anything clearer for people in ChCh.

            Saying that 10,000 homes, and some suburbs, are doomed increases people concerns without telling them anything specific that might help them deal with the situation. It just increases the natural frustration people are feeling about being in the dark. Instead he should be explaining what the process is, what the authorities are doing, how long it will take, and why. ie, getting actual information out there.

            All ts is saying is that he agrees with Key’s opinion that it might be about 10K houses. But it’s not Key’s job to be playing pundit and guessing how much damage there is.

            How does that help?

          • bbfloyd

            you must have some serious talent be as big a wanker as you are jcuknz? only a flawed genius could be so socially unaware.

        • vto

          Key is a dilbert for spouting off without any idea of what to say or how to say it.. but I agree the numbers of rebuilds is quite unknown. Similar anecdotes our ways. Majority of lives fucked, slight minority of houses if not fucked then very major repair. To me that suggests half of half of Chch – 60-70,000 houses with 20% totalled. Hey, that’s about 10,000!

      • Fisiani 10.1.2

        Same authority that led him to say at least 54 people were dead in the quake when official figure was 17. He was hounded on The Standard for that declaration too. Perhaps he knows more than IB.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yeah Fis, thanks for reminding us of that, and how accurate did the PM’s 54 number turn out?

          All you’ve proved is that Key has got a habit of letting off numbers which no one else will back.

          • tsmithfield

            So, do you have trouble with the phrase “at least”. It means that 54 was the smallest number it could be, but it could be bigger.

            Just trying to be helpful. 🙂

            • Colonial Viper


              yeah but did you notice that no organisations on the ground would back his pulled-out number? And again this time?


    • Kaplan 10.2

      I know you think you are good at playing semantics. But as Irish said, this is not a fucking game.
      Trying to argue the toss over whether something is destroyed, condemned or red stickered or whatever is no comfort for those people going to bed tonight in homes which thanks to the Prime Ministers ill chosen words they believe may be one of the 10,000 odd that will need rebuilding, or leave them wondering if they are in one of the streets which will be abandoned.
      John Key should have waited for the appropriate officials to make the facts known to those directly involved before shooting his mouth of in public.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.2.1

        Or better yet be talking about the process in detailed ways so that people understand what is happening. He should be removing doubt and uncertainty where he can, not be adding to it.

        If what is being done is being done for the right reasons, he should be explaining why it needs to take the time it is taking. If it is taking too much time for bad reasons he needs to be fixing it.

        Running off at the mouth, calling things farcical, and handing out vague estimates as a way of letting people know that he is feeling their pain doesn’t help anyone. All it does is increase the frustration people are feeling with the people whose job it is to work all this stuff out.

  11. Key is probably thinking out loud about the possibilities. It’s the sort of thing you can do when you’re able to detach yourself (not a bad thing – we all need to at times) to think clearly about options and the length, depth and width of a problem. But it’s the sort of thing he should be doing quietly at home or with whoever is working to understand and fix the mess. People camped out in tents in their liquified back gardens likely won’t be able to understand the detachment…but they will feel the direct threat posed to what’s left of their homes.

    So…good thought process. It’s needed. Horrendous PR.

    Keep it up. With luck the Nats will lose the election as people become detached about them. Then we have the steadily rising petrol prices, the hurt the cuts will bring due to the tax cuts we couldn’t afford….and the wrecking of our public broadcasting assets so Rupert Murdoch can make more money.

    Thanks to Gerry and John. Keep up the good work. I feel a new government may just be possible.

    • Marty G 11.1

      you don’t muse out loud about this shit. You make carefully-worded and well-informed, sensitive announcements when the community has already been consulted and, so, has an idea of what’s coming.

  12. graham 12

    I am from canterbury .I have relatives with shaged houses etc so i have some personal relationship to this.It dosent matter what jerry or john says or dosent say posters of the standard would use that in a stupid game of points scoring
    Have you guys seen the carnage that is chch to guys like marty and irish it is some childish game to play pointscoring grow up and get a real life

    IrishBill: I’ve seen the damage first hand and also have friends and family affected. Like I said up top – I’ve been holding off criticism hoping for some leadership. I’ve not seen any. So you can fuck right off with your “pointscoring” bullshit.

    r0b: I’m Christchurch born and raised. I was in the September and Boxing day quakes. I missed the February quake, but I got back the next day to clean up a trashed and damaged house. I’ve been caring for elderly relatives injured and displaced by the quake ever since. You have nothing to teach me about Christchurch graham.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      So its OK if our PM makes up numbers to do with the destruction in Christchurch?

      Does that give you confidence?

      And would you really prefer that no one holds him to account for his statements?

    • tsmithfield 12.2

      Totally agree graham. As I pointed out in my post above, the amount of friends and family I know that have totally rooted houses, I can tell this problem is immense. The officials probably don’t even realise how big it is yet. I agree, most of the commentators here are out-of-towners who couldn’t tell shit if they did it themselves.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        The officials probably don’t even realise how big it is yet.

        Yeah but somehow, JOHN KEY does!

        I agree, most of the commentators here are out-of-towners who couldn’t tell shit if they did it themselves.

        An out-of-towner like JOHN KEY, you mean, pulling shit for numbers out of thin air.

        • tsmithfield

          Out of towner? He was born and raised here mate.

          • Marty G

            born in Auckland.

            • jcuknz

              What a pathetic nit picker you are with that Marty G, trying to support a silly thread. … but it goes down well with most here of course. No wonder Labour is in oppositions despite fond hopes. I don’t think this sort of thread does more than make a few left wing supporters happy in their deluded world.
              Instead of harping on about guestimates one should be supporting the Government and ministers with the horrific job in hand … but no, that is impossible here it seems.. .

      • bbfloyd 12.2.2

        so you agree with making innaccurate,ignorant, and obnoxious personal attacks on people is a valid debating tool ts? i bet you’d vote national even if they were reduced to having paula bennett as leader… a lost cause.

  13. vto 13

    If you read Key’s comments closely you can see how they resemble Joh Bjeikle-Peterson ex-NZ late of holy queensland maker of incomprehension. Previously this illustrious title held by Winston Peters, politician, of Tauranga.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Key backs down. His numbers not based on official advice

    Yeah John Key is treating this like a currency traders numbers game. Our PM flying by the seat of the pants. Who can trust the statistics he pulls out of his mouth from now on?


    • tsmithfield 14.1

      That article is also conflating condemned houses with ones that will require rebuilding. There is a huge difference. From my experience most of the people I know who have houses that require rebuilds are actually living in them. i.e. their houses are not condemned. So, taking the number of condemned houses and multiplying it by five will get a much closer result to reality, though it is still probably a gross underestimate.

      • bbfloyd 14.1.1

        ts…i wonder what you’re going to lose to plug the next hole in keys credibility once you’ve run out of fingers and toes.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.2

        Hey ts which authority did Key get his 10,000 number from?

        And does Key happen to be a geologist, architect as well as a banker when he concludes by himself that entire Christchurch suburbs will need to be moved?

    • neoleftie 14.2

      once again its a race for the misaligned centralist voter – waffle waffle one side, the other is spin spin and dont upset the peasant voters. Trader Key is running out of spit to test the blowing winds of popualr opinion…

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Of course the problem is immense, as Tsmithfield says. But that’s exactly why Key needs to take care with his public comments.

    I’m not one of those leftie conspiracy theorists who think it’s all a cunning right-wing plan. I don’t think Key is evil. I just think he’s not up to the job. Painfully so.

    Over the past two years, he’s shown that he’s very good at all the light stuff. He can do genial and jokey better than any PM for a long time, at least since Lange.

    But if we want a laugh, we can watch “7 Days”. There’s a bit more to being Prime Minister than a comedy routine. And it’s at times like this that real leadership quality comes through.

    Or in his case, not.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    OK Irish, respect for the fact that you have actually been here. Was that after the first or second quake, and what areas did you see?

  17. Marty G 17


    Key now admits his statement was based on no official advice.

    He announces from on high that the people of the poorest suburbs in Christchurch will lose their homes and communities and it’s based on nothing but his pulled out of the arse guesses.


    what the hell is he thinking? This isn’t leadership. It would be a comedy routine if it weren’t so serious to the people he’s screwing over.

    • Kevin Welsh 17.1

      When have we ever seen leadership from halfwit-in-charge?

      Kind of convenient as well that if Avonside is cleared and turned back into parkland or similar, it will necessitate a redrawing of the Christchurch Central electorate. I guess that also goes for Bexley and Christchurch East electorate.

      • Marty G 17.1.1

        yeah, I can’t help but notice these relocations rip the heart out of two Labour seats.

        As for leadership. Unfortunately, we go into this with the political leaders we have, not the ones we would want, and we need the ones we do have to perform.

        • Janice

          I thought the same about the labour seats, but they can’t redraw the boundaries because they have cancelled the census. Democracy anybody?

  18. gobsmacked 18

    For those who still don’t get it, or are pretending they don’t:

    Here’s a bedtime story for you –

    A doctor goes into the waiting room, where a dozen patients are sitting, nervously fearing the news.

    Doctor says: “So, no test results in yet, but um, back of the envelope, chances are a couple of you might have cancer.” Doctor then leaves the room. No more information is given.

    Some weeks later, after all the tests are complete, two of the twelve patients are diagnosed with cancer.

    Is the doctor …

    a) A fine doctor, because a rough guess turned out to be right?

    b) A fuckwit, who made ten people needlessly fear for their lives, and treated the other two even worse?

  19. tsmithfield 19

    What people are overlooking is that even official advice is likely to be well off the mark. Like estimates for the cost of the rebuild that I have heard ranging from 12 billion to 20 billion. So, Keys estimate, however it is derived is probably as valid as anyone else’s because no-one really knows how big this is yet. So if Key shouldn’t be making an estimate of the number of houses that need replacing, then treasury shouldn’t be giving out estimates of the cost of the damage either because thats likely to be way off the mark as well.

    • Lanthanide 19.1

      I agree, Key’s numbers are probably a fairly good guess, and could be an underestimate. It’s the sort of thing I would say to my bf. Only I’m not the PM and my bf isn’t the New Zealand public.

      He’s still a complete moron for publicaly stating something in the way that he did. When asked about what areas were affected on Morning Report this morning he said “it was too early to say”, acting like he had some informed opinion on it but didn’t want to spook the horses. Turns out he just made it up himself.

      Another thing is that a lot of people in Bexley probably want to get out of the area. There were lots of people from September that wanted out, but couldn’t get out because EQC only pay out on land if it is completely unable to be repaired. So John Key saying “oh, 10k houses will have to be demolished and some areas may have to be abandoned” would have given quite a few people a spark of hope. I know I certainly would have heard it that way if I were one of those with a wrecked house in a wrecked neighbourhood. But Key actually isn’t in a position to be implying that sort of outcome – giving people false hope that the government will make everything better.

    • McFlock 19.2

      Agreed on treasury estimates – but then they’re full of crap at the best of times.

      But then at least Treasury try to base it on reality, even if it is somewhat warped by their religious convictions. They also tend to provide at least some rationale and data, and equivocation.

      Key made shit up. And said it like it was accurate, because people wanted facts. Subtle difference?

    • jcuknz 19.3

      I see him as a good leader preparing the country for the worse. Bringing home to people the seriousness of the situation when we are foolishly borrowing $300M a week to maintain an unsupportable lifestyle foisted on us with our agreement by the last Government without a reality check and now we will need to up that amount or seriously cut wasteful expenditure elsewhere … like families that don’t need WFF, University students not willing to pay interest on the small amount of their education cost that they have to borrow because they didn’t prepare themselves financially.. While on the later matter it is becoming increasingly obvious that education as we know it does not lead to well paid jobs or even jobs.
      But all the left can do is attack the man instead of standing with the government to sort out the mess..

  20. tsmithfield 20

    Anyways, quibbling about numbers aside, I know a lot of people in the badly affected areas.

    Most of the ones I talk to don’t really want to be there any more, and are also worried about the value of their properties, which will now be very low in those areas. The people I have spoken to are actually very pleased that the government is looking at options that will allow them to leave the area and rebuild in a much more stable part of Christchurch.

    • Marty G 20.1

      this is not about quibbling over numbers. It’s about not freaking out families who are already doing it tough and then saying ‘oops, I made that up’

      • tsmithfield 20.1.1

        Why should that freak people out? Or are you just making this up?

        Most people can see with their own eyes the amount of devastation around them. Most people would know if their own suburb is stuffed. A number like 10000, 20000 or whatever is probably irrelevant to them in the context of their own neighbourhood.

        And, yes it probably is economic to shift to other areas. The government is already looking at spending megabucks to remediate the land in some of these areas. EQC pays the first 50000 for land anyway. The government could probably get a bulk deal buying up land and subdividing it. So, it may be economical and will certainly be a lot faster than people having to wait for years for the land remediation process before they can even think about rebuilding.

        • Armchair Critic

          Unusually, I find myself agreeing with you, ts. The government, as its highest priority (and even more importantly than the colour of the PM’s wife’s top), needs to get on with it, whatever they do in terms of rebuilding. Now is not the time to hesitate. Nor, quibbling about numbers aside, is it the time for the PM to have trouble meaning what he says.

          • fermionic_interference

            or having what he says have no meaning. . . . . .
            I think this is more of the problem.
            In times of crisis facts are required from top level officials ie; The PM, but the big issue here is what we were given instead, which was?
            Garbage. Numbers that are as meaningless as the Zimbabwean dollar was/is.

            Facts, figures, accuracy and reliability that’s what is missing form JK and that”s why he’s an incompetent “leader”. Do I need to go on and define leadership. . .

            I also agree somewhat reservedly with TS, but with the unknown in this case the statement needed to be so far civil defense has found 2*** houses that need to be torn down and **** houses that need to be rebuilt. Simply stick to the facts.

      • luva 20.1.2

        Marty G

        Who are these people you say are freaking out at Keys estimate, or are you doing what you are accusing Key of and just making shit up.
        I think by now everyone who lives in Chch will know what damage the quake caused their house. You know that massive gaping hole in the bedroom wall, or the foundations that have sunk a metre is a bit of a hint that your house might need to be replaced.

        They are already freaked out by the damage they can see with there own eyes.

        Nobody has today freaked out thinking, “shit is Key talking about my house”? They already know if their house is one that Key is talking about.

    • Lanthanide 20.2

      Yes, “looking at options”, doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen, or be economical, especially if they really are talking about moving 10k houses. Pegasus has been in the works for 5-6 years now and still has quite a ways to go yet.

  21. Salsy 21

    Oh dear, I just heard Key on nightline talking about relocating suburbs : “Christchurch is atchilly rilly lucky since a whole lot of new areas have recently opened up” epic fail.

    • ZeeBop 21.1

      ChCh is emptying population fast, and now the govt and Bob realize that people do matter, that the opportunity of rebuilding ChCh is lost if the people disappear. So they want to grow some new sprawl fast, how bleeding predicable. Tick the boxes, short term, profits for mates, good political spin. If they hadn’t spent their whole political lives playing catchup to reality they might actually be some use in a crisis.

      • Colonial Viper 21.1.1

        I’m predicting here that Christchurch will lose more than 15% of its population over the next 12 months (OK that’s probably conservative), and that the Government (NAT or LAB) is going to have huge problems getting a skittish and reluctant private sector to commit to rebuilding.

        • Jim Nald

          My overseas friends asked why we voted in an ex-Merrill Lyncher to run the country. I said some of us were hoping for his Midas touch to enrich the country. They asked, ‘for who?’, and suggested the things Midas is touching are not merrilly ‘trickling down’. I said we might have got it wrong. Call it the Sadim touch. We’re in for a Sadimistic time.

  22. tsmithfield 22

    There are a lot of people leaving on a short-term basis. I know a number of people who have left the city for a break from the aftershocks. One of my sons has sent his partner and baby to Auckland because they don’t have running water etc on, so he feels it is safer and more hygenic for them out of the city at the moment.

  23. rd 23

    What happened to the NZ dollar immediately after the comment?

  24. g says 24

    one of the key problems here is that you are asking for leadership from a manager

  25. tsmithfield 25

    Anyway, the estimate of 10000 wasn’t just a figure Key had plucked out of thin air.

    But the figure was questioned yesterday, prompting the Government to clarify that the figure was an estimate from Earthquake Commission engineers after a flyover of the city in the days following the February 22 earthquake.

    This figure is likely to be a gross under-estimate because a lot of the serious damage such as broken foundations is not visible from the air. However, the EQC figure based on a flyover is much more relevant than the number of condemned (red-stickered) houses which only relates to safety, not whether a house needs to be rebuilt or not.

    I expect to see a few apologies flowing from those claiming the PM was making the figures up. But then again I guess “sorry seems to be the hardest word”.

    • The Voice of Reason 25.1

      I guess you didn’t see the irony of Key claiming that he got the figure from EQ engineers after flying over the city and you using the phrase ‘plucked out of thin air’?

    • IrishBill 25.2

      I feel sorry for you TS.

    • jcuknz 25.3

      Apologies TS? … you must be kidding, these clowns are demonstrating they simply don’t have a brain to think about what is important and reasonable when there is a chance to knock the man with all their smart ‘…..’ comments.

      • Colonial Viper 25.3.1

        Defending a PM who opens his mouth before considering the effect on Christchurch of what he is going to say.


  26. tsmithfield 26

    Quoting from you, Irish:

    “That’s just wrong. I understand that the media is pushy and always after more information but making shit up isn’t appropriate.”

    It appears that Key has got his figures from official advice, and hasn’t been making them up. Do you accept you were wrong about that?

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      Mate I don’t consider an off the cuff comment from an engineer to be “official advice”.

      Where is the report that advice is contained in? Is that advice the official position of the EQC?

      • tsmithfield 26.1.1

        You’re stretching CV. There is no indication the comments were “off the cuff”. If the EQC have gone to the expense of a fly-over, then I assume they would take due diligence with the results from their survey. Those most qualified to know about the state of the city with respect to damage is the EQC. Key is entitled to rely on their advice.

        As I said, it is an estimate that will likely be an under-estimate. But its a hell of a lot better than the bullshit promulgated here and by the media trying to relate the figures to the number of condemned houses that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they require rebuilding.

        Anyway, the claim repeated here numerous times is that Key has been making this stuff up, when clearly he wasn’t. I think you were in that camp, CV. I think you owe the PM an apology.

        • Colonial Viper

          You’ve decided that he’s not making a prior comment up because he has made a new comment up saying that he wasn’t making his prior comment up?

          TS, where is the official report containing those numbers?

    • Pascal's bookie 26.2

      It appears that Key has got his figures from official advice

      In the House, Opposition leader Phil Goff asked what advice Mr Key had received from Civil Defence national co-ordinator John Hamilton, or any other officials, before saying some neighbourhoods would not be rebuilt.

      “None,” Mr Key replied


      So he lied to the house t?

      • tsmithfield 26.2.1

        How about quoting the next paragraph, Pascal. I think that may tie up with the EQC advice.

        • Pascal's bookie

          What where he says he had some “informal advice”?

          Is ‘informal advice’ closer to official advice than ‘off the cuff’ or ‘back of the envelope’ stuff or what?

          He’s said he had no official advice. So it appears that he didn’t ‘get his figures from official advice’.

          Do you have anything at all to say about Goff’s thinkng in that piece, or are you just going to continue to ignore the reasons people are giving for saying that what he did was wrong.

  27. tsmithfield 27

    I guess advice from officials doesn’t necessarily equate to official advice, in that official advice would need to meet a standard where arses can be kicked if it is wrong.

    However, the arial survey plus other information available such as the amount of liquifaction this time compared to last would lead a reasonable person to believe that the damage was substantially more serious. So, to a degree, he was stating the obvious. Goff even admits this himself.

    Don’t agree with Goff. Many people will probably be relieved to know the government is trying to find ways to ensure they are not locked in houses they can’t sell in places where they don’t want to live. Certainly the feedback I am getting. Many people are sick of the issues they are facing and want to get out of the area. As said earlier, many people won’t need estimates from the PM to know their area is stuffed.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      PM should not be relaying unsubstantiated numbers off the top of his head.

    • Pascal's bookie 27.2

      But saying that unspecified suburbs will have to be abandoned does not equate to letting people know that the “government is trying to find ways to ensure they are not locked in houses they can’t sell in places where they don’t want to live”.

      My Auntie was on the phone last night, her house is fine. Her neighbours aren’t. She was asking me if I knew what the PM meant, was he talking about her neighbourhood? I couldn’t tell her becuase he was a dick. All I could say was that we will have to wait for the reports to come through and that I’m sure everyone is doing their best.

      • tsmithfield 27.2.1

        I agree that there needs to be more certainty quickly. I sincerely hope the government quickly follows up its initial indication with more specifics to give more certainty for people.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Also from that Herald article:

          Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and support groups yesterday tried to dampen fears over which neighbourhoods may not be rebuilt.

          Mr Parker said that talk about abandoning neighbourhoods was speculation.

          “With regard to the land remediation, the simple fact of that matter is that everything else until we get that geotechnic information is really speculation and can be very alarming,” he said.

          “So I want you to relax, and when we’ve got that information those in the affected communities will be the first to know.”

          The chairman of support group CanCERN, Tom McBrearty, warned about upsetting Canterbury residents unnecessarily.

          “[Monday] night my phone began [ringing] at 7.30pm and didn’t stop ringing till 2am this morning, with very distressed Dallington and Riverside residents, very upset about the interpretation of land remediation.”

          So this idea that his comments didn’t upset anybody is simply false. And what positive thing did his abandoning suburbs comments achieve?

          I agree that there needs to be more certainty quickly.

          The point is that his comments increased the level of uncertainty.

          • Colonial Viper

            Mr Parker said that talk about abandoning neighbourhoods was speculation.


            The PM is making Parker’s job more difficult. Parker will not be happy that he had to spend time to track down where Key’s comments came from, and before he could refute them.

          • tsmithfield

            “So this idea that his comments didn’t upset anybody is simply false. And what positive thing did his abandoning suburbs comments achieve?”

            Almost anything a government says or does will be upsetting for some people and good news for others. Its not all or nothing. A lot of people would be very glad to know the government has a plan for what to do as well. Following your logic, a government should never say or do anything, because some people might get upset.

            • Pascal's bookie

              No, my logic is that the PM shouldn’t be running off at the mouth. I’ve been pretty clear at various points about what I think he should have been saying.

              What he did say led to Tom McBrearty getting lots and lots of phone calls, which rather strongly implies that there was a net increase in stressed out people.

            • Colonial Viper

              You’re working hard for your paymasters mate, paymasters you know are liars.

              [lprent: Speculating on who commentators are employed by is also covered under the speculation of real identities. It just leads to boring flamewars. ]

              • tsmithfield

                “What he did say led to Tom McBrearty getting lots and lots of phone calls, which rather strongly implies that there was a net increase in stressed out people.”

                But it doesn’t record the people who’s stress has been relieved or reduced because they have a hope now that they may not be locked into a housing situation they can’t get out of. These people won’t be ringing CANcern to complain.

                I actually think there are probably areas now, such as Bexley, where the damage to the land is so bad that the government can make a decision on relocating this housing right now. That would give certainty to these people. Resources could then be focused on making determinations about areas that are less obvious.

              • Pascal's bookie

                We can assume that those people who have been mystically relieved by Key’s vague statements about abandoned suburbs won’t have rung CANcern. Correct. That’s why I said ‘net’ .

                Your idea that we should just abandoned communities without bothering to do any scientific assessment is interesting, but I shan’t be subscribing to your newsletter, thank you.

                And the point, again, is that what Key said was vague.

                No one knew what suburbs and streets he was talking about, so anyone feeling bad about their area, rationally or not , may well have become very concerned. Many of them quite without cause. Hence the phone calls, and the Mayor’s concerns.
                All because Key ran off at the mouth.

                • tsmithfield

                  Some of those areas may well have been identified as borderline in the last EQC report. Given the huge amount of liquifaction taken out, it might be quite obvious those borderline cases must now be a fail.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Well get busy and write JK a note, ts, telling him the obvious areas.

                    On present form he’ll announce it this arvo and gerry can start bulldozing grandma’s off their property by nightfall. Progress, what ho.

    • tsmithfield 27.3

      Anyway, here is the full estimate for how the number was calculated:

      The preliminary figure of around 10,000 houses in Canterbury needing to be rebuilt was provided by the EQC’s geotechnical engineers in the first few days after the quake on February 22, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
      It was based on projected information obtained from the September 4 quake, and the significant increase in land damage observed in aerial flyovers after the February 22 quake.
      “This was an early indication of the number of rebuilds likely due to damage caused by the earthquake,” Mr Brownlee said.
      Around 3500 properties already required demolition and rebuilding after the first earthquake last year.
      In addition to the properties which need to be rebuilt because of damage caused by liquefaction and lateral spreading, there are also a number of houses which will need to be rebuilt because they have been damaged by very strong shaking from the 22 February earthquake.
      The preliminary figure of around 10,000 was not based on the Civil Defence’s process of red stickering houses, Mr Brownlee said.
      “A red sticker on a house simply means it is presently uninhabitable.
      “Our experience to date, and the advice we’re getting, is there will be a number of other people living in houses that are still habitable who after full assessment will find their house is not economic to repair and will need to be rebuilt.
      “There are also a number of red stickered houses which are likely to be able to be repaired.”

      If we wait until we have “official” figures for everything, then it will take decades to restore the city. I totally agree with the PM. Where the advice, although not to an official standard, is stating the obvious, then we need to be making decisions on that, rather than waiting to all the i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed.

      Note that the number of properties requiring rebuild already was 3500, significantly higher than that bullshit “condemned” figure waved around here and in the media.

      • Colonial Viper 27.3.1

        Key snatched the numbers out of mid air, Brownlee has no credibility (where is that report, where did the report say that those suburbs would need to be abandoned) and all you are doing here is saying that the rebuild can be done by the seat of the pants.

        Typical Key and Brownlee approach of course. Try and spin something as “obvious” when no one else will back them on it.

        Haven’t seen the EQC back any of Key’s numbers.

        I don’t think Parker is going to like any of this.

        • tsmithfield

          Haven’t seen anything from EQC to refute what Brownlee has said. Until then, what Brownlee says stands. I am sure if he has been silly enough to tell porkies someone will leak the truth to the media.

          • Colonial Viper

            You put your trust in some bloody idiots. “What Brownlee says stands” what a load of rot.

            Tell me, what did Brownlee ever do to earn your loyalty?

      • bbfloyd 27.3.2

        i had thought that you were simply a serial fisker ts,…..but now irealise that you are simply suffering from the delusion that you mediocre intellect is actually a large one. combine that with a severe anal retentive reaction to any assault on your worldviews, (as demonstrated by the compulsive fisking) and voila! ,,

        you can look yourself up in an encyclopedia under: over educated mediocrity.

  28. MrSmith 28

    I thought we had an unemployment problem in this country, Brownlee need to taken to task about EQC and there pitiful under staffing, try ringing them the message basically says call back in a week the same message as last week, I still have a huge hole in my roof from the first quake, I understand that there are people far worse off than me, but thats no excuse not hire or train more people to answer the phones, shit someone might even pick up some basic skills! Hey but that’s not what the Nacts want people with skills might want to be payed more than $12.50 an hr.

    • bbfloyd 28.1

      an excellent opportunity to get some temporary work schemes up and running i would think.

  29. jcuknz 29

    I guess this thread could be summed up as a lack of leadership on the part of one of The Standard’s leader writers. Instead of a positive approach it created an opportunity for senseless back-biting and bad-mouthing.

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      Key’s verbal clumsiness and need to appear important while adding zero value with his comments is the only bad-mouthing going on here.

    • Marty G 29.2

      So wrong.
      First, we are not the government, we don’t have a duty to lead.
      Second, we have been very hesitant to criticise the leadership of the government. Until this week the posts have been about funding and rebuilding options. It is only in the last few days that the inadequacy of the Nat leadership has justified posts.
      Third, we’ve been offering solutions all along and still are.
      We don’t want Key and co to be in charge but they are for the next nine months so we want them to do a good job.

      • tsmithfield 29.2.1

        The whole basis of this thread was flawed from the start.

        Firstly the inability to understand that buildings condemned by civil defence relate to safety, not to repairability. Quoting Irish above:

        “…and now it turns out he’s second guessing civil defence about how many houses have been destroyed:”

        A bit of deeper research would have solved this problem.

        Secondly, the premise was advanced that Key was simply making up the figures for unrepairable houses.

        Quoting Irish:

        “…but making shit up isn’t appropriate.”

        Now we know that the government had at the very least informal advice from EQC on the scale of the problem. Now, you may have the view that the Government should have waited for better quality advice. However, it is very obviously not the case that Key was dreaming the figures up out of his own head.

        Therefore, it was really a poor effort from Irish this time IMO.

        IrishBill: Not as poor as your effort to misrepresent my argument. Take a week off.

        • Bright Red

          bullshit. Key himself admited there is no advice from officials to base the 10,000 number on and everyone else in the know is scratching their heads wondering how he came up with it.

          If you were living in the eastern suburbs, it wouldn’t take too much maths to work out ‘10,000 houses demolished’ is a death sentence for your suburb and the surrounding suburbs. Avonside and Dallington only have a couple of thousand houses each (populations both 7,000).

          • neleftie

            geeze one could be quite cynical and wonder at the called for dispersement of a hard core labour electorate base on little undertsanding or factual eviedence.
            I exclaim ” how much mud can Key throw at himself and still the masses not see it”

        • BLiP

          I think you must have been reading a different post. The main premise here is that John Key unnecessarily spread fear and concern. This is just yet another example of his incompetent leadership at a time of distress. Basically, Key is so beyond his abilities in trying to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake that he is making things worse. So far, the country as a whole and the people of Christchurch particularly would be better informed and less fearful if John Key were to just fuck off.

          • Pete

            The main premise here is that John Key unnecessarily spread fear and concern.

            That premise is unproven. It may have caused some more fear and concern, but it may also have given some people hope that there would be an assisted way out of their nightmare. I suspect most will just have thought it isn’t a surprise based on what they’ve seen.

            If you think he is making things worse by saying what he did have the media made it much worse? Has Goff made it worse still by continuing to highlight it in parliament? It wouldn’t have taken much to figure out if Key makes minor boobs it’s best just to leave it at that rather than join the boobing.

            Key will never please everyone in Christchurch, nor will he please many here, but that’s no reason for him not to continue to work for most people as they best way he can. It’s easy sitting in the comfort of our solid homes dissing those working in a very difficult situation.

            • Colonial Viper

              That premise is unproven.

              This is bullshit.

              How is this premise going to be proved? By getting some PhD students to do surveys in the eastern suburbs asking if they were subject to the spreading of unnecessary fear and concern?

              Our PM is not a Prime Minister, he is a Prime Mincer, and he’s struggling to keep it light and breezy as he prefers.

              Key will never please everyone in Christchurch, nor will he please many here

              Watch the confidence in the Government continue sinking buddy. So at least you are right on this count.

              • neleftie

                That CV is our hope cause without a labour victory this country is quite stuffed.
                Interesting that the the great waffler stoped waffling and got wacked today, The prime mincer and the nice waffler – what a pair – both cant lead in these darkest of times

            • BLiP

              That premise is unproven. It may have caused some more fear and concern . . .


        • handle

          “Now we know that the government had at the very least informal advice from EQC on the scale of the problem. ”

          Don’t you think Key would have said that in Parliament yesterday if it was true? Instead he admitted receiving no advice.

          The claim about EQC comes only from Brownlee. Has anyone verified it?

  30. neleftie 30

    actaully that is the whoe point – we are standing on the edge and we have two clowns holding our arms – do you trust them to right the country in its darkest hour of need. two recessions and a massive natural event that is causing huge uncertainity. Stand up and be counted i say to the future labour leader….

  31. BLiP 31

    I’ve developing second thoughts and wondering if, perhaps, I’m once again guilty of under estimating John Key. He may, in fact, be playing a very clever and skillful game on behalf of his true masters. Given his lying and deliberate fear mongering, I can see this now as part of a wider agenda to keep the population compliant so as to more easily pull off another disaster-capitalism heist. Well, wouldn’t put it past the prick.

    • KJT 31.1

      I thought it was patently obvious by now that Key is a carefully selected electable “good bloke” to continue the burglary of NZ started by Douglas and co. When Brash proved unelectable they cast around for a suitable figurehead with enough charisma to appeal to the public.
      If Key does not deliver NZ to those who want to get a lot richer quicker by robbing us. He will be gone by the time the votes are counted, and another puppet dictator appointed.

      Meanwhile Labour are sleeping at the wheel. Or maybe they have been bought off like the Union leadership in the 80’s.

      There is ample evidence that Neo-liberalism is just a huge scam to make banks and US corporates rich.

      Old style right wing conservatives had the good of all of us at heart as much as the left wing did. We just disagreed on the means. This lot are outright criminals.

  32. neoleftie 32

    BLips – maybe more opportune that created i think…sure the elites have vested interest in promoting their own agenda but..

    • BLiP 32.1

      Heh! No, I’m not suggesting that Key caused the earthquake. I just can’t get over his leadership of New Zealand in the aftermath or, more to the point, his lack of leadership. Down my local, the general theme is that our leaders are doing the best they can given the circumstances. Its early days and we, the sheep, are confident things are progressing well. Not me, though. I don’t feel comforted that my whanau are being looked after, I don’t feel confident that there’s any sort of plan in place. Why is John Key just making things up? What exactly is Gerry Brown actually doing? Who’s the leader of the Labour Party again? What is the co-leader of the Green Party doing on morning television cooking PORK!!!

      Sure, its heartening, moving even, to see the volunteers and the professionals going about their business; but where are the wise words, the vision, our government, FFS!!

      (And while I’m having a moan, what’s cdn.topsy.com and why is my browser taking so long to connect with it off this page?)

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