Some personal reflections on the quake

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, February 28th, 2011 - 54 comments
Categories: broadcasting, disaster, public services - Tags: , ,

Greetings all, especially any readers in Christchurch and surrounds (though I know that you have better things to do right now than read a blog).

There’s been lots of good stuff written on the quake. I’m not going to try to add to it in any systematic way. These are just a few random personal reflections, big picture and small, all that I can put my head around writing tonight.

• Get used to it. It won’t usually be earthquakes (I hope), but extreme weather events are going to be increasing in frequency, and challenging us in similar ways. So be personally prepared with your physical resources and your skills. And support the country’s attempts to prepare and respond in whatever way you can.

• A general tax to rebuild Christchurch? Good idea.

• Just because it’s a platitude doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Health is everything. In this kind of event the elderly and infirm are incredibly vulnerable. All that material “wealth” around you? 90% of it is junk that you can do without. Health is the thing to have.

• Bloody olive oil. Once it’s fallen from a high shelf into an open draw full of pyrex and exploded onto the remains of a pantry, it’s a real pain in the arse. You try cleaning a litre of olive oil mixed with shards of glass out of the remains of a kitchen, with no water or power, you’ll see what I mean.

• Thank goodness for Radio NZ. When the power goes off, when the phones are down, when the shit hits the fan, there’s RNZ. I’ve recently been able to look at some of the great stuff that is available on the web, and I’m sure that was useful to those with access, but for many of us, radio was the lifeline.

• Thank you guy with a wheelbarrow. Wandering around the neighbourhood with a well used barrow, a shovel, and a big smile, you were out there looking for liquefaction to shift and people to help. Thank you to all of the volunteers and helpers, the professionals working huge hours, and the folk who just checked on their neighbours. Thank you all.

• The emergency response in the first few days was bloody brilliant. I don’t know who to thank here (I haven’t been paying much attention to abstractions). All I do know, from ground level, is that the right stuff happened, fast. Cordon’s up. Water distribution. Portaloos. Good advice on the radio. We had EQC people in the street looking at damage. Orion not only picked up the phone but they acted on the information. People and companies donated food and resources from far and wide. Brilliant.

• Let’s hear it for Big Government. Regulation regulation regulation – I heard one estimate (sorry forget where) that the building regulations, sensibly designed and honestly enforced, just saved 50,000 lives in Christchurch. Planning planning planning – whomever set up the EQC deserves a bloody medal. How would we ever cope without it?

• We were lucky with the season. This would have gone much harder in Winter.

• That amazing community feeling born of shared experience and shared challenge is very real and very uplifting. Will it also be enduring? For most (I am no longer in Chch) this is going to go on and on for days and weeks. Rebuilding will take months and years. From what I have recently seen of media coverage of damage to the city, my gut estimate is 10 years to rebuild. It’s going to be tough.

• Let’s try and see past the disaster for Christchurch, and forward to the opportunity. A chance to re-imagine the city. My vote – a proper light rail transit system, free bicycles and a car-free CBD. Plan now for a post-oil city, a chance to do it right.

That’ll do for tonight. Keep safe, wherever you are, and spare a thought for those in Christchurch. Even better, find some way to help out, if you can.

54 comments on “Some personal reflections on the quake”

  1. lprent 1

    Good to see that you survived it. Time to see where the oil and other liquids live… As you say this stuff is bad enough to clean up with such luxuries as hot water.

    • r0b 1.1

      I managed to miss the quake itself this time, so survival wasn’t an issue for me – I’m one of the lucky ones. Also meant I had a chance to fill the car with fresh water before I hit town the next day, which came in very handy.

  2. the sprout 2

    Thanks r0b. I hope the distress is easing.

    • r0b 2.1

      G’day sprout. As above I didn’t have the trauma of the quake itself this time. Too busy in the aftermath to feel much distress, and I haven’t seen much of the city myself yet. I suspect it will hit hardest the first time I get back to the central regions and see the damage up close. Not looking forward to that…

  3. All the best r0b. Trust things are on the improve.

    Your comments are very unassuming and unpolitical yet at the same time deeply political. I must say that politics becomes so much more interesting when the personalities are avoided and people talk about the things that matter.

  4. todd 4

    What’s in your Survival Kit?

    http://thejackalman.blogspot.com/2011/02/whats-in-your-survival-kit.html

    So you might be thinking that it’s never going to happen to you and you wont ever need to leave your home for an extended period of time and survive on your own.

  5. oscar 5

    Thanks Rob, well written.

    Just on a similar vein to the rebuild tax, EQC levy. Given that the EQC is very much ‘disaster insurance’ and should be used to cover all NZers, does it not make more sense for every Kiwi to pay this via their income?
    The levy is no doubt going to have to increase, and given the relatively few people that bother insuring, if they can get away with it, why not spread EQC levies amongst the population?
    That way, we can look at covering say 10K for contents, 100K for house. Keep contents deliberately low so people have to have private coverage too. No change to the value of house coverage, but again, people will require private coverage to top it up.
    In situations such as this when Eqc is cleaned out, makes sense to build the kitty from all kiwis, for all kiwis.

    • ianmac 5.1

      A figure was mentioned on Nat Radio this morning for EQC levy to increase from about $70 to about $120-170 per house.

    • lprent 5.2

      It is specific to the basic building insurances, eg fire insurance because that is where most of the destroyed value is. I find it rather hard to think that people don’t cover that. Apart from anything else, if you have a mortgage it is usually required along with some life cover.

      Since all buildings should be covered (unless you’re crazy) and everyone has to live somewhere, it seems to me that keeping it on insurance premiums is adequete.

      The EQC actually isn’t “disaster insurance”. It is insurance for specific types of disasters. For instance (taking just one odd disaster type) it doesn’t cover you for meteorite impacts.

      • Sanctuary 5.2.1

        To which the grimly predictable response of the odious Peter Creswell is the hysterically claim that the government is stealing money from your pocket. Perhaps now would be a good time to ask the ACT party and libertarians what their attitude to a EQC would if one did not exist and the government proposed to create it..

        Although I think we all know what their view will be without having to ask.

        Maybe if some good thing does come out of the Christchurch earthquakes it is going to be the exposure of the utter bankruptcy of spirit that lies at the heart of libertarianism and the whole damned neo-liberal project.

        • dave brown 5.2.1.1

          The neoliberal project is not a ‘project’ but a move globally to grap resources cheaply to counter falling profits. The govts that imposed neoliberal policies were responding to falling profits not pure greed.

          The problem is capitalism not some aberration caused by elite greed. NZ has moved in this direction since 1984. The NACTs represent a new gentry of landowners, speculators and banksters – all parasites on the backs of the working class trying to monopolise land, water and cheap labour. Disaster capitalism is the new mode that the parasitic ruling class uses to con us all into letting them grap what is left of nature while we are supposed to feel good about it.

          The quake needs to be seen in this context. Calling it a ‘national emergency’ and saying we are all in it together is cynically exploiting peoples humanity so that the poor pay for this disaster. Of course people want to help, it is instinctive to pull together in an emergency as a matter of self-preservation. But this becomes exploited as free labour in the re-capitalising of ChCh to favour the rich. Taxing everyone does the same thing – a regressive move to get us all to pay for this and the other coming disasters that are caused by capitalism’s drive to exploit nature.

          The quake compounds this process, as the rich will benefit from the rebuilding of ChCh, “support rebuilding ChCh business campaign”, while the poor will suffer big losses in living standards, jobs, education, and be hounded by WINZ to get into low paid shitty jobs or be judged as welfare scroungers.

          To pay for this disaster we have to kick out the NACTs, take back the tax cuts to the rich, imposed a capital gains tax on all the speculators, and borrow to compensate the victims of the quake fully, set in motion a public works building program to rebuild ChCh around the needs of its working class community, in particular its health and safety, and not the interests of the capitalist class. The ChCh working class needs to organise around its union base to build its own response to the quake and challenge the top-down ruling class management of this disaster. Maybe that way there will be a groundswell of a different sort that builds a social movement capable of ending NZs capitalist disaster story and putting working people in power.

          • magic 5.2.1.1.1

            Can you insure against an investment loss? NO. Get a grip on reality and economics my friend. Without organisations who are prepared to evaluate proposed risk, you would not have the funds for the rebuild. Private sector organisations have donated in excess of $5m so far. Its the intention of investment and application that counts. The families who have lost more than can be calculated may find some hope for the future through financial aid…

            It was the vision of those who built CHCH to invest for the future…and they did that so well. I was in CHCH 1 week prior to this disaster and I have never been to a better city. The people of CHCH are an example of my neighbour is my friend. They worked together when building the city; investing time and effort for the good of everyone. The finacial institutions will now have to pay back..and rightly so, as is only fair in economic terms.

            The only true loss is that which is personal and forever…..that is the only tax you face in life. Think on numpty.

    • Lanthanide 5.3

      They were saying on the radio this morning that NZ is actually very highly insured, and that also in other countries it is nigh-impossible to get earthquake insurance, whereas you can here. Those two factors go towards making this probably the largest insurance claim internationally this year.

      Also the way that EQC cover works (which John Key worryingly got completely 100% wrong) is that the fund covers the first $1.5B for a disaster, then overseas re-insurers cover the next $2.5B, and the rest is left to private insurance or the government. There was $6.4B in the kitty prior to September, which will eat up $1.5B, and this quake will eat up $1.5B, so there is $3.4B left, enough to cover 2 more earthquakes with significant damage. This is why it was important that this new quake be considered a separate event for insurance purposes (which it is), because that allows the $4B to come from EQC and re-insurers; otherwise that would’ve been lumped onto private insurers and the government.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        I hope the insurance industry continues to give earthquake cover to Canterbury. Your comment that its impossible to get earthquake cover in many countries is worrying.

        • Rich 5.3.1.1

          Thats what’s really going to stuff things. If you can’t insure a property, you can’t get a mortgage. That’ll mean that while people will probably be able to stay in their existing houses (the banks could theoretically foreclose on them for not having insurance, but they won’t because of the bad debts), they won’t be able to move unless they can find a cash buyer (and don’t need a mortgage on a new property).

          Which means the government is going to have to intervene somehow and sort this out.

          • Rich 5.3.1.1.1

            Also, does anyone know what happens if one is a tenant on a fixed term and the basic services like water and sewerage have failed. Are you entitled to walk out early?

            • Lanthanide 5.3.1.1.1.1

              If the house is uninhabitable, they can give 48 hours notice and then cease to pay rent.

              The problem arises when the landlord thinks a house is habitable but the tenants don’t. In those cases you need to go through the normal tenancy disputes process.

              The ideal outcome is that both parties agree, or if the house is marginal the tenants may be willing to pay reduced rent.

              • prism

                Rich – some info from google. All the best for solving your problem.

                Residential Tenancies (from lawyers site)
                In the event of a natural disaster, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 allows both the landlord and tenant to terminate the tenancy. Where a home has been damaged to the extent that it is uninhabitable, no rent shall be payable until the home is reinstated so that the tenant can re-occupy. Alternatively, the landlord or tenant may wish to terminate the tenancy. If a tenant wishes to terminate the tenancy, the landlord must be given at least two days notice. Where a landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy, the tenant must be given at least seven days notice. In situations where the home is partially damaged, the rent may be proportionately reduced or either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order terminating the tenancy.

                http://www.saunders.co.nz/when-a-disaster-strikes-know-your-rights/

                Also Citizens Advice Bureau CAB 0800367222 or 0800 FOR CAB
                http://www.cab.org.nz/vat/hle/rt/Pages/Rightsobligationsoftenantslandlords.aspx
                or by landline – CAB Bishopdale contact 03-359 8090
                Hereford St 03-366 6490 – Hornby 03-349 5236 – Rangiora 03-313 8822

                Or – contact Tenancy Services on. 0800 83 62 62

                • weka

                  Yes, but that’s for houses that have been damaged. Houses that haven’t been damaged but don’t have water, power, sewerage currently because of problems outside the property are still apparently deemed habitable.

                  • Lanthanide

                    If you have sewerage coming up on the property, that would probably count as a health hazard.

                    • weka

                      Yes, I think they were meaning houses that were habitable to the property boundary.

                      But if there is sewerage in the property, or there is silt in the road so you can’t drive onto the property etc, those things are fixable. I’m not sure you could get out of a fixed term lease on the basis of one of those. I don’t know what would be considered a reasonable amount of time to fix things though.

                • Rich

                  I should add that I fortunately don’t have this issue, but was wondering what would happen if large numbers of people up and leave.

              • weka

                A friend’s son, whose house is fine apart from no services, has been told by Tenancy that they can’t get out of their fixed term lease just because there are no utilities (the son is moving out). Apparently the utilities aren’t the responsibility of the landlord. I’ve also heard this from another friend who works in the housing sector. She said it probably wouldn’t be a problem because the landlord will easily find other tenants and has a duty to do so.

                • Lanthanide

                  Easily find other tenants, without utilities? Don’t think so. The only real candidates to go into that sort of rental would be those who were renting a house that is now completely uninhabitable. Anyone else who owned property that is now uninhabitable (that they still have to pay a mortgage on) is unlikely to want to move into a house that has no utilities and pay rent on it.

                  • weka

                    True, but there is going to be a shortage of rental houses. There were people still living in substandard houses after Sept, it’s going to be worse this time. Unless there are alot of people leaving town, some people are going to have to live in houses without utilities for a period of time. This is doable in the short term (people are already doing it).

                    My friend’s son is at polytech and Otago have said they will take some of those students so they can keep on with their courses. So he’s gone to Dunedin. His otherwise intact is house is habitable, and legally the landlord has to find other tenants if they can. The son may have to pay rent for a few weeks to cover the interim. Once the power etc is back on, it will be easy to find tenants. That was my point, there is a way out of the fixed term leases.

                    I think sewerage will be the biggest issue, it may take a long time to sort that, and some people won’t want to make do with interim solutions.

                • prism

                  Rich – article today on your problem.

                  The temptation for many renters will be to up sticks and go, claiming the homes they rented are now uninhabitable, but Tenancy Services told the Star-Times the earthquake had not given tenants an automatic right to stop paying rent.
                  Around 80% of Christchurch is without power and water. In that context it would not be possible to claim a property was uninhabitable for those reasons alone, a Tenancy Services call centre staffer said.
                  “If a property is uninhabitable, the tenant can give two days’ notice if it is a periodic or fixed tenancy,” Tenancy Services said. “But if it was [later] judged habitable then the landlord could take action to seek the rent back.”

                  http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/4711768/Tenants-still-have-to-pay-service

                  • ianmac

                    My son’s flat is part of a set of flats not far from Victoria Square and inside the restricted area. They have all been red stickered. He has contents insurance but is not allowed in to get his passport or his precious laptop. His advice from Tenancy Services is that his rent can stop and it has. My worry for him is where can he find permanent accommodation.

                    • prism

                      Does red stickered mean that something is likely to fall on you or a hole open up on the property, or is it that you just can’t live in it because it is too munted – holes in roof, doors on angle, windows out etc. Could some people be able to go to collect stuff from their places if under controlled access in and out? Some responsible people could be in charge and work through areas. People’s precious items will be hard to replace, I wonder if there is a blanket ban applied that is too rigid.

        • Lanthanide 5.3.1.2

          I should also add that the guy (chairman of Canterbury earthquake recovery commission – expecting his powers to be significantly broadened shortly) said that as far as he is aware, EQC is unique internationally. He said a few other countries have schemes that go part of the way, but no one else has anything the same.

      • prism 5.3.2

        Thanks for explanation Lanthanide.

        spambash – misunderstanding – John Key’s apparently. Does he only know how to play with money for gain, not how it is used when doing its real work.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Glad to hear you’re OK rob, unlike you I was in CCH for a conference on the day the earthquake struck.

    Although I’ve been in little tremors before I’ve never experienced anything like that before and hope not to ever again.

    I also can’t speak highly enough of the rescue and support services that sprang into action as well as the rapid offers of help and assistance that have come in from overseas, you certainly know who your friends are both locally and internationally when disasters like this happen.

    • r0b 6.1

      Cheers HS – glad you made it through. I think I know the very conference. Lucky in some ways that so many extra doctors were in town!

  7. ianmac 7

    Cheers Rob.
    Straight after the shock, News clips showed that the people moving along streets were distressed but not wildly panicking or screaming or scrabbling at each other to escape. Instead there were apparent strangers helping each other. People are pretty good when the chips are down. (Disaster movie makers take note!)

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      I’m sure if there were more continuing shocks coming at close intervals, there would’ve been a lot more panic.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    Car-free CBD is not going to work if you except to have any sort of commercial aspect there – people need cars to transport their shopping home.

    Light rail is also unlikely due to population density, but we could have a line going from Lyttleton to the CBD and through to the airport, for tourism purposes.

    We will be able to have a first-class bus terminal and potentially dedicated bus-lanes through much of the city. They were wanting to expand the bus terminal but had no room or other potential locations in the CBD, and so were considering 3 smaller hubs in the suburbs instead. Now they’ll be able to build what they wanted to, somewhere in the CBD.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Car-free CBD is not going to work if you except to have any sort of commercial aspect there – people need cars to transport their shopping home.

    Hmmmmm gotta disagree with you there. Many cities have moved their thinking on from that. Hong Kong and Singapore are shopping havens, but everyone uses public transport to take their shopping home. Further, office workers only have briefcases and laptops to transport. Many CBDs do not have large retail malls (which are more in the suburbs), focussing more on commercial office space.

    Sydney is also seriously reconsidering cutting out almost all traffic out of parts of its CBD.

    Reviving Ms Moore’s long-held goal of making Sydney more pedestrian-friendly, the plan calls for cars to be blocked from stretches of George Street, although buses and taxis would be allowed access. Traffic at Liverpool and King Streets would be redirected to Kent and Castlereagh Streets.

    http://www.themotorreport.com.au/50284/sydney-cbd-could-cut-out-traffic-completely-in-premiers-secret-plan

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Hong Kong and Singapore also have significantly denser population, so can support really good public transport. I seriously doubt that CHCH has the density, especially as there is already an extensive road network in place in the suburbs and we generally have only mild road congestion (when was the last time Christchurch was mentioned on the national radio ‘traffic update’ in the mornings?).

      Sydney cutting a couple of streets to car access doesn’t really rebut my point at all – you can still take your car into the CBD and park it somewhere and walk, much as we already do in CHCH (with car-parking buildings).

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Perhaps a mixed solution then.

        We should plan for $4/L petrol happening within the next 3 years.

        • Lanthanide 9.1.1.1

          Yes, definitely agree. Electric busses as per Wellington would be a possibility, but having a CBD and public transport based around regular busses is a good option. We already had busses that ran on LPG in the centre of the city (the free yellow Shuttle service) and standard bus diesel engines can be made to run on all sorts of fuels, including biofuels.

          Our bus system was already pretty world-class, with the panels at most bus stops indicating the interval till the next arrival, and online trip planner that would show you the best routes to take and compare the travel time with other transport such as walking, biking or driving and the RFID metro card introduced in CHCH years before similar services in Auckland or Wellington.

  10. prism 10

    I wasn’t in Christchurch this time but feel personally involved, not just because I have family there. Listening to Radio NZ’s helpful coverage – reporting, questioning, informing of facilities, phone numbers, I can only praise them to the highest. I have family in Chch and got their Tuesday evening text message at 4.35 am Wednesday so the phone system was a great help. Nokia I think were offering car battery chargers for cellphones. A must addition to the emergency kit.

    Doing helping things, money donated, sleeping bags donated, and learning things for likely future disasters. I must remember to ensure radio has spare batteries galore – so many Chch people didn’t know the situation, water availability or portaloos. Son wants my spare landline phone. Had bought battery powered radio after last quake. Lesson from Rob’s experience – store oil on bottom shelf.

    People are summoning up incredible reserves of energy and determination to manage now and plan for a different future. The privations are ongoing for many, and lost for many are the memories of the past, the family photos of the dead, the CDs or hard drives wrecked or unreachable. These are the losses that will live on when housing and services are available once more.

  11. Lanthanide 11

    Here’s another tip that everyone here should take heed of – you might already have emergency supplies, gas cookers, water etc, but you might have them stored in your garage.

    This is of very little use if the only access to your garage requires electricity to be working, or alternative access doors to get inside is blocked by fallen objects and you can’t get in.

    Make sure you keep your emergency supplies inside your house.

    captcha: universal

    • weka 11.1

      Or spread them out, depending on the construction of your house. Keep main supplies in the house (or best available building, it might still be the garage depending on your setup – my parents garage would be easier to access than the house if the buildings partially collapsed), and keep the pack that you would have to leave with somewhere else. Hard core survivalists suggest burying it somewhere away from the buildings, but I think that’s OTT for most people. I’m going to put some basics in my car because it’s least like to get anything falling on it.

      • Lanthanide 11.1.1

        Very few houses actually collapsed to the point of being unsafe to be inside. Lots of them are red-strickered with broken foundations or holes in the roof, such that you wouldn’t want to live in them, but general access has been maintained for the vast majority of them.

        Compared to the number of houses that didn’t have electricity immediately after the quakes, for example.

        Sure, spreading your stuff around is definitely the optimal choice, but mainly the idea is not to put all your eggs in one basket, especially if the basket is highly likely to be inaccessible.

  12. DS 12

    The best advice I can have is to never let your car have less than half a tank of gas. I normally run on empty but had fortunately had filled up the week before so could get out of town. If petrol stations are closed then you’re stuck in dodge.

    Back now in Chch. It’s insane. The aftershocks are decreasing in size and frequency but they remind you of those horrible moments on Tuesday. Which is something I wish I could forget. But whenever I close my eyes I see my desk jumping up toward my head, and the blood pouring out of the head of one of guys sitting outside work (non-fatal).

    Stupid earthquake.

  13. Nate 13

    I was in the CBD on Tuesday. Somehow managed to walk/run down Manchester St to get to my wife at the other end, then hitch home for the kids. I do wish more people had left their cars and walked – it would have been easier for everyone than hundreds of 1-person cars blocking up all the streets.

    I totally agree for the forward-thinking of some people. We need decent developments that work for the climate and new landscape – not more shoeboxes that are under-insulated and sub-standard…

    • r0b 13.1

      Manchester St must have been one of the most dangerous places in the city. Glad you both made it OK.

      On the cars – oh yes. An elderly relative being rushed to the Central Hospital an hour after the event got gridlocked about 2km away. Thank goodness for a passing nurse (on foot).

      Stay out of the cars if you can. Leave the roads for emergencies and emergency services.

  14. RedLogix 14

    A fine and perceptive article Rob. In reading it my heart was lifted…. for we are in essence a cooperative species. Events like this have a way of demolishing not only buildings, but our delusions as well, leaving visible the reality underlying our existence…. that our relationships and depth of social connectedness is all that really matters.

    Neo-liberal greed can go fuck itself.

    • Bored 14.1

      The co-operation was a joy to behold, certainly showed a more positive side to people than the base greed that is the basis of market ideology. We are all (wel the vast majority of us) generous and caring toward our fellow people, strangers or known. Touche, neo lib greed trumped, and fucked over.

      Practical things….
      Drinking water
      Washing water
      Disinfectant
      Wet wipes
      Hand cleaning gel
      Heavy gloves
      Battery radio and torch
      Documents and a bag of essentials ready to go if you are evacuated.

    • Armchair Critic 14.2

      Neo-liberal greed can go fuck itself.
      +1

  15. Bored 15

    Bicycles….saw cyclists being very mobile where cars were not.

  16. chris73 16

    To be honest its good to have the distraction of blogs to take my mind off things

    • r0b 16.1

      Well then we’re glad that you can be here to keep telling us the error of our ways. All the best for the hard yards ahead.

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    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    2 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    6 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    6 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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