Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, March 5th, 2011 - 24 comments
3065 people have already claimed the special benefit for people left unemployed due to the Christchurch earthquake. Once that payment expires in a few weeks they’ll be on the dole, if they’re eligible. The quake killed and did physical damage in seconds but, without action, it will keep strangling the economy and taking jobs for […]
Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, March 4th, 2011 - 4 comments
I know that the thoughts of the whole country are with those in Christchurch, especially the family and friends of the dead and missing. And the thanks of the whole country are with the rescue teams and other workers, who have done everything humanly possible in very dangerous circumstances. Thank you all.
Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, March 3rd, 2011 - 68 comments
We’ve heard figures of $20 billion damage from the Christchurch quakes, $5 billion uninsured for the government to cover. Now, Key has given an estimate of the lost economic output this year – $12 billion, 6% of GDP. He says that will mean $5 billion less government revenue – a hole the size of the defence and law and order budgets combined. updated
Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, March 3rd, 2011 - 57 comments
Farrar says it’s ‘ghastly’ to discuss how to pay for rebuilding Christchurch, since the obvious answer is by reversing the tax cuts rich people like him have pocketed. Well, I think how the poor eastern suburbs of Christchurch have been ignored is ghastly. Fortunately, resilient communities are organising themselves, without government.
Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, March 3rd, 2011 - 46 comments
As the long haul gets under way in Christchurch there are going to be many flash points for conflict. One of the first to emerge is the tension between landlords and tenants, as the following selection of articles makes clear.
Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, March 2nd, 2011 - 76 comments
English on Working for Families cuts: “around 1,000 families earning over $100,000 receive WFF, and payments to those families total only $1.1 million … Taking higher-income families out of WFF saves very little money …
In this uncertain economic climate, we want to give all families certainty about their incomes”
Written By: - Date published: 4:21 pm, March 2nd, 2011 - 43 comments
It’s 2am and, like many people in Christchurch, I am not sleeping too well just now. But at least we now have power, so I can use the time productively. My personal history of the past week will have to wait. It may be interesting to some, but it’s not important right now. What’s important is what is is NOT happening adequately in the acute post-quake period, because the official response is dwarfed by the size of the problem.
Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, March 1st, 2011 - 42 comments
The government’s wage subsidy and universal redundancy for quake-affected workers is a start. But with 750 red-stickered buildings in the CBD alone and 200+ jobs already lost, it is just a start. The private sector won’t rebuild without demand, that will have to be supplied by the government upping its spending, and that needs to be paid for.
Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, March 1st, 2011 - 26 comments
Christchurch has been called “Victorian planning at its most remarkable”. It needs to be rebuilt in a style that retains or even amplifies as much of its formerly cosy, reassuring character as possible, for the sake of the tourism industry, the locals, and its cultural legacy. Germany’s Freiburg is a useful example of restoring a city to former glory.
Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, March 1st, 2011 - 24 comments
Today at 12:51 pm marks exactly one week since the earthquake struck, and probably around 300 people lost their lives. PM John Key has called on the country to observe 2 minutes silence, starting at that time, to honour the victims of the quake.
Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, February 28th, 2011 - 92 comments
Unless a leader is horribly neglectful in the wake of a disaster, like Bush after Katrina, I don’t think there is any grounds to criticise them for the immediate disaster response, which is largely out of their hands anyway. But the policy response that follows is a legitimate topic for political debate. And I’m worried about Key’s.
Written By: - Date published: 11:33 am, February 28th, 2011 - 3 comments
They are doing pretty well on restoring the power. With the exception of some small outlying areas, along the strike line and the CBD most of the city has power again as you can see from this chart. At a guess it will probably take some time on the major remaining areas simply because these are the areas that had the most vertical acceleration during the quake.
Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, February 28th, 2011 - 19 comments
Concurrently Christchurch’s second big quake, the effects of two other shocks are beginning to ripple through our country. Food prices are putting basics out of reach and this week will see another big petrol price hike. All three of these shocks will require us to pool our resources and redirect them to rebuilding resiliently.
Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, February 28th, 2011 - 54 comments
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 from inside the disaster zone, big picture and small, all that I can put my head around writing tonight.
Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, February 26th, 2011 - 140 comments
Apart from Radio New Zealand, which is doing an excellent job as our public broadcaster, and The Press, the media’s coverage of the quake has disappointed. Supplying needed information has been a secondary priority behind the morbid running death count and Facebook-derived stories of the dead. Also: a response to Armstrong’s quake-article.
Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, February 25th, 2011 - 35 comments
It is with a great deal of reluctance that I have to actually support Whaleoil on a post about a rather obnoxious website blaming the Christchurch quake on ‘depravity’. He actually proposes a course of action that has a good chance of getting rid of this offensive site. Of course being Whaleoil some of his other statements are just stomach churning.
Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, February 25th, 2011 - 121 comments
We hear a lot of, frankly, trite comments in times of disaster about how the people affected are ‘tough’ and a special breed. People are people. But communities can be more resilient in the face of disaster if they have existing civil society organisations to rally around and help coordinate their actions. Canterbury Students’ Association is a perfect example.
Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, February 24th, 2011 - 74 comments
Frustration had rightly been growing at the lacklustre leadership of the recovery from Christchurch’s September earthquake. Obviously, this new quake is going to require a whole new level of energy and resource. I don’t think the government will be so negligent as to go at this half-arsed or half-cocked. Here’s some things it can do.
Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, February 24th, 2011 - 34 comments
When I looked at Geonet this morning, I found this image mapping the velocity of the earth movements in the 6.3 magnitude Lyttelton quake. It is astonishing.
With ground accelerations of up to 220% of earths gravity measured near the epicentre and 80% of gravity around the central business district it would have clearly exceeded the design specifications of many buildings.
Written By: - Date published: 6:24 pm, February 23rd, 2011 - 116 comments
The Civil Defence centre, the police, the ambulance services, the firemen, the hospitals, the army, the search and rescue specialists, the social services – they’re all part of the bureaucracy, as are all those who provide their back office support.
They don’t get a great press and are often described collectively as a block to progress. They’re not called public servants for nothing. Thank God they’re there when we need them.
Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, February 23rd, 2011 - 65 comments
We all know by now there is massive destruction and loss of life in Christchurch after the new earthquake. Once again, the emergency services and the people have performed admirably. Help is on the way from around New Zealand and overseas. The physical, economic, and social aftershocks of this will be felt for a long time.
Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, February 22nd, 2011 - 102 comments
Christchurch has been hit by another serious earthquake. Reports are pretty thin on the ground but it seems to have been 6.3, 5km down and 10km SE of the city. A strong shallow earthquake in the middle of the day.
Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 7th, 2011 - 23 comments
When a millionaire director and a foreign corporate wanted millions in tax breaks, Key jumped to it. When SCF collapsed the investors got an average of $60K, no questions asked. But when it comes to helping the ordinary families of Christchurch and the West Coast, the Nats are nowhere to be seen once the cameras are gone.
Written By: - Date published: 11:47 pm, December 16th, 2010 - 32 comments
It’s a tough Christmas for far too many Kiwis. Poverty is up, wages are down. 350,000 Kiwis are jobless or underemployed. The job losses are still coming. The rich got tax cuts, 70% got nothing. Drought is spreading. Thousands of Cantabrians face an uncertain future. Meanwhile, the Nats cynically exploit disaster to advance their agenda.
Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, December 13th, 2010 - 53 comments
I was in Christchurch this weekend for the second time since the quake. It felt like things are gradually getting worse. Compared to the pre-Christmas bustle in other cities, Christchurch CBD was a ghost-town. The public service’s emergency preparedness got us through the initial disaster – has enough been done since? What are your impressions?
Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, September 28th, 2010 - 22 comments
A group of 27 legal scholars from New Zealand and overseas has written an open letter outlining their deep concerns over the constitutional implications of the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010.
Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, September 26th, 2010 - 19 comments
In the aftermath of the twin towers, the dust that accompanied their collapse gave rise to a health crisis in the medium/long term that continues to play out to this day. And given the prevalence of asbestos in Christchurch buildings, it just might be that the earthquake will result in a number of preventable deaths after all…
Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 24th, 2010 - 81 comments
So. If you’re too poor to afford house insurance and you’re left homeless by an act of god, the government won’t help you.
But if you’re rich enough to own a farm, then one year you get hit by an act of god, the government will come running to your aid.
Written By: - Date published: 9:22 pm, September 22nd, 2010 - 26 comments
Parliament unanimously made Gerry Brownlee dictator. Apparently, this was necessary to save Christchurch. But are Dictator Gerry and Bob ‘the Rebuilder’ (wonder how long it took Kevin Taylor to come up with that one) actually delivering for the people who need it the most? Not if the anger in poor Christchurch suburbs is anything to go by.
Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, September 19th, 2010 - 21 comments
The ‘shock doctrine’ is how (capitalist) elites use moments of crisis to make power grabs while the normal checks are offline and/or the political opposition and media are swept up in a ‘unity’ mantra that prevents them acting to protect democracy. Last week, National used it to make us a dictatorship.