The quake: media coverage and leadership

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, February 26th, 2011 - 140 comments
Categories: disaster, leadership, Media - Tags:

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. It’s first job should be to supply needed information to people in the quake zone. Instead, we have this morbid running death count and Facebook-derived stories of the dead.

Today, in what I thought was a pretty tasteless article reading the chicken entrails on the electoral implications of the earthquake, John Armstrong praises Gerry Brownlee saying:

“He has already had to bang bureaucratic heads together to try and bring common sense to the release of victims’ names.

There is also a drastic need to get someone with real communication skills to close the increasing divide between what is happening and what Civil Defence thinks people should be allowed to know about what is happening.”

It seems to me that the praise is for overriding the considered opinion of specialist public servants so that the media could have get the names, rush to Facebook, and glean some quotes to pad out tear-jerker articles.

These kind of articles, and the breathless updating of the death count may draw the punters to the media but do they actually supply any useful information either to those directly affected or to the rest of us? There are good articles on the quakes damage, utilities, and how we in other regions can help but they are relegated to a secondary position.

Armstrong also takes a jab at John Key saying:

“The present political hiatus benefits only one person – the Prime Minister. Key has been omnipresent, if not omnipotent. He has used the advantage of incumbency to maximum effect in terms of being in the public eye and hogging the media.”

In other words: ‘Key is on the TV every chance he gets but he isn’t actually doing anything’. True enough but unfair. During a disaster like this, at least in the initial stages, there is little for the PM to actually do in terms of his policy-making role.

The policies were set long ago, the resources were put in place. Apart from the pro forma declaration of national emergency, which any PM would do, there’s no policy work in these first few days. What we do expect of a Prime Minister in these times is leadership. Essentially the PM’s job becomes paternalistic – assuring a frightened populace that everything will be OK. Key’s no Churchill, he reads stiffly from speeches written by others, but he is having a reasonably competent jab at the role any Prime Minister would been fulfilling at the moment.

The test for Key will come next week when we will start to want policy specifically:

  • an assistance package for business, probably in terms of paying their workers’ wages so that the private economy does not become hollowed out by the quake;
  • a levy to fund rebuilding and refilling the earthquake Commission’s coffers that will have to be most burdensome on the rich simply because no-one else has the money and it is obscene for Key to continue to pay himself a $23,000 a year tax cut now;
  • and a retargeting of spending away from white elephant motorways to Christchurch.

There will be some in the government advocating for use of the ‘shock doctrine’ – to use the disaster to push through radical reform (as Whaleoil is recommending).

In fact, I think Key will be responsible enough to drop the expensive and complicated tinkering with public assets, benefits, and the public sector and, instead, concentrate all his focus on Christchurch.

That will be the true test of his leadership.

140 comments on “The quake: media coverage and leadership ”

  1. lprent 1

    Recent media churning hasn’t been impressing me. I am finding their best stuff has been when they are either being briefed or interviewing the emergency staff. They are precise and passing the important messages. Of the politicians I have only have time for Parker, although it is clear that he badly needs to get some sleep. He has been sticking pretty damn close to what people need to know.

    Fran O’Sullivans article this morning was more interesting than armstrongs

    Brownlee – who cares? The actions of the district court judge there see of more relevance

  2. Tigger 2

    Great to see RNZ deservedly praised. It’s the only coverage I’ve seen that I can still engage with.

    Most of the media is stuck in grief porn mode.

  3. ianmac 3

    Parker is doing a good job. One of the few politicians who is direct, well-informed and concise.
    The PM only seems to communicate from set pieces. When speaking off the cuff says many words but says little. Inspiring? I try hard to be fair within the earthquake context but am not inspired. Aspirational? Hardly.
    National Radio seems to get a good balance. Suppose they can be more flexible and move faster. TV seems to need action on the screen. And some over-use certain words like “loved ones” and “devastation”.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Armstrong’s article today was second in a row that shows the guy has lost any sense of perspective. Anyone who can claim Rebstock’s assassins had “pulled their punches” then follow it up with todays tasteless serving needs a good, long holiday.

    And as for O’Sullivan – Idiot/Savants decription of her as “a higher-rent Lindsay Mitchell” hit the nail on the head.

  5. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker is a true humanitarian. He speaks with such empathy, he is organised, he is reassuring, he is dealing with the day to day realitiy of many basic essential services on a big scale not being available and making every effort to have them provided.

    Mayor Bob Parker’s leadership qualities are out standing. Many other individual efforts have not gone unnoticed either.

    • kultur 5.1

      I often wonder at how we all get sucked in by the media constructs.

      Parker is paid and elected to do his job. Is he – he is fronting to the media – he has a battery of advisors – he has highly paid and skilled people to execute the tasks required in emergencies … and he is the one who gets to regurgitate that back at you?

      He only got the mayoralty because of the last earthquake .. its all a bit like “i’ll bet on this horse because it looks so caring…” of course it looks caring – its the only one in front of the cameras. Anderton deserved the mayoralty – not Parker.

      Parker a true humanitarian – he comes across as a Remuera socialite doing charity work on the side for the underprivileged. It always feels like “god whens the next wine and cheese evening…” to me .. just an opinion and a perception …

      Same with Key and all of them .. they are paid to do it – thats what they were elected for … but they all get lauded as heroes – for what –

      Its a bit like the Air NZ airbus that crashed off the coast of france – the pilots and their families are treated like heros and national icons … but people die every day and the most they get is a family-paid-for obit that goes unnoticed. But acres of TV time is devoted to a grief-fest?

      If you were paid what parker is – and had as many staff and resources as parker – you too would be highly organised, empathetic and generally outstanding …

      Anderton actually would have been a decent mayor – not a “curator” and media presenter of others highly developed and hardwon skills during a disaster …

      • Treetop 5.1.1

        Are you implying that I am being sucked in by a media construct and that I lack the ability to think for myself?

        • kultur

          possibly – it depends – if the cap fits wear it

          then again i may have completely misunderstood your points and where you were coming from.

          like all of us here – im always looking for a photo op to get my stunningly brilliant points across.

          I reckon a healthy dose of cynicism with elected officials and highly paid providers is needed.

          Now – the guy who organised the helicopter and landbased lift of regular supplies from rangiora to CH is a hero – and he is a genuine empathetic – heroic – selfless person. Key and all other paid flunkies dont need to be thanked for just doing their jobs. Remember … a shitload of Christchurch people have no job now – cant get a job – wont get a job and have no money – Parkers Salary keeps coming in – so does Key’s Salary …. and the over $100K dollybirds and male dollymen who front up on TV looking concerned and stupid – are all being paid.

          Fuck them – i just care about the people of Christchurch – and i think the guy who organised the ex rangiora supplies (cant remember his name – thats how much attention the media paid to him) is a fucking A plus fucking hero.

          To answer your original question … probably yeah – i am

          Tough shit

          • Treetop

            A clinical psychologist with over 35 years clinical practice told me that he relies on body language 80 % of the time. Bob Parker’s body language comes across as being sincere and selfless. Of course there is another side to Parker, the economic side, for now he has put himself out there in the many directions which are required of him. He is performing competently. Parker has his fingers on the pulse.

            Key is wooden, he does not have the ability to speak unscripted as Parker does.

            There are a lot of unsung heroes out there. My faith in humanity has been restored witnessing the practicality and kindness shown by strangers to people in real and immediate need.

            I have listened to the media widely, TV 1 & 3. Radio NZ and newstalk zb, stuff, NZ Herald and the Standard blog. The most consistent person at this time, is Bob Parker the man, not Bob Parker the mayor.

            • kultur

              Thats cool – if you are happy reading body language thats fine. Im not there so i dont have a clue where parkers fingers are.

              I can only say again – parker is a paid and continually remunerated individual elected and paid to do a job. I would say that my faith not in humanity – but the power of having a job and money coming in is the only thing restored by watching the sideshow of “bob” and others.

              If you can discern parker the man as opposed the mayor – good luck to you … i bow to your highly developed perceptions…

        • Jum

          Treetop 5.1.1
          27 February 2011 at 10:51 am

          Are you implying that I am being sucked in by a media construct and that I lack the ability to think for myself?


          He uses the same words he used on This is Your Life.

    • U 4 United 5.2

      I agree. Isn’t it fortunate that Jim Il-Sung failed to get elected! He would be dishing out other people’s money under the guise of compassion, as though there is no tomorrow.

      • kultur 5.2.1

        What – like Key Johng IL???

        Now lets tick em all off …

        – The rich investors in South Cunterbury finance
        – The top tax bracket with his tax cuts
        – The Government with a rise in GST
        – MPs with tax cuts and pay rises
        – sir peter wanker jackson with his new jet and movie
        – Hollywood with their tax breaks and limo rides
        – BMW NZ with their overpriced kraut automobile rubbish

        And you just wait and watch what else.

        So … U for united … a cartoon that springs to mind as a result of your stagename is of two ducks flying along engaged in coitus … titled “fly united” … in this case one duck is the average Kiwi probably middle class and downward – the other is your beloved leader Key Johng IL – the great leader and patriot – fucking kiwis up the arse and enjoying every minute of it

  6. Pete 6

    I am firmly in the left-of-centre camp, but in hindsight I’m glad that Bob Parker won the Christchurch mayoralty. I imagine it’s due to his broadcasting experience, but he has had a reassuring aspect in his interaction with the media – providing important information, hope and sympathy in equal measure.

    A big test will come when it’s time to rebuild Christchurch, though. I hope that it won’t be just a haphazard placing of buildings, but an exercise in well-planned renewal. Like London after the great fire, San Francisco after its earthquake in 1906 and the cities of Europe after WWII.

    • Jum 6.1

      Crap, Pete. If Jim Anderton had won the mayoralty there would have been action, instead of photo ops for Parker and Key.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    an assistance package for business, probably in terms of paying their workers’ wages so that the private economy does not become hollowed out by the quake;

    Can all the unemployed get paid equivalent wages for basically the same reason?

    In fact, I think Key will be responsible enough to drop the expensive and complicated tinkering with public assets, benefits, and the public sector and, instead, concentrate all his focus on Christchurch.

    I don’t – I think we’ll see an even bigger push to sell off our assets, cut benefits and the public sector and probably cut taxes even more.

    • ron 7.1

      Thankls for that Draco. I couldn’t agree more. If you lose your job because of a natural disaster – we’ll help any way we can. If you lose your job because of the thieving pricks (the ones we hold up as heroes and role models) stole our money – you can get stuffed.

    • ron 7.2

      Thanks for that Draco. I couldn’t agree more. If you lose your job because of a natural disaster – we’ll help any way we can. If you lose your job because the thieving pricks (the ones we hold up as heroes and role models) stole our money – you can get stuffed.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    If I turn on the TV and see another talking head Ill puke.

    AS for TVNZ ( of course) running those film montages of the worst scenes with overblown dramatic soundtracks.
    ( God defend NZ – WTF ??) Its exploitation of the worst sort.
    Do they not realise these are real people s lives, filmed while they are suffering , not something for edit room console operators to play Francis Ford Coppola

  9. SPC 9

    The local paper and RNZ are the two media organisations that have a direct contribution to informing the locals (who don’t read other papers or have access to TV without power) – whereas the others do not. This explains the different coverage.

    Similarly the local mayor is also dealing with actual matters at hand – his actual job. It’s always easier to be impressed with those doing the coal-face job at these times and those supporting them (relevant local media included).

  10. felix 10

    Sorry but Key hasn’t been anything remotely resembling a competent leader. In this respect Bob Parker shows him up daily, the contrast couldn’t be clearer.

    Key is incapable of expressing empathy because at a fundamental level he doesn’t feel any. He knows he has to look sad and it’s about as convincing as his fake smile.

    Not so much fun standing in front of the camera when you’re sober is it, monkey boy?

  11. neo leftir 11

    talking about broadcasting etc the lack or limited civil defence releases or instructions on the radio is worrying. No power to 50% home means little means to get meaningful civil defence instructions. Surely in a disaster Civil defense should be broadcasting relevant situational informations over the radio.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Foreign news services are being less upbeat about the population prospects of Christchurch. I suppose its a necessity that our civic leaders and our local media are saying “we will pick ourselves up and rebuild” but foreign services are reporting locals say that staying in Christchurch for the long term is going to be very hard. Few similar comments in the local media.

    Quinlivan said it was “gut-wrenching” to stay as his family departed but he was needed to help his employer, a car rental service, get back on its feet.

    The company, which has its head office in Christchurch, contemplated moving its base after the September quake. It was even likelier to decamp now, he said.

    “Here I am – I’m 52 years old and I really don’t believe that in my lifetime I’ll see Christchurch rebuilt in the same way,” said Quinlivan. “The ramifications are unbelievable. It’s going to take a long, long time to recover. I’m sure there are a lot of people who won’t come back.”

    Bruce Russell, an information design lecturer from the hard-hit port of Lyttelton, said the impact would run long and deep. “It’s hard to be hugely optimistic,” he said. “People just aren’t going to want to come here. And that’s a huge worry.”

  13. chris73 13

    Armstrong also takes a jab at John Key saying:

    “The present political hiatus benefits only one person – the Prime Minister. Key has been omnipresent, if not omnipotent. He has used the advantage of incumbency to maximum effect in terms of being in the public eye and hogging the media.”

    Just thought you’d like to read the very next paragraph because you probably forgot to add it:

    But he needs to do so. He faces a huge task. However, resurrecting Christchurch’s economy from the forlorn-looking piles of bricks and fallen masonry strewn across the city could pay National a handsome electoral dividend – perhaps even enough seats to rule on its own, though Key has indicated he will still try and run a governing arrangement with support parties as insurance for 2014 when National will likely struggle to maintain its support at present levels. Failure could see National shed votes like confetti.

  14. IrishBill 14

    I’ve been impressed with a lot of the reporting. Particularly the tv3’s quick response and RNZs grounded and sensible coverage. I’ve not been at all impressed by the wholesale use of scraped information for stories.

    Certain media pushed Key very hard for names of the dead simply because they could make cheap copy out of them without the cost of putting journos on the ground in Christchurch.

    A particularly repugnant example about a dead baby from the herald:

    With the mother saying the family didn’t want to talk to the media, the journalist, Anna Leask, has decided to scrape the child’s details, photos and quotes from facebook so she can file a story.

    • chris73 14.1

      I don’t like the way the media (in some cases) are getting in peoples faces, yes information is good and needed but I don’t think the general public need to know what someone is thinking immediately after a horrific accident

    • swordfish 14.2

      I see in yesterday’s DomPost, Our Tracy (Watkins) suggests the Government’s response was “flawless” (‘Key Judges it Perfectly in Testing Times’, February 26). New Zealanders, she argues, saw “a prime minister who was everywhere and his government on top of the situation in a staggeringly short period of time.”

      Our Tracy then goes on to outline how fast the National Crisis Centre / Cabinet Emergency Meetings in the Beehive had been set up (28 minutes after the Quake, she says), how John (Hone) Carter immediately set “the wheels in motion for a massive search and rescue exercise”, how “Mr Key” was, by 1.45, briefing the media on what the Government knew so far, how the Cabinet were “fully briefed” by this stage, and how “Mr Key cut through the fog” as confusion started to mount by confirming the number of casualties and “warning the Country to prepare for the worst.”

      Problem is: all of this hagiography is diametrically opposed to what I heard on National Radio from journalist Jane Patterson the afternnon of the Quake. As I posted in a brief comment on this site at the time, Patterson stressed again and again how poor the communication was between Cabinet and Chch. Far from being on top of things in “a staggeringly short period of time”, Key and the Cabinet appear to have been a long, long way behind the media. Half an hour after RNZ reported multiple casualties, Beehive journalists were still being briefed that there was no information on any fatalities. Cabinet were apparently relying on TV coverage for much of their information in these first few hours. Patterson suggested journalists were quite alarmed by this.

      Someone seems to be telling porkies – personally I’d trust Patterson over Our Tracy any day.

      Perhaps this is one for RNZ’s ‘Media Watch’ ?

      • Jum 14.2.1

        And what do the Left have to counteract these Tracy Watkins whore for the right media briefings – nothing. They have nothing in print. They have no radio station; they will kill off RNZ if it suits them. The right owns all the media outlets, and I mean ‘own’.

        • Jum

          Captcha: text is a killer. I’m so angry I forgot to say NAct will kill off RNZ if it suits them. Labour wouldn’t. They know it’s the only media that follows democratic guidelines – objectivity.

  15. Colonial Viper 15

    Not really on topic sorry, but this link contains a high-res NASA photo (click on the photo to get it) which shows the outline of the extinct Akaroa and Lyttleton volcanoes perfectly, next to Christchurch and nearby settlements. Being just a few Kms further away, e.g. in Rolleston or Kaiapoi made all the damn difference in the world.

  16. What we’ve seen of TV3’s coverage in Australia has impressed me.

    And practically every network took it in preference to TVNZ’s… and I’ll repeat again, because it’s a point worth making, that having expat NZer’s go to your site for breaking news on loved ones and confront them as TVNZ did with jingoistic bullshit saying “NZ viewers only” is a classless, stupid, easily avoidable PR-disaster and is just plain shit.

    And I have to say Key has impressed me. Moreso than at Pike River (and yes, maybe it’s just that, sadly, he’s had practice in faking it but I hope for him and for our country it’s not that) he has conveyed a sense of calm, level-headedness, a grasp of the situation and the right level of empathy. When some news vulture put to him that the death toll was x based on known dead + missing he looked genuinely sorrowful that he was being asked such a thing and said, amazingly calmly (given I’d have done a Mark Latham and crushed said reporter’s pea-like head between my palms) “We can’t equate being missing with being dead”.

    His tone of voice has been right, AFAIK he’s avoided the type of “wearing a safety vest in amongst it” photo op that Jim Anderton couldn’t wait to arrange after the last quake, he’s managing expectation re recovery and rebuilding well… I don’t think we can ask for more at this stage.

    Though as you say, the test will be when policy is needed. Policy that will cost money, which will have to come from somewhere. Then we’ll see how real the empathy is.

    • Campbell Larsen 16.1

      How do you reconcile your notion of calm level headedness with the PMs proclamation that ‘this is NZ’s darkest day’ – I call that scaremongering – remember 99.9% of Christchurch’s population survived and the infrastructure is not so badly damaged that the RWC games cant go ahead there in 6 months (that from our em-pathetic PM)
      As for policy – talk of a one off tax while damage estimates range from 6 Billion (completely covered by insurance & EQC) -to 12 Billion (not so much that Standard and Poor are concerned- Id say thats a bit premature – I suspect there is going to be some fudging of the figures here – wait as the Quake damage bill is inflated by 1. business losses and compensation paid to corporates , 2. cost to the economy 3. upgrades to infrastructure (to a level exceeding pre quake specs) and 4. topping up the EQC – Im not the quake grinch but lets be clear when people talk about quake damage it is damage directly caused by the quake – ie infrastructure and property – the other costs are real too but are flow on effects and if rolled into the original damage cost only further distort perception about the severity of the quake.
      The media and the Government has shamelessly used this event to further their own agendas – Im glad someone has said something

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        with the PMs proclamation that ‘this is NZ’s darkest day’ – I call that scaremongering – remember 99.9% of Christchurch’s population survived

        Key’s comments seemed fitting, not scaremongering IMO.

        The % survived rate is a bit of a red herring. Far fewer people were killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center towers as a % of New York City than in this earthquake, for instance. Would you really shrug it off just because 99.97% of New Yorkers were not killed on 9/11?

        Few unexpected, sudden events in NZ’s past have caused 200+ civilian fatalities in a day. The number of deaths may come close to or exceed the Mount Erebus disaster.

        • Campbell Larsen

          Given that the role of our leaders is to reduce needless suffering (IMO) I would still say that the abject failure of the Govt and the Media to reassure NZ that MOST people had survived is indeed scaremongering – Im not saying that loss of even a single life is not a tragedy – Im saying that its inappropriate for the PM to be inducing unnecessary fear for the countless relatives of surviving residents – this concern led to the clogging of phone networks and perhaps even unnecessary loss of the lives of trapped victims.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            I don’t see how saying PAST events make something “our darkest day” can engender fear. “The worst is yet to come” would qualify, as might anything that implies some fresh hell is about to descend on the place.

            I don’t think Key’s comments had any effect on clogged lines etc. If he’d said “don’t worry, most people are fine” then (aside from giving Key-can-do-nothing-righters such as yourself a stick with which to beat him for lack of concern for the deceased) do you really think for one moment people would have said “that’s all right then, I’ll just assume my loved ones are alright”?

            Even Saddam did some things right… like opposing bin Laden. It’s just possible Key may be handling this right. Does that make welfare slash-and-burn, overstuffed prisons, no economic vision, asset sales and everything else he’s done okay? Of course not. But credit where it’s due.

            • Campbell Larsen

              Actually Rex – the assertion that it is our darkest day” was speculation and a highly emotive description in any assessment – the fact that the woeful coverage did not allow the people of NZ to see that the majority of buildings built to the code did not collapse (stated in SSTimes today) only exasperated the situation.
              Mr Key could have used his extensive media time to inform the public that fatalities were mostly confined to a small area, with only a very few exceptions. This may have a least countered some of the histeria caused by Hillary Barry from 3 News stating that two suburbs were unlivable (implying that they were levelled) while shots of destroyed buildings in the central city were shown.
              As for Saddam – this is the second time in this thread that someone has raised the bogies of the US (Viper earlier in this thread talks about the twin towers)
              I would like to point out that both the twin towers and Saddam were used by the US as excuses to go to war – not great examples of accurate media coverage or morality

              • Colonial Viper

                I think that your interpretation that Key was scaremongering is not widely held and really a bit unfair. And to be clear, I definitely do not like our PM.

                This may have a least countered some of the histeria caused by Hillary Barry from 3 News stating that two suburbs were unlivable (implying that they were levelled)

                There are plenty of Christchurch residents who would agree with Barry. No water, no power, no sanitation, house interiors exposed to the elements = unlivable.

                • Campbell Larsen

                  ‘Your interpretation that Key was scare mongering is not widely held’
                  So now we are back to polling as a means of evaluating arguments?

                  This thread is about poor coverage of the event by the media – My assertion is that the media coverage was indulgently sensationalist. Replaying the same footage over and over, the same collapsed buildings the same lady with the bleeding head etc for 24 + hours is just poor journalism and sets a disturbing precedent.

                  As for Hillary and 3 news – its noteworthy that no other suburbs were singled out as being unlivable, and none described that way since – I bet there are plenty of people still living in the two suburbs that she mentioned despite the lack of power, water or sanitation, at best it was sloppy reporting – at worst blatant scare mongering.

                  The Govt has a clear responsibility to counter this sort of hysteria and inaccuracy – they have failed to do this and after talking up the terror now look to reap a harvest of gratitude for their ‘strong leadership’ – what a sick joke.

                  • RascallyRabbit

                    I would like to think of myself as an optimistic positive and ambitious person but in the past 6 days of helping out with quake related problems I can firmly say that the PM was not necessarily scaremongering or using redundant hyperbole.

                    Most people in the eastern suburbs are beaten – they are lost and do not know where to turn to or how their lives will be from now on. A lot of people from less-affected areas are delaying the inevitable realisation of how much their lives have changed either by helping friends or family or helping those who have been badly affected in the east.

                    This can only go on for so much longer before the reality begins to sink in like A) My employer no longer exists B) I can’t go into the central city for several months to look for a job. I have indefinitely delayed heading back overseas to ensure that my family don’t become refugees in their own city and I don’t know what will happen to me in the coming weeks – but for now I know how I can help out and that is what I intend to do.

                    However I wouldn’t be surprised if upwards of 1/3 of Chch’s metro population relocates elsewhere in the next 12-24 months gutting upwards of 130,000 or so people from the city.

                    Depending on what sort of city takes its place they may return in the next 5,10 or 20 years – but who would know?! – Will they want to live here? What will bring them here and keep them here?

                    As for betting that plenty of people are living in those suburbs that were described as unliveable I can categorically say that isn’t the case – suburbs that I was in today would in my estimation have only 20% of their regular population and are completely unliveable – I have seen slums in Asia that are infinitely more habitable – and certainly safer.

                    People need to realise that the true impact of this disaster wasn’t in the 20 or so seconds of shaking but will be in the coming 12 months.

                    A friend of mine has flown down from Auckland to help out his hometown and spent today in the truck with me. Both of us have backgrounds in investments/investment banking (although I have managed to collect a alphabet and number soup of driver’s licences) and he relayed to me his dismay at the scale of the devastation outside the window and related colleagues in Auckland apparent lack of empathy toward Chch which he primarily put down to distance. There are many people around New Zealand that have never visited Christchurch – the pictures they see may as well be in Haiti or Chile it seems.

                    Politics and opinion of John Key aside any emotive language the PM can use to convey the sense of devastation here is beneficial in my opinion. As the story fades away from the front pages it really needs to be kept foremost in NZer’s minds that the South Island’s biggest city and New Zealand’s second largest urban area is – in technical parlance – fucked.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Good on ya for the on-the-ground update mate, and your hard work. Sounds really damn awful 🙁

                      The delay of the census (until next year?) is going to allow some possibly disturbing statistics about changes to Christchurch to be gathered.

                    • lprent

                      Good summary of what lies ahead. It is the classic second phase of disaster shock problem. You survived, but all of the things that made a city workable are damaged. The question is how to get them working again before you lose everyone who can move.

                    • Campbell Larsen

                      Very poetic and touching – I note that you say the PM was not NECESSARILY scare mongering or using redundant hyperbole…

                      Getting back to Hillary and her ‘breaking news’ assertion that two suburbs were ‘unlivable’ – A responsible broadcaster would have qualified the statement with ‘ the suburbs are considered unlivable due to lack of power, water, sanitation, however the residents are safe and are being evacuated to other areas’

                      I’m getting bored of trying to make my point here – The proper place for my complaint is the Broadcasting Standards Authority – which is where its going -I almost puked when I saw a womans magazine cover with Hillary on it and a gushing headline celebrating her contribution – ye gads – how much money is being spent to try and convince NZ that we have been well served by our media?

                      As for the PM – he is just a show pony turning tricks for votes – the machinery of emergency crisis management (civil defence) would sit under any government – if this crisis has been well managed then it is because civil defense did well – the PM is irrelevant, as is Bob bloody Parker.

      • Jum 16.1.2

        The other half said, “wait for it; the government will tax us to pay for this”. Half an hour later – there it was.

  17. Carol 17

    I think one of the reporters on TV3 6pm news last night, reckoned he had the inside-running & that Key wouldn’t introduce an earthquake tax.

    • felix 17.1

      So just more cynical posturing by Key then.

      • Or he could be about to admit that the government takes quite enough in taxes already, and just wastes vast sackfuls of the stuff on the wrong things, like savings and loan bailouts and from this day forth, it’ll be redistributed solely on the basis of need.

        Then I woke up 8-/

        • felix

          🙂 Surely though stirring up talk of new taxes (that he never intends to implement) falls under you definition of scaremongering?

          • Rex Widerstrom

            😀 Good point… now that is scaremongering. I’ll bet stocks of single malt are being rushed to boardrooms even as we speak.

            “Blighter says he was only kidding, Frank. Remind me next time I see him to tell him we’re cutting our donation to the Waitemata Trust. Then we’ll see who likes to get Punk’d”.

            • Tigger

              We don’t need a new tax, just set the top rate back to what it was! Hell, I’m volunteering to willingly go up, Mr Key.

              • Lanthanide

                Just donate it to Red Cross for the next year or two, then.

                Apparently there’s a payroll giving thing you can set up with IRD where they directly deduct some of your income and give it directly to charities – was reading about it today in the Oamaru Sunday Star Times.

          • U 4 United

            But: With about 90% of recovery costs anticipated to be derived from worldwide insurers why is a levy required?

            • Colonial Viper

              Where is that figure sourced from? What about the thousands of job losses (and lost wages) from shut stores and wrecked offices?

  18. Geoff 18

    Radio NZ is sure enough doing the business. I heard yesterday some of their reporters are sleeping in their cars at night. Given the amazing efforts from that cash-strapped organisation, i wonder how they will do in the upcoming budget ..? TVNZ meanwhile are just blowing their credibility back to the stome age. Can they get a reporter there over 30 ?, anyone not just focussd on finding the horror story of the day ? Is it all just now a jingoistic hype-fest designed to try and create a “TVNZ family” , as described by Petra Bagust last week? Its amazing to see these two media organisations – RNZ and TVNZ – up against each other in such a truly monumental event. Personally i think RNZ are wiping the floor with them …all they need to do is put some video grabs on their website.

    And they’re talking about selling both . God help us .

    • And they’re talking about selling both . God help us .

      But you’re correct re TVNZ. So what are the solutions (presupposing agreement on the need for a decent, publicly funded, national TV broadcaster akin to the ABC)? As I see them they are:

      1. Fire everyone remotely responsible for what goes to air and start again. At least we’d have the assets, but how good are they? And we’d have a mass of redundancies to pay out.

      2. Cut our losses and sell it to some commercial operator who thinks upchuckingly turgid tripe like “the TVNZ family” is appropriate fare. Hint: Channel 7 think David Koch is worth a fortune. He makes NZ’s vacuuous luvvies look positively brilliant. And Kerry Stokes, who’s just made a few more hundred million by selling himself what he already owns* has a bit of spare change. Then we use the money to start again. Yes the cost of new gear is expensive but there’s actually masses of it up for auction round the world at present, and we’d save money by not employing people on $800k whose only job is reading an autocue.

      Unless you’ve got some nanobots we can put in their coffee which simultaneously increase IQ and empathy while substituting for lack of experience and judgment, that’s the only answers I have.

      * Don’t ask me, that’s the way the media are painting it here. Apparently his private company is selling his holding to his public company. Or something. At a huge profit, of course.

      • felix 18.1.1

        Option 2 makes a lot of sense, even though I just know that the first thing the new owners will do is sell us back a bunch of old gear at a huge markup on what we just sold it to them for.

        • Colonial Viper

          If someone will seed the first $5M we can get additional funding and a good lefty TV station going…

          • Carol

            Or get behind Triangle. It seems to be going from strenght to strngth, has a good range of international news programmes & local news/political commentary (Bomber, Beatson). It’s about to go onto Freeview. Room for growth there.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Ooooo I’m so tempted to say “only if Michael Cullen is on the board” right now, but I shan’t 😛 😉

          We don’t have to buy TVNZ’s old gear, check the link above there’s masses of the stuff on sale. Almost every week I get an email asking if I want an entire TV station, from coffee cups to transmitter, and some of it used by the “big names” like CNN, BBC etc so not, I imagine, shabby stuff.

  19. word 19

    I found TV3 was the best overall. Their raw footage was gripping at the beginning. They have had very up to date coverage the whole way though. I think only SKY has done it better IMO.

    • neoleftie 19.1

      my wife who was in the TV3 building during the quake and witnessed way too much, was impressed at the professionalism and calmness of the Tv 3 reporters who set up straight away in the car park outside their building.
      I too sitting at home, in the first few hour,s was very impressed at bthe level of media footage and coverage from TV3.

      • Carol 19.1.1

        TV3 were good to start with, and still are in parts of their coverage. But now the main drama is over they are slipping back to tabloid journalism, and over-hyping the emotional stuff. I listen to RNZ and have the images showing on TV on mute. RNZ has the best coverage, and, for Christchurch people with power cuts etc, the low-tech base of radio is a big advantage.

    • Deborah Kean 19.2

      I couldn’t agree less, sorry! I’ve found TV3’s coverage to be very American in terms of the sugary sentiment (I believe it’s called schmaltz which actually means animal fat in Yiddish!) and the attempted tugging of heartstrings. Also, if I see that woman being rescued from the Pine Gould Guinness roof one more time, I shall scream!
      Pretty blonde, check.
      Corporate clothes, check.
      Finance business, check.
      Flat affect when being interviewed by phone later – WTF?
      When will TV3 do what TVNZ has done, and show the rescue/stories etc of some people who didn’t work for PGG, aren’t in the CBD and aren’t telegenic?

  20. katie 20

    On a kinda similar note, does anyone else disagree with facebook groups like this:!/event.php?eid=114085221999421
    While I agree that what these people did was despicable, we do have a law system and that system has dealt with them accordingly. This kind of public bullying and shaming just generates the kind of hateful thinking that is just completely unnecessary right now. Both Kharma and the law will deal with these guys in time but right now we should be focusing our energy on helping the people of Christchurch. Some of the comments on this page are ridiculous.

    • chris73 20.1

      No, these are extrodinary times so extrodinary measure are called for. These people are scum and are potentially putting people at risk and certainly diverting resources from more importent issues.

      I don’t know I’d go so far as to strap them to an unstable building but public stocks mightn’t be a bad idea.

    • The Voice of Reason 20.2

      It’s funny how all sense of perspective goes out the window in these situations. The crims who get caught will receive sentences that reflect the gravity of their crimes. We have a sentencing system that allows judges to take into account the circumstances and I’ve no doubt that these guys are going away for a long while. The ironic thing about the two I saw on the telly being charged with the theft of generators is that they are were tattooed skinheads and they would have exactly the same mindset as the idiots calling for public punishment on the facebook site.

  21. ieuan 21

    Well written article Eddie, balanced and fair.

    As someone living in CHCH I would have liked to see more information on services and roads reported by the media and less of the breathless reporting.

    Bob Parker is wearing a little thin (and I voted for him), but I understand the need for someone to be the ‘face’ of the city and to give the impression they are in charge and showing leadership.

    Gerry Brownlee also deserves praise for taking on the hard jobs, Key does look a little out of depth at times but now is not really the time to score political points.

    • kultur 21.1

      in my opinion yes it is the time to score political points. The suffering people of Christchurch are going to end up with a NACT government in a second term – with time to burn, to root the whole country and use the disaster as one of the cover stories to let them do it.

      How bloody stupid are we?

      They wont and dont – hesitate to use this and milk it for all its worth. And mark my words they will.

      Brownlee is paid – yea i say unto thee .. even elected to do a job … why praise him for looking as though he is doing it. Why are we accolading these assholes for doing what somebody (not me) put them there to do….

      Parker is a cardboard cutout with a simpering manner and a nice fat salary. The vast majority of Christchurch people are screwed – of course he can cope and look in command – jeez – why dont people see when Emporers have no clothes and are actually in the nick?

      • pollywog 21.1.1

        I’m with you kultur !

        Aaron Gilmore, National list MP for who gives a shit?

        …see the telly fluff piece where he singlehandedly half fills a wheel barrow with liquifudge for the cameras then rolls it out to the mainstreet and dumps it at the end of the driveway in the gutter…FUCKWIT !!!

        powerful metaphor for the Nat gov’t that is

        BTW Nelson is going off, what with all the refugees from Churtown looking to set up here. There’s not enough houses to rent and fill the demand. Be interesting to check house and rental prices here in a week or so.

        Even Golden Bay on Saturday seemed to have a bit more life to it.

      • Treetop 21.1.2

        Central and local government politics need to be kept separate. Parker is not an MP.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yes in theory they need to be kept separate, but as you can tell from the SuperShitty and from the Christchurch local elections last year that the Right Wing has no intention of doing that if it suits them.

        • kultur

          Not true Treetop … Parker represents a political approach and its John key to a ‘t’.

          Who wrote the rule that central and local need to be kept seperate … anyone told Key and Rodders the Hide about that – Aucklanders would love to have known that fact.

          • Treetop

            I am aware of Parkers political affliation. Just remember that the left rule in Auckland. I am not prepared to let Nact think they rule the whole country both on a central or a local government level.

            As for, “who wrote the rule that central and local government need to be kept separate… ” the courts will put Nact in their place.

            Also I bow to no one and no one bows to me. (This comment is in response to

    • kultur 21.2

      i can see a womans day article coming up now …. “selfless Parker – leaves his marker…” or some other such trite bullshit with the obligatory flattering pic of the “cafe-scene” couple themselves …. “i married the guy – bob is sooo giving …. talk to my therapissed…”

      or indeed – “Bronagh says to media … john just suffered for those poor people in Christchurch (cue background comment from John on his cellphone “fuck Gerry we’ve struck legislational gold – these pricks wont know whats hit them for at least 6 years … Sell sell sell mate – we just tell the gullible believing dumbasses we’re having to pay for the recovery …. even ron brierly offered me a blow job “) – bronagh then says to media “we’re so stressed that we’re off to hawaii to give john some time out…”

  22. big bruv 22

    I see that Clark has travelled half way around the world in search of a TV camera to stand in front of, it seems she is to address the press in Christchurch.

    Why?…That woman has no shame at all, she will take any chance to grab the limelight, as far as she is concerned she will never let a tragedy pass her by without exploiting it for her own selfish gain.

    The people of NZ got rid of her two and half years ago, she is not wanted, she can piss off back to the UN as soon as possible.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      lol mate what are you going to do, vote her out again?

      PS has it occurred to you that Clark emphasising her personal connections with NZ is going to be helpful in soliciting additional offers of help from the international community for Christchurch.

      • big bruv 22.1.1

        And she could not have done that from the UN?

        Nice try Viper, but it does not wash, this is all about her and her profile, she is shameless, a self promoting narcissist who simply cannot pass up a chance to get her ugly face on TV.

        • Colonial Viper

          And she could not have done that from the UN?

          Sorta easier to emphasise her personal connections with NZ standing in front of the ruined Christchurch Cathedral, instead of downtown New York.

          who simply cannot pass up a chance to get her ugly face on TV.

          Trust me, Clark’s got a much bigger audience than little old TVNZ can reach mate.

          • big bruv

            Of course Viper, once again she is using a tragedy to push her own political aims.

            The address she is making in Christchurch is not about helping NZ, nothing she has ever done has been to help us, this is about helping Helen Clark, this is about her and her career at the UN.

            She does not care less about the people of Christchurch.

            • Zorr

              Next you’ll be trying to say that John Key has a conscience…

              • big bruv

                He does have one Zorr.

                Unlike Clark, who has just said she is here in a “private capacity”.

                So, while the Police have been on the radio day after day asking sightseers to stay away she decides to cruise on into town so she can get in everybody\’s way.

                Words cannot describe how callous she is.

              • pollywog

                Helen will be checking Christchurch people who, having suffered a disaster and lost everything, would qualify as refugees. It’s part of her job description i’d imagine.

                However, I see Key has cancelled a work trip to Russia so he can swan around for the cameras at home. Fronting like he’s the man.


                …bet he wouldn’t have cancelled if Obama had invited him to the white house.

                PFFFFT…such a pathetically sad and desperately useless wee cunt is our John.

                Doesn’t he trust Gerry the Hut to fang up some quick fix shelters and shit for the homeless drawing on his vast resources as a woodwork teacher ?

                • big bruv

                  Once again you are wrong Pollywog, Clark has said she is there in a “private capacity”

                  She is sightseeing, nothing more and nothing less, she is wasting valuable time, resources and effort, I wonder how many people will have to suffer a little bit longer because resources were diverted away from search and rescue and onto looking after her.

                  This is typical of Clark and the left, they only think about what is in it for themselves.

                  • IrishBill

                    I’ve already banned your little mate for getting carried away. Rein in the hysteria or you’ll be on the naughty step with him.

                    • kultur

                      I really gotta say IB – i love this msge from you … i sit contritely on the naughty step … do i get whipped or tied up at all.

                    • big bruv

                      I did wonder how long it would take.

                      What “hysteria” are you talking about Irish?, surely not the gratuitous insults directed at Key, Brownlee and Parker?

                      Three men who have been doing a fantastic job as leaders, three men who have received nothing but praise from the majority of Kiwis and three men who have been roundly abused on this low rent site simply because they are see as the enemy by low life lefties.

                      As usual you are nothing but a hypocrite Irish, you have no problem with the insults handed out to Key, Parker and Brownlee but as soon as anybody dares have a go back at Clark then out comes the big stick.

                      IrishBill: I’ve barely had time to look at the comments for the last few days and now I have I’ve decided there needs to be a wee bit of corrective moderation. Join Kulture in taking a week off.

                  • pollywog

                    Don’t front like you care about people suffering bruv.

                    In your fucked up universe, all of Christchurch has now turned into the bludging capital of NZ. You should be hating on them all for draining your precious tax dollar to support their drug habits and no hoping kids.

                    At least Helen would have flushed some of her private cash back to Churtown just by being there.

                    What have you done ?

                  • kultur

                    Bruv – apparently i am your little mate according to Irishbill – and i’ve been banned for attacking Parker, brownlee, you and key.

                    I dont think he is a hypocrite – i just think that too much evenhandedness and credible opinion shaping is just too much for one site.

                    At least i think thats the case. Its a bit like Nationals solutions for the economy .. vague, ill defined and taken situation by situation?

                    IrishBill: there, you’ve got the last word in. Now don’t comment again until next Sunday or you’ll get another week.

                  • big bruv:

                    Clark has said she is there in a “private capacity”

                    I’ve got to say, strange as it may be for me to take up a position alongside big bruv, I think he has a point.

                    When I heard she was coming I thought “great, some UN money coming the way of the people of Christchurch”. After all, when English was reading out the long list of offers of practical assistance from places like Australia, Japan, etc on the day of the quake, the UN was mentioned.

                    But that was quickly scotched by the “private capacity” comment and (I believe) some remark to the effect that NZ was doing fine with it’s own resources and needn’t expect any help from the UN.

                    I usually find myself either in agreement with CV or at least the logic of the comment, but it’s a frankly preposterous notion that Clark’s bit of disaster site rubbernecking is

                    going to be helpful in soliciting additional offers of help from the international community

                    What, some potentate watching CNN will say “My God! I didn’t realise New Zealand was Helen’s home turf! Quick, get me the keys to the vault!”?

                    My message to Clark: Get out the UN’s cheque book. Or just get out.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hmmmmm…fair ’nuff Rex 😐

                    • lprent

                      Helen comes back to NZ reasonably frequently between trips around the world that are part of her job to spend time with Peter and family. I see her reasonably frequently. Not sure about family but she has a pile of friends in Christchurch.

                      Besides most of her role at the UNDP isn’t direct money (the UN is short on that), it is coordination on such basic things as sewerage systems and getting funding outside of the UN for projects. She probably knows far more people who can help than the whole of the NZ government and can help point people in the right directions in a private capacity for her country

                      What is your problem? I already know what bb’s one is – hard to see how he could breed considering his attitudes towards women.

                    • Ms M

                      Rex want to bitch about lack of UN support? Take a bucket to Pakistan. The Australian bush fires in 2009 did not receive on the ground UN support either. We are a developed country with a robust Civil Defence, world class people on the ground and screeds of international aid and support. Cry me a f*%king river, who gives a crap the UN was not on the list of international support. There are humanitarian disasters happening world wide, great unrest, deaths, refugees, civil wars, 1000 people dead in Lybia in a matter of days and your greatest bitch is that the UN aren’t bending over backwards to help a developed country. Shame on you.

                      Clark did speak about people in the UN wanting to help and that they will be looking at their systems and where they can place funding. Which is a tad more specific than Key’s lastest marketing dream of speaking to Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman.

                    • Ms M, you misunderstand.

                      It may well be that the UN has “better” uses for their money. Though how long NZ can really claim to be first world with its economy in the shape it is (see just about any other post on The Standard for examples) I wonder…

                      But let’s for a moment accept we are less worthy than Libyans (who, so far as I know, aren’t facing any infrastructure rebuilding, so their problems would probably require UN peacekeeping… I don’t see what UN money could do). I’m not actually suggesting we get UN dollars.

                      But then if we’re not worthy of UN money then UN officials have no business in the disaster zone leveraging their status for a publicity pop… even if their hapless successor follows in their wake, reduced to second banana (I’m sure that did his status a world of good).

                      You’ve merely reinforced my point that there was no more purpose to the visit than if the Dalai Lama had got his sandals in the way down there. People can express their empathy and good wishes from a distance, as we’re all doing. You only climb on the rubble to say it if you’re after a bit of cheap publicity.

        • kultur

          Mate she isnt what i would describe as ugly. That award has to belong to Gerry Brownlee – the human landslide without a clear reason to be a minister. I think most politicians specialise in the brand “bland” and colourless – like our mate John Key. He puts one in mind of a banker contemplating a foreclosure.

          If we are getting into insults … lets be even handed here.

          • big bruv


            Insults?, you might be tossing out insults, most of the people here might have been doing the same for the last five days while Key, Parker and Brownlee have been doing a great job for the people of Christchurch (remember all of those men are elected)

            I have not insulted Clark, I have told the truth, it is a statement of fact, she is here in NO OFFICIAL capacity, she has simply come for a look, what ever way you look at it that is simply disgusting.

            Clark is not wanted, needed or welcome in Christchurch.

            • kultur

              i was joking mate .. joking … pulling your tit … jeez mate …. i’ve been banned so i dont know how long i can keep pacifying you …

              Cheers from the K person ….

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 22.2

      Ok we get the idea- you are not impressed by her. Not sure though getting your face on TV is a heinous crime however. Us Australians have to put up with John Howard’s face popping up from time to time- I prefer to just turn the sound down.

    • kultur 22.3

      Bruv – i dont like and didnt like Helen Clarkovsky either .. but she is a pale shadow of the media cocksucking abilities of Johng IL Key .. the dear leader who will selflessly lead Christchurch to redemption (got my good side ) … I wonder who he will think is “hot” next … it wont be Helen but indeed it could be one of the dollybirds fronting for state owned TV. Tell us john – who is in your “hot” book at the mo matey potatey …

      Anyway Bruv – you degenerate old prick – hows it hanging ….

      Good to see you back banging on about the same old shit….

      IrishBill: You started off obnoxiously and steadily got worse. Take a week off to cool your heels.

      • kultur 22.3.1

        gladly – repeat – gladly Irish bill ….

        situational ethics applies

        was it the comments about Helen – or the word combo cocksucking – or dont you approve of me flirting with the opposition ie Bruv?

  23. Zaphod Beeblebrox 23

    The earthquake is really going to test National’s free market ideology. In spite of their attacks on the public service and public servants the local and national disaster recovery systems have churned into life so that they are now praising the people they were dumping on a few weeks ago.

    Its also plain that ChCh is not going to be rebuilt by the private sector. If they sit back and don’t invest public assets int the rebuild ChCh will develop into a pale shadow of its former self. Its going to be hard for them to accept that the public sector is going to have to take the lead.

    Interesting also all this discussion of urban design, architecture and support for economic development. Doesn’t really fit with the Neo-Lib ideology much.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Yes, this is a mind-frak for National. There’s a lot they need to do correctly in the next 9 months before the elections. A hell of a lot. For the first week after a disaster like this, what to do next is pretty clear cut. It starts getting murkier from then on in.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 23.1.1

        I will make a prediction now- over the nine months nothing will happen. Lots of noise, BS, memorial services, stirring words, hero worship etc.. but as for action, no chance. Have a look at the job summit 2 years ago. Lots of noise but bugger all activity.

        • Galeandra

          Nothing SHOULD happen for nine months. Rebuilding Chch will be more like a decade long project. Lots of planning & infrastructurally ‘invisible’ things will have to be put in place. Go like the clappers only if you want a clapboard ‘re-do it all in 2030’ solution.

          • kultur

            oh fuck off galeadra … or whatever … face the reality of it … its now a political football

            IrishBill: just in case you missed it earlier – you’re banned for a week.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            Nothing will happen- except 100-130K of its population packing up and leaving (mainly to Aust given the price of rentals in Auckland and Wellington) . Of course the govt could take steps to mitigate that- don’t hold your breath though.

            • Colonial Viper

              And its not just the price of rentals in AKL and Welly which is the problem. Its the lack of jobs.

        • kultur

          you are undeniably “right” mate …

  24. ianmac 24

    My youngest son has a flat near Victoria Square but it has been closed off and damaged; no access. Started me wondering where do all the renters get accommodation in the medium term ? So many houses on the East side have been damaged, people without homes, rental houses gone so i guess that it will become a problem. Will Landlords take advantage of the need?

  25. Irascible 25

    An interesting article here on how the Government / Business Roundtable could take advantage of the disaster to forward their own selfish agenda.
    Key’s links to the Republicans would arue that he’ll play from the same twisted rule book.

    • ianmac 25.1

      Yes Irascible: Krugman :“But don’t expect either Mr Key (Mr. Walker) or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain NAct (G.O.P.) priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.”

      Wonder why the teachers unions, the Public Service Association, The Actors Union and others are being denigrated? Connections?

  26. wild.colonial.boy 26

    Has anyone spotted the men & women from Crosby / Textor amongst the ruins, yet ?

  27. kultur 27

    Am i banned yet – or do i have to make an overtly right wing statement with Helen Clark mentioned in the same sentence?

    Or will my comments be banned in retrospect – comrades and kameraden.

  28. kultur 28

    IrishBill: Banned for life.

    • Jum 28.1

      Some threads back I was beginning to believe you weren’t quite the objective poster you made yourself out to be.

      Now we have the real clue to your character – misogyny and lies, misleading people with your pretend caring about people when it was really all about greed and selfishness.

      ‘pretence of openness’ says it all.

  29. Jum 29

    People cannot believe that maps aren’t displayed on the television as often as Bob Parker doing his ‘loved ones’ act, showing the areas affected; some thought the devastation was just in the business district because that’s the only place they saw every time the tv cameras focussed.

    Census has been cancelled; good, because according to one commentator the information from the census would be important for – guess who – Business! Business was followed by all the things that we think census is really for, like where to put schools, hospitals, who needs help, etc.

    • Jilly Bee 29.1

      Unlike Big Bruv – I was delighted to see Helen Clark at Christchurch today – almost like the old days! I got the distinct impression that the people she was embracing weren’t trying to push her away or get out of her way at all. It took me back to that shot of her standing in the hallway to the debating chamber on being told that Peter Blake had been killed – the emotion was there for all to see.

      • Carol 29.1.1

        Yes, I must admit I was pleased to read about Clark being in the country & her comments. I didn’t vote Labour in the last few elections and have criticisms of Clark’s policies. But compared with Key, she was a really competent PM. She had a much better grasp of the job (of being a PM and politics in general). Her comments seemed more heartfelt than Key’s: he stumbles over reading his words, and often looks a bit out of his depth when it gets to the serious parts of the job. Clark was spontaneous and it felt real. Please can we have a proper PM again some time soon?!

      • Jum 29.1.2

        Rex Widerstrom …
        27 February 2011 at 5:53 pm
        once again Rex your misogyny is showing.
        Colonial Viper …
        27 February 2011 at 6:00 pm

        The left need to remember that there is still a 3% preference for Helen Clark as PM. It’s interesting the misogyny her appearance dredges up: Rex Widerstrom, Big Bruv of course. I shall be advising any of my female friends to watch the blog very carefully for any further evidence that Labour thinks as little of women as NAct does.

        Once again big bruv gets nasty about a woman leader of our country. That’s to be expected. He’s a wind up NAct doll. But, then people, supposedly objective people, get in on the ‘if she’d been a Pippa Wexhall bimbo, that would have been fine’ act.
        Did you miss the hugs Clark received? Have you forgotten the words about Clark being a warm person but not showing it in public because she would have been perceived as weak (remember the Harawira attack?) Are women to be sidelined by Labour in the ‘get macho’ so we can get the votes crap?

        It’s a no-brainer that the people you expect to be fair about these matters always hurt you the most when they are found to be the same fxxkwits the rightwing are.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          WTF? Misogyny?! Clearly you’ll dredge up any old Shibboleth to defend your idol.

          “If she’d been a Pippa Wexhall bimbo that’d be alright”? Again, WTF? Where did I imply that?!

          As I said over at Kiwiblog, I don’t care if it’s the frickin Dalai Lama, the Pope, or Sarah Palin (well, it’d cheer Redbaiter up)… anyone who’s down there rubbernecking and has nothing practical in the way of help to offer (and that doesn’t include posing with half a wheelbarrow of crap, as someone mentioned above some Tory twit was doing) then they should just get the hell out and let the people get on with it.

          Oh she got some hugs, did she? She’s “warm” is she? Well big frickin deal. Her presence contributed zero to the recovery effort. I’m sure she was genuine in her empathy. Hell, I feel terrible for the people down there. But unless I was in a position to do something, I’d just be getting in their way.

          The last thing Christchurch needs is some “chin up, pip pip” visit from a “celebrity”, political, musical, cinematic or otherwise. Whether the poseur has a penis is irrelevant – except, it would seem, to you.

          Oh, and “once again”…? Examples please. Though since in your view any criticism of the possessor of an XX chromosome makes me a misogynist, I suppose my criticism today of Judith Collins (again, over at Kiwiblog) for her disgusting “send them to prison… with a cellmate” comment will see you leaping to her defence. Or not.

  30. Colonial Viper 30

    Could someone clarify for me: the numbers confirmed dead and the numbers missing in Christchurch.

    Are they two completely different stats? The following makes me think that the two statistics are actually merged and that they do not take confirmed deaths off the “missing” list:

    Police Superintendent Dave Cliff has confirmed the death toll in Christchurch has increased to 147.

    He said there are still more than 200 people missing, including a New Zealand police officer.

    “We know many – if not all – of the confirmed dead will be on that list,” Mr Cliff said this evening.

    “So there are still over 50 unaccounted for.”

  31. Carol 31

    Having caught up on the news a bit since I finished work today, I’m puzzled by two things:

    1) Key would rather raise the earthquake Levy for home owners, rather than introduce a special tax:

    Why? And is this fair? Not all home owners are that well off, and some will be really struggling in Christchurch. Why not a progressive tax based on income?

    2) Heatley has announced that there will be no rent charged for Housing NZ tenants in the worst quake affected ares (and houses) for three weeks.

    This makes it sound like a special gift. But surely you cannot charge full rant anyway for a property that is severly damaged, and through not fault on the tennts part? This was certainly the case when I was in Sydney and had seere hail damage to my ceiling due to rain pouring in for zseveral weeks. If the property was in worse condition than when it was rented you could get a rent rebate til it was fixed,

  32. Fisiani 32

    This thread has degenerated into yet another bash the government rant. Show some dignity and respect for the people who are working to exhaustion to help in the best way they can. Posters ,save your vitriol and hatred for other threads.

    • felix 32.1

      It’s OK Fizzy, big bruv has been banned for his hatred and vitriol on this thread.

      If that’s not what you were referring to then point it out or stfu.

  33. Ms M 33

    I too wondered about Helen Clark and whether or not she would be fronting in some form or fashion, having not heard any messages of condolences from her in the media, which is unlike her. So it was pleasing today to hear as one of a number of VIPs who will be doing the same, she had made a visit to Christchurch . I understand it is easy for some to get upset by her presence, let alone her continued exisitence on the same planet as them and use her visit as a vehicle of hate, but all that understanding has me doing is pitying them. They forget that it wasn’t that long ago she was our Prime Minister of nine years, that might mean shit to some reading but for a great deal of people it means plenty and today’s visit will offer a sense of comfort to those who want it. It would have been more heartless for her not to show.

    • Rosy 33.1

      yep. I don’t care who fronts in Christchurch – Key, Clark, Goff, royalty even! If that’s what Christchurch people need, so be it. Who am I to say otherwise seeing as I’m not there suffering what they are suffering. If they are going to be in the way I suggest the emergency response people are tough enough to tell them to stay away.

    • Jum 33.2

      Yes Ms M, and you can be assured that they would have used her not coming to comfort her people against her, too.

      You would have known that automatically had you followed her progress in Parliament as I and many others have, just to see how New Zealanders, especially men, would handle her presence. Instead of judging her on her work they attacked her looks, her hair, her teeth, her clothing…

      The vitriol, the vicious personal attacks on her ever since she entered politics where it brought her into contact with misogynists, religos, and politicians who realised just what promise she had was a lesson for me in just what New Zealanders were made up of – the friendly people of the Kupe isles was a load of rot, when it came to women standing up to be counted as leaders. We had religious movements imported from America – Promisekeepers, Destiny Church, United Future mps behind Peter Dunne – especially to attack her and any women who had any sense of independent value of themselves.

      I’m glad she came; most Christchurch people will appreciate it. She’s not standing for Parliament but still the women-haters and NAct nasties continue to attack her. What are they afraid of?

  34. kriswgtn 34

    I think its great Helen Clark turned up

    She was and still always be IMO a better PM than the clown that we have now

    • infused 34.1

      Yeah, that’s why Labour lost then eh?

      Oh well, if anything it might give Labour a boost finally… she might even over take goff as preferred prime minister again lol.

    • She was and still always be IMO a better PM than the clown that we have now

      That may be so. I happen to think that of Mike Moore, who comes from Christchurch. But unless he’s down there to shovel sewage he has no place there at present and nor does she. On that basis we’d have Geoffrey Palmer (also from the region) down there pontificating. And since it’s all based on “who I think was a better PM” rather than “are they of any use whatsoever” I guess we’d have DPF nominating Jenny Shipley for a quick publicity shot.

      Some people have suggested signs saying “Looters will be shot on sight”. Perhaps what Christchurch needs are ones saying “Photo opportunists will be shot on sight”.

  35. Ms M 35

    Ms M, you misunderstand.

    There is no misunderstanding Rex. Nothing in your apparent empathy for those in need acknowledges the numerous people who will find solace and comfort in Clark visiting at this time.

    Implying her visit was cheap rubbernecking publicity nothing more, nothing less is lowest common denomenator stuff and worthy of scorn.

    Captcha = BALLS

    • Well then I’m disappointed but by no means suprised, given the blinkered view of Clark, alone amongst recent NZ PMs, which seems to manifest amongst most who visit this site.

      I’d be interested in your view of which of the following former PMs wouldn’t have simply been getting in the way and looking for a bit publicity if they’d shown up then:

      – Jenny Shipley?
      – Jim Bolger?
      – Mike Moore (he’s from there, after all)?
      – Geoffrey Palmer (ditto)?

      Or should they all be allowed to go down there, media entourage in tow, and pose on the rubble? One at a time, or all at once? And is it just NZ ex-PMs or anyone else whose name is known and who can equally do nothing beyond offer sympathy and words of encouragement? What about ex-Governors General? They’re our head of state, after all, not the PM of the day let alone the PM of yesterday. So can we expect to see Sian Elias, Silvia Cartwright, Cath Tizard, Michael Hardie Boys and Paul Reeves all jostling for position in front of the cameras?

      Shall we send down Fiona Kidman, Sam Hunt, the Finns, Chris Knox, Gary McCormick, Ian Wedde, The Flight of the Conchords… I’m sure they all have fans in Christchurch who’d embrace them.

      Or do we reserve the privlege of an uncritical perspective on disaster tourism just for Helen Clark?

  36. Jum 36

    Shipley, Richardson and the Rotundtable are too busy controlling ECAN and the water assets.

    Bolger – how many children did he have to look after? Not to mention making speeches for the Bankers Trust about it being just a matter of time before Kiwibank gets sold off.

    Mike Moore – he and you can’t stand the idea that she took over from him. His jealous behaviour since has been most unworthy.

    Geoffrey Palmer, busy making it possible to kill off what’s left of the whale population.

    Face it, Clark is still popular and trusted. Infused (34.1 28 February 2011 at 7:27 am) knows well that the misleading propaganda from Key and English set Key into parliament. People voted for that ‘nice’ ‘unworldly’ bloke called John – give me strength! It was just a change of PM not a change of policy – yeah right. It’s cringeworthy watching Key and Parker waffling on. Parker thinks he’s still on This is Your Life with his ‘loved ones’, and Key’s busy adding up the corporations he can give business to for the rebuild – never mind the tendering process – that disappeared with Hide.

    As I said before, it is a given that if Helen Clark had not come to visit Christchurch, the pondscum of the right would have attacked her on that too.

    • it is a given that if Helen Clark had not come to visit Christchurch, the pondscum of the right would have attacked her on that too

      I believe Clark was due here anyway rather than made a special trip for it, so on that point I’m in agreement with you. I also agree none of the others would have been of any use at all (though the crack about Bolger’s kids is right down there with remarks about Clark’s looks, and anyway I think they’re all adults now), but then IMHO neither was she. The appropriate response – to head off the critics of her not showing up – was to say she didn’t want to get in the way, express her empathy for the victims, and stay out of it.

      I’m sorry, but I don’t care how popular and trusted she is… so’s the Pope, by a lot of people. But he has no place there either. And if he had shown up, I’d have the same things to say about him. And last time I checked, he was a bloke (not that his equipment has been tested, if you know what I mean 😀 )

      I grant you that a lot of the right’s dislike for Clrak stems from – or at least seems maginfied by – the fact she’s female. But in my case at least I think you’re mistaking misanthropy (to which I’ll plead guilty) for misogyny (to which I won’t).

      As for Mike, I like the guy personally but whether he’d have been a great PM… not sure. Given the right people round him, to do the day-to-day stuff, maybe. I see him more as a 1-man think tank, kinda a more left version of Roger Douglas, but on speed. I wish he’d stayed round to contribute locally, but not sure PM was the best fit.

  37. randal 37

    sorry I cant agree with the assertion that RNZ is doing a good job.
    they are micromanaging a disaster and it doesnt matter who is in the chair they finish every assertion with an interrogative.
    this is an invalid, dishonest, and disrepectful way to present the news.
    asking everybody to agree with everything you say indicates a very sad trait of our national character.

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