Two thirds of EQC “customers” unhappy, and that’s not high enough

Natural disasters are natural, and disasters.  The fact that some people find that they have taken a hit on their equity, or their bird bath is listing to one side isn’t a sufficient reason to get pissy.  

The EQC system isn’t a 100% fix-it-as-new insurance scheme.  As long as people are living in their home, are safe and dry, then the minor stuff is what they should take on the chin.  Welcome to living on the Ring of Fire.

Customer satisfaction with the way the Earthquake Commission (EQC) handles claims has dropped.

The commission set itself a target for this year’s annual report of getting a tick from at least 50 percent of its customers, but the result was well short of that.

Its report for the year to June (PDF, 2.8MB – part two of two) showed about 34 percent were happy with their experience – a fall from last year, when 44 percent said they were satisfied.

Jennifer Dalziel is among the two thirds of clients unhappy about their experiences, after she approached the agency about its failure to properly repair her home.

“What they do is just keep fobbing people off, that it’s gone to the engineers, that it’s gone for a review and now we have to send someone else out, and there’s a six-month time lag between each of those things happening.

“So after three years people are no further ahead.”

Ms Dalziel had now decided to take EQC to court.  Read more »

Photo of the Day

Spruce Tree Snapped Off by the Wave - Seven Miles from its Source. Stump of living spruce tree broken off by the giant wave at Harbor Point, mouth of Lituya Bay. Brim of hat is 12 inches in diameter. This tree is located about seven miles (11.3 kilometers) from where the wave originated. Photo by D.J. Miller, United States Geological Survey.

Spruce Tree Snapped Off by the Wave – Seven Miles from its Source. Stump of living spruce tree broken off by the giant wave at Harbor Point, mouth of Lituya Bay. Brim of hat is 12 inches in diameter. This tree is located about seven miles (11.3 kilometers) from where the wave originated. Photo by D.J. Miller, United States Geological Survey.

World’s Tallest Tsunami

The Empire State Building is 448 metres high (1,470 ft), if you include the antenna spire. Now, imagine a wave that goes up to the 1,720ft (520 metres) and simply destroys all the trees high up in Lituya Bay, a fjord located on the coast of Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska – Alaska is a land of geological superlatives: Big Mountains, vast spaces, huge earthquakes. So it would stand to reason that an event that happened 58 years is also the largest of its kind ever recorded.

The biggest tsunami in present times struck at Lituya Bay, Alaska on July 9, 1958. This was so big that it is known scientifically as a Mega Tsunami.

The wave was brought on by an enormous 8.3. Some say 8.8. And others say a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the Fairweather Fault and caused a massive earth landslide.

The region had suffered earthquakes previously as it lies on a fault line; however, this was the most dramatic. The tremors were even felt by people in Seattle, Washington.

The earthquake that may have been as powerful as the one that helped destroy San Francisco in 1906. About 40 million cubic yards of rock — some of it falling from a height of 3,000 feet — plunged down the face of Lituya Glacier into Gilbert Inlet at the northern end of the bay.

Sudden water displacement created a wave that shot seaward from the land, and that was certainly a factor in what followed. But similar occurrences in Norway, where fjords are plentiful, never produced a wave remotely close to the size of this one.

The Lituya Bay mega tsunami was a freak tsunami (said to be the biggest wave ever) in Lituya Bay a large fjord in Alaska. The reason that this tsunami is so different to others is the fact that it ran from the land out to the ocean and was a lot taller than a regular tsunami.

Read more »

Large 7.8 Ecuador Earthquake


From the passenger seat: five years ago today [UPDATED]

Can you remember how you found out?

I was on a job when the customer got a phone call to say that there had been “another big quake” in Christchurch.  I remember not flinching much at the time as we had “survived” one already. The news of aftershocks had been an almost daily occurrence for months and you end up quite desensitised.

Customers weren’t so calm.  Their adult daughter worked in central Christchurch – smack bang in the middle of what would eventually be called “The Red Zone”.

And, of course, the phone network was completely overloaded.

The television went on and we sat aghast looking at the aftermath, while trying to contact various people.  Over time, we got enough messages through and back to know that at least our friends and family were OK.

It was a strange mixture of emotions.  Me, calm, because all the people I knew in Christchurch were fine.  Customers were on edge.  30 minutes had passed and still we hadn’t been able to get word about her daughter.  We watched TV coverage of the central Christchurch CBD with collapsed buildings just a few streets away from where she worked in a multi-story building.

I recall the deep disgust I felt for some reporters on TV who were unable to hide their visceral delight at being able to report on such a big story.  The occasion called for gravitas, but in their lives, especially those who were patched live over the world to the BBC and CNN, they were unable to suppress their excitement and naked joy.

Not long after we managed to contact someone who had heard of the daughter post-quake, and knew she was alright.  Traffic was gridlocked and comms were out.  It would be a few hours still before they could actually talk to each other for the first time.  Read more »

Hey Andy? Still want to rebuild the school?

Sunday’s earthquake has further weakened the cliff face behind a Christchurch school that’s tagged for closure, the Government says.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced in November that she’d made an interim decision to close Redcliffs School in Christchurch because the cliff was unstable.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says Sunday’s 5.7-magnitude quake caused major rockfalls in areas where the geology is identical to Redcliffs.

“The school site has had five major rockfalls since 2010, ranging from 100 tonnes to nearly 50,000 tonnes,” he said.

“I have been further advised that the cliff face behind the school suffered additional damage on Sunday with new cracks on the upper third of the rock face, and a number of individual boulders dislodged from the face.”

The Labour Party has opposed closing the school. Read more »

Taiwan in pictures


Wally Santana / AP

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No, no no! No taxpayer funds to rebuild the privately owned Christchurch cathedral

The bludgers are out in force this Christmas, this time advocating for government money to fix up a shitty cathedral of no architectural merit.

An advocate for the restoration of the Christchurch cathedral says he will personally put $1 million toward the project.

An independent report has found the quake-damaged cathedral could be restored at a cost of $105 million.

Former cabinet minister and Great Christchurch Buildings Trust co-chair Philip Burdon said the money will come from a mix of insurance payouts with the residual $60m from private fund-raising.

He himself had committed $1 million and he’s confident others will contribute, he said.

Mr Burdon said the trust would also accept any government funding.

Read more »

Face of the day

Today’s face of the day is a doctor from New Zealand who bravely ignored her own serious injury caused by the Nepal earthquake in order to help save the lives of others. Previously she had worked in the A&E during the Christchurch earthquake.

Her name is Dr Rachel Tullet.


Dr Rachel Tullet helped keep 25 injured people alive until they could be evacuated. PHOTO-NZ Herald

Survivors of the avalanche at Everest Base Camp have described how a New Zealand-based doctor helped save the lives of 25 critically injured people, despite being wounded herself. She later stitched up her own leg without anaesthetic.

When the avalanche triggered by the 7.9-magnitude Nepalese earthquake struck, Dr Rachel Tullet, 34, an emergency and wilderness medical specialist living in Christchurch, was swept on to a rock and buried under ice crystals for several minutes.

She said: “I realised I’d injured my leg, but I was just amazed that I’d survived it. And in the scale of what happened to other people, it just didn’t even register.”

She immediately sprang into action and led an operation that helped keep 25 seriously injured people – 19 Nepalese and 6 foreign climbers – alive until they were evacuated by helicopter nearly 24 hours later. Two later died in Kathmandu.

Read more »

Gee, this is timely

Gee, this is timely as we countdown to the 5th anniversary and 1000s of examples on how useless the Christchurch City Council is.

Wonder if the announcement is coinciding with when big pay rises for pretty inept councillors are announced.

The rebuild is winding down so perfect timing…typical of a council coming too late to the party and a few dollars short.

City councillors have unanimously approved plans to set up a one-stop shop for investors and developers keen to be part of the rebuild.

Development Christchurch will be set up under Christchurch City Holdings Ltd (CCHL), the council’s commercial arm, and provide advice to the council on unsolicited development proposals and look after some of the major capital projects the council has on its books. It will also help progress the council’s suburban master plans.   Read more »

Ground opening up during an earthquake