Christchurch 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 »

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.

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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 »

Rock stars we are

The New Zealand economy is still a rock star, according to Paul Bloxham, the man who originally coined the phrase.

In a New Zealand economics comment, Mr Bloxham, the chief economist for HSBC Bank Australia, said despite lower dairy prices and lower growth in its major trading partners, New Zealand’s economy continued to be supported by a construction boom and the story had further to run.

As a result, interest rates were at high levels when compared with the rest of the developed world and the currency was high.

The New Zealand dollar was nearing parity against the Australian dollar for the first time in 42 years. Some early signs of domestic price pressures picking up suggested the New Zealand Reserve Bank was unlikely to cut rates this year, in contrast to current market pricing, he said.

Mr Bloxham said there were a range of indicators showing the New Zealand economy was still booming.

The broadest economic indicator of gross domestic product, or GDP, showed growth was broad based across industries with 15 of 16 sectors showing expansion over 2014. Overall GDP was running at a well above annual trend of 3.5%. The more timely indicators confirmed the strength had continued into 2015. Read more »

More good news

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No matter the amount of effort going in at Labour HQ to paint a picture of National mismanaging the economy (who thought that was going to ever fly?), the evidence to the contrary continues to engulf us like an avalanche.  The Herald’s Business Desk reports   Read more »

Ruth Dyson wants to profit from those who were Red Zoned in order to buy votes

Via the Tipline

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We all know that Labour is the party of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ in the hope that there are enough Pauls out there to vote them back into power, but yesterday Ruth Dyson seemed to take this beyond the bounds of decency by suggesting that in order to pay for their policies they’re prepared to profit from the misery of those who lost their homes in the Christchurch quakes.

Here’s the flow of a twitter conversation she had:

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Read more »

David Cunliffe upsets Chief District Court Judge

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It is very, very, VERY rare for the legal profession to take to the media.  Part of their job is to take things silently on the chin, no matter how unfair the situation.   Read more »

The homeless in Christchurch are living like kings

Two minutes of your time.  A “must watch”

Living Like Kings from Loading Docs on Vimeo.

Labour Party tweet acknowledges National’s tight control on economy

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$52 mil since 2008?  That doesn’t sound that bad.

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Another giant social media own goal (SMOG)

To be honest, the idea of Russel Norman as finance minister may end up being a brilliant solution to a Labour Party that just can’t get the numbers right.

What’s more,  is that by attacking debt (fueled by the GFC and quakes) they seem to be suggesting that National should have cut more spending – which is at odds with their opposition to every cut that National has made.

National inherited forecasts of ever increasing debt and never ending deficits – it’s incredible that it has turned around so quickly.

So the question to Labour is if they think debt is too high – what would they cut – the Christchurch rebuild – the investment in infrastructure,  working for families, benefits, health, education… what?

More double speak from the party of tricky Dave

Bob Parker knighted – well deserved

Glenn Conway reminds us of the steady hand that exuded calm and gravitas during one of our nation’s  darkest days

The man who led Christchurch through its life-changing earthquakes has been knighted.

Former Christchurch mayor Sir Bob Parker is the highest honoured Cantabrian in the 2014 New Year’s Honours, receiving a Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to local body affairs and the community…

…Parker said the honour was ”amazingly humbling” and unexpected.

”I’m very conscious of the people I had the privilege of working alongside in those dark days. This (honour) is very much a team thing and I’m very privileged to carry this honour.’

‘Standout moments in his career included working with Ngai Tahu, especially Onuku Rununga and returning the sacred land at Takapuneke back to its control.

The successful ”Share An Idea” campaign, which won the council an international award, was also a highlight. Parker paid tribute to his wife, Jo, who will be known as Lady Parker.

She joked: ”Bob is the only man who could make me a lady.”

The honour focuses on Parker’s 22-year-local body career and his leadership skills after the earthquakes which attracted worldwide attention

Parker’s talents as a TV presenter allowed him to give Christchurch a calm and collected front as aftershock after aftershock kept eroding people’s nerves.   Read more »

There is no gender equality in an earthquake

via news.com.au

via news.com.au

Some interesting health stats reported on by Anna Pearson

Twice as many females than males were injured during and after the Canterbury earthquake, figures show.

A breakdown of injuries caused by the September 4, 2010 and February 22, 2011 quakes has also revealed the most common cause of injury across the disasters was falling or tripping.

Why would this be?  Apparently, there are three working theories     Read more »