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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Insurance company information updates

Members of the IAG group have put out a very informative Earthquake Claim Pack for their customers. The insurance companies making up the group are listed below. Click on the name of the company to be taken to the appropriate web page where you can download the pack relevant to your policy.
The packs take you through the basics from lodging a claim with EQC, listing the damaged contents of your house, and explaining which bits are EQC's responsibility and which bits are the responsibility of the insurance company.

ASB don't, as of the 2nd of April, have a pack along the lines of the other companies. There is a more general FAQ page here.  IAG have a generic pack here.

Although they are almost identical, the NZI pack is a good one for clear explanations and a comprehensive checklist.

If you are insured with a company outside those mentioned above, be aware the way your policy is administered could be significantly different.

More health information

The Canterbury HealthInfo web site has earthquake related health information of a practical nature. The website is here.

Two health issues of wide interest are covered:
  • gastroenteritis/tummy bug (here)
  • earthquake stress (here)
Plus information for diabetics here.

Information about getting to the hospital: Parking, Shuttles, and Inter-hospital Transport is here.

There is a request on the page to not use the hospital one way system because congestion is interfering with ambulances trying to enter and leave the hospital. Note that parking close by is unlikely and that up to 30 minutes walk can be expected to get from the car to the hospital. Check the page for the latest situation.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Where will all the rubble go - the route for dumping the rubble

The route to be taken by vehicles to and from the Burwood Resource Recovery Parks is described below. There is no effect on our side of the river however Hills Road, Whitmore Street and Bealey Avenue are part of the route to be used by the trucks. The CCC notice announcing these routes can be found here.
Christchurch City Council has specified a route that heavy vehicles should take between the CBD and the Burwood landfill at Bottle Lake Forest. The route is:
  • Madras Street (return Barbadoes Street)
  • Bealey Avenue
  • Whitmore Street
  • Hills Road
  • Akaroa Street
  • Marshland Road
  • Prestons Road
  • Landfill Road
Trucks leaving the CBD will take Madras Street north to Bealey Avenue, while those returning to the CBD will turn off Bealey Avenue and head south along Barbadoes Street.

Canterbury Temporary Accommodation Service

This service is available to those currently out of their homes and facing additional costs (e.g. run out of insurance accommodation money). It can also help find temporary accommodation for those now needing to move out. The following is from the website, which is here.
This service is for Canterbury homeowners who have had to leave their home as a result of the earthquake and now face additional accommodation costs.
Temporary Accommodation assistance can help with costs such as rent, board or motel stays.
Emergency accommodation services are currently being provided by Housing New Zealand. If you require support to locate emergency accommodation, or you have accommodation to offer, please call 0800 HELP 00 (0800 435 700) or visit

Thursday, 31 March 2011

How will CERA operate?

It is too early to find hard detail on CERA, and it is likely that much will be kept for the incoming CEO to determine. However the CERA website has a page (here) setting out basic information about the "what" and the "how" of its operations. The information is useful for anticipating what we can expect. This post covers the "what" part. The "how" part is not informative, as it is pitched at too high a level to contain detail of any sort.

Reproduced below is the part of the page relating to what CERA will be doing. I have numbered the paragraphs so they are easier to refer to. Some of the information suggests that local input will occur, while another implies a demotion of the interests of the residents of greater Christchurch.

Where will all the rubble go?

As commercial and residential buildings are demolished the rubble is taken and dumped at the old Burwood Landfill, and parts of Bottle Lake Park. This action has been authorised by the Civil Defence National Controller, John Hamilton, to allow demolition sites to be cleared as soon as possible.

The area is now being called the Burwood Resource Recovery Park and the CCC intends sorting, processing and recycling the material sent there. Recycling as much as possible is important as the amount of demolition rubble from all sources is expected to amount to 4.25 million tonnes, or about 15 years of waste taken to Kate Valley.

In a media release the Council said the site was selected for the following reasons:
The old Burwood Landfill and three smaller areas in the surrounding Bottle Lake Forest have been identified as the best site for this temporary processing facility because:
  • the site is just 8km from the Central City and close to the worst-affected areas in the city’s east which is convenient for transportation;
  • the site does not pose a risk to city aquifers that supply city drinking water;
  • as the old landfill is on-site there are already measures in place to ensure security and to minimise adverse affects;
  • established transport routes to and from the old landfill site are already established.
The full media release can be read here.

EQC - information about detailed assessments

EQC have added information about detailed assessments to their FAQ (here).

The detailed assessments headings are:
  • What is a full assessment?
  • Who is being visited for full assessments?
  • How are full assessments being prioritised?
  • Will I need to be home for a full assessment?
  • How will I know when I’m getting a full assessment?
  • What happens after the full assessment?
The full text is:

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Getting your pet chipped - free chipping campaign

The SPCA in Christchurch is running a Chip your Pet for Free campaign. Get to a participating vet before the 25th of April, or stocks run out, and the animal will be chipped and added to the national database for free.

The nearest vets to our area are listed below. Give them a ring and see if they can fit you in.

Avonside Wainoni Vet Clinic
83 Wainoni Road
Phone: 03 389 5740 Email:

Ferry Road Veterinary Services Ltd
483 Ferry Road
Phone: 03 389 9034 Email:

Total Veterinary Services
516 Gloucester Street
Phone: 03 389 4564 Email:

Vets for Pets on Worcester
321 Worcester Street
Phone: 03 379 3630 Email:

More details, including vets in other areas, are on the SPCA website here

CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) - a quick look

The new structure called CERA, (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) looks interesting. Being a public service based organisation, with all the accountabilities that accompany such organisations, there is good reason to believe that maximum accountability and transparency will be available.

Whether it provides for an implementation that is truly representative of the needs and desires of the residents of Christchurch and Canterbury remains to be seen. It is not yet clear whether the structure will permit the meaningful participation of the wider community, or allow the usual power bases to continue with the old policies and practices they have become comfortable with.


The structure is new to everyone, so understanding and appreciating its potential is some time off. However, when looking to find the extent to which community involvement is provided for, it is intriguing to see that reporting to the Minister (Gerry Brownlee) is a Community Forum. Consisting of Canterbury community leaders, it will have around twenty members, all appointed by the Minister. Who will the members be? From the Minister's press release (here) we get:
“A key early step will be the appointment of around 20 individuals to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Community Forum. This cross section of the many interest groups across the region will be an important conduit for the community to express what’s important to them in developing the plan for rebuilding Canterbury.”
The important point from this? These people are going to be the channel, and probably the only channel, through which the community's views can be expressed at the policy level. Involvement at this level allows for pro active participation. Everything else is reactive, trying to change or replace what has already been decided, or too advanced to be influenced. If this is going to be the case then who is appointed will be crucial to how the region recovers, and to the prospect of creating a successful urban and provincial community.

So, how will the appointment process work? Who will define the range of people needed, can they be nominated or will they come from a list held by some agency, what attributes must they have, how will they be identified, and by what criteria will they be selected? So far this is unknown.

Putting aside misgivings about Forum membership for now, the concept at first glance appears to be a good idea. It offers an opportunity for streamlining processes by avoiding the interminable time-absorbing stream of consultative meetings, conferences, processes, huis, and reviews that have become part of the New Zealand political landscape. It remains a good idea only so long as it doesn't become a closed group of narrow self interest activists carving out opportunities for themselves. As the Forum is required to meet only six times a year its usefulness may also depend on how much work it is willing to do.


In the Authority's Questions and Answers about CERA document, available on CERA's website, residents' involvement take a relatively low priority. In that document, under the heading "What are the tasks and functions of CERA?" the document states CERA will "engage with other local and central government agencies, Ngai Tahu, businesses, and the local community". The community, the biggest group of all, being at the tail end.

It is interesting to compare this with wording in Cabinet papers, describing the need for the Authority in terms of "the significant co-ordination needed between local and central government, residents of greater Christchurch, Ngai Tahu, NGOs, business interests and the private sector;".  This latter quote places residents at a much higher level of priority. Middle of the night semantics, perhaps, but semantics are the tools of policy makers and implementers, and for the sake of a few words people can be easily dis-empowered.

You can find this quote in the following Cabinet papers (download them here):
  • Cabinet Minute of Decision: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: Proposed Governance Arrangements (Paper 1), 3.4
  • Cabinet Minute of Decision: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: Proposed Powers (Paper 2),
  • Cabinet paper: Paper 1: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: Proposed Governance Arrangements, Recommendations 4, 4.4
  • Cabinet paper, Paper 2: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: Proposed Powers, Para 15
  • Cabinet paper, Annex 2, Regulatory Impact Statement, Para 12

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) - what will it do?

The new Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is being set up. What will it do?

The following is from the briefing paper available from CERA's website here (currently the document at the bottom of the page). CERA's homepage is

What are the tasks and functions of CERA?
During its establishment phase, CERA will:
  • Establish and maintain a close working relationship with the Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council, and Environment Canterbury
  • engage with other local and central government agencies, Ngai Tahu, businesses, and the local community
  • coordinate and prioritise recovery planning by central government agencies
  • gather information necessary to assess the best approach(es) to the long-term recovery
  • start work on a long-term recovery strategy
  • assume responsibility for supporting the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission
  • review and oversee existing operations on the ground and work towards structures and arrangements that will be necessary for effective and coordinated rebuilding and recovery of Christchurch, and
  • Provide support for the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery.
CERA will work in collaboration with relevant local authorities. CERA will:
  • support local authorities in understanding the magnitude of the recovery, and
  • help to coordinate the efforts of local and central government, NGOs, the private sector and greater Christchurch residents.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Clayton Cosgrove on bureaucrats and Christchurch


MP Clayton Cosgrove has expressed his fear that hundreds of clipboard carrying Wellington bureaucrats will descend on Christchurch, stifling initiative, and hindering fast implementation. Citing the example of how quickly the council and community in Waimakariri responded, he feels it should be a template for what will happen in Christchurch. A bit like Deborah Coddington in her little piece of whimsey regarding the "Sumner Solution" (NZ herald, 27 March, see it here).  Hopefully his expression of fear is just a tired and unthinking remark arising from an unceasing workload, and not a firmly held belief to be fought for.

The differences between Christchurch and Kaiapoi/Waimakariri are enormous. Influencing what happens in Christchurch is far more important for special interest groups than whatever might happen in Kaiapoi. Whoever controls the planning and development of Christchurch determines not only what goes where, but who will benefit from the decisions, and who will lose out. Such an environment would soon destabilise the nice inclusiveness found in Waimakariri, and turn into a mire of controversy and conflict.

Recently John Key was accused of scare mongering with his "10,000 homes" announcement because he raised the spectre without providing anything of substance. Clayton Cosgrove seems to be in a similar boat by raising a fearful prospect without offering a suitable alternative. True, he has suggested the Waimakariri approach, however that way seems totally devoid of a big picture understanding of all the power plays that will occur.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Avonside (March) - factual geotech report

[NOTE: this post is now nearly 3 months old]  EQC released the full factual report on Avonside (you can get it here). EQC's definition of Avonside is shown in the map:

  This report is full of technical information aimed at geotech specialists. While most of it has little meaning for us, I did find the site (land) description, and the last section on the Regional Council boreholes, quite fascinating.

Descriptions of the land

The following is an extract from the Tonkin and Taylor report (p 2)
3.2 Regional geology

The Geology of the Christchurch Urban Area (Ref 3) shows that the subject area of Avonside is underlain by alluvial sand and silt overbank deposits around the banks of the Avon River. The centre of the subject area is shown to be underlain by sand of fixed and semi-fixed dunes and beach deposits of Holocene age.
The reference to the dunes and beach deposits being of Holocene age doesn't give much information: we are living in the Holocene age, which started around 12,000 years ago, and is still going. The bottom line seems to be that in parts of our area we have built and live atop sand.

This is probably a surprise to many, however it was well known in the 19th century through the "black maps" which were compiled by surveyors in the 1850s. Copies of some of these maps are held in the New Zealand Room of the Christchurch Public Libraries. Since they were first drawn these maps have been used by the council and others (e.g. the now defunct Drainage Board). The map below is an enhanced extract from a larger map on the Council's website (get a copy here).

As you can see, most of Avonside was low-lying with fern and tutu, swampy areas, sand hills and a bit of terrace high ground. Woodham Road, named in green, runs along the bottom of the map. Click on the map to enlarge it.

Looking Underneath

The Regional Council, some time past, sank bores in our area. Two of them allow a glimpse of what lies just below the surface, and how different it is between the two points. I have no idea if the changes described below are representative of the area in general, but for now it helps me build up a picture of the land.

Key pages, if you want to check it out, are: Appendix A, second map (the map of where the ground samples were made), Appendix G: Environment Canterbury Boreholes (the Borelogs for well M35/3814 and M35/14578).

Well M35/3814 is behind the main wing of Avonside Girls High School and well M35/14578 on Retreat Road near Keller Street (see the map below). Looking at the first few metres of each well there is a significant difference in what was found. At AGHS the first 2.40 metres consists of clay followed by 4.6 metres of brown shingle. On Retreat Road there is 91cm of clay, followed by 4.3 metres of blue sand then a bit of gravel (the well only goes to 5.32 metres). These two points are about 350 metres apart.

Would any of us, knowing this information, have taken up an opportunity to build on this land? How many would want to rebuild on it and, if we do, what would it take to make the land sound?

NOTE added 28 April: changed the introduction to ensure no one thought this post referred to the much sought after May 2011 information release.