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Learnings for Wellington from Christchurch #1

  • July 19th, 2011

There are many things for Wellingtonians to learn from Christchurch's experience. I'll post on them from time to time. Commenters might add others. Some day they could add up to a realists' guide, an antidote to any self-congratulatory nonsense that could emerge from an official review of Christchurch experience.

Wellington will be in such different circumstances that many of the lessons from Christchurch could be inap. But one of the universal early rules from experience could be, sadly,  to ignore orders from civil defence for as long as possible.

Christchurch people already know this. Straight after the latest big (June) shake people ran into parking buildings despite the risk, because they saw a greater risk in being forbidden to retrieve their cars. I'm told that as 'the authorities" were securing main entrances people were climbing in over walls at the back.

All self employed business people know now not to leave work until you've extracted everything you possibly can that you might need to support yourself for the next year or two. Because the gauleiters will enjoy keeping you from your own property for months, in your own interests of course,  once they've imposed "order". Do what you must while chaos reigns.

These learnings could increase losses of life next time, but they are a common sense conclusion from what has happened in Christchurch.

More formal lessons will be about insurance. I'll be out of town, otherwise I'd be sure to attend the seminar organised by the Wellington Branch of the Property Council of NZ for 3 August.  Scott MacDonald of Vero is to talk to this brief:

"The insurance Industry is now working through the aftermath of one of the largest insured events in history – and finding a minefield of major and unforeseen issues surrounding claims, ongoing insurability, increasing costs, rising premiums and uninsured losses of unprecedented proportion."

What happens as earthquake scientists get close to being able to predict earthquakes? Insurance is for events that are statistically but not individually predictable. What insurer will renew in a city for which a quake is known to be imminent? Quake insurance in that inevitable world is of no more use than umbrellas that can't go into the rain.

This morning's call for the Government to provide insurance because the industry might not, is perhaps just a stage in moving to a new order. If mortgagees demand insurance, and insurers pull out of the market, perhaps buildings will have to be built/owned without debt? Islamic banking expertise needed?





Dead right on hanging back and grabbing all your stuff before evacuating. I didn't know how bad the February quake was, but I did know that my folks (Manitobans, no earthquake experience) were home in Brighton with the kids. So I drove off home as quick as I could (wound up taking 5 hours anyway).
Had I kept my wits about me, as did one of my colleagues, I'd have stuck around, then headed back up to my office before the security crackdown. I could then have extracted all I'd have needed for the next month. Lesson learned for next time.

  • peterquixote
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 3:32 am

The anger is grows Stephen.
We move slowly to assert are rights as people .Why is it that a North Islander can see what is while we lay around like stunned chickens.

  • peterquixote
  • July 20th, 2011
  • 3:39 am

There is another thing Stephen, who is this Eric Crampton,
Why does he not consult with me , he is clever  but things have changed,
He should get me to go to his office to pick up gear.
I  can  just get in there no.risk to me , i do stuff and deliver.

  • philob
  • July 24th, 2011
  • 6:37 pm

I reckon there must have been a thriving industry of red zone residents burgling business offices to order, and delivering the files etc to their owners  for a fat fee.

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