International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Posts tagged ‘Canterbury Earthquake’

Blaming the guy who’s doing all the work

I sometimes honestly wonder how Idiot can be so uninformed. It’s frankly amazing just how wrong he can be sometimes.

Like this.

In the past year, a series of earthquakes has devastated our second largest city. But with the recovery supposedly well underway, you’d expect the building industry to be working flat-out fixing all those houses and building new ones, right?


Thus far, everyone agrees. The building industry should be humming, but is not.

This can be put down to one thing: policy failure by the government. They have allowed the insurance industry to refuse to insure in Christchurch, effectively stalling the rebuild in its tracks.

Say wa??? “Refusing to insure Christchurch”? Where the heck does that come from?

The building industry is a big driver of economic growth, so the entire economy will pay the price. Meanwhile, the skilled and highly mobile workforce we need for the rebuild will up sticks and move to Australia to find work.

Again, no disagreement here. Only I thought that Idiot believed that government is the be-all and end-all of economic growth. Seems not.

The government has some levers it can pull here. For example, it could compulsorily acquire AMI under the terms of its bailout, seizing control of 90% of the Canterbury insurance market.

Now this one is outright wrong. If your sniff test is as off as Idiot’s, let me quote some actual figures:

The mutually-owned and Christchurch-headquartered AMI has a 30% share of the insurance market for houses, contents and cars in Christchurch, meaning it has the largest exposure of all insurers to residential damage. AMI did not provide commercial insurance for businesses most affected in the city centre.

So they have a mere 30% of the residential market, and aren’t even in the commercial insurance business at all. Figure that in, and the cover provided by EQC and I’m guessing you’re getting pretty close to single figures percentage-wise.

Or to put it another way, Idiot’s 90% figure is 90% wrong.

It could then use that control to provide insurance cover for the rebuild, and to push the rest of the industry into doing the same.

Again, I have no idea what this “insurance cover” phrase is being used to mean. Insurance cover is something you have, or do not have. About 95% of people had insurance (from what I’ve heard) meaing that they were covered. Peroid.

Perhaps he means that the companies have not paid out yet? Yet many have – I spoke to one woman who reported that her neighbours had reiceved multiple $100,000 payments from EQC. Thousands of people are living in houses paid for by their insurance companies. Payments are being made as full assessments are being made, but the sheer size of the disaster means it takes time – even if you vastly increase your claims staff as many companies continue to do even today. But if he meant to force payouts, that’s what he should have said.

Perhaps he means that the companies are refusing to provide cover for the new buildings to be rebuilt, or purchased to replace? There’s certainly been a good fuss made over companies refusing to write new policies. But the reason for that is quite simple: they just can’t cover their risks. Insurance companies need risks less than certainty, as do reinsurance companies. Forcing companies to provide insurance that isn’t commercially viable will simply lead to companies shutting up shop and leaving the country, and no one would be any better off.

But that sort of bold intervention is contrary to National’s “do nothing” economic ideology. And instead so they’ll leave Christchurch in ruins, and the economy to burn. After all, they have jobs (not to mention taxpayer funded houses, travel and everything else). As for the rest of us, well, we’re just not their concern.

Now we get to the heart of the matter: Idiot is blaming the private sector so he can attack the National government for leaving them alone to get the job done. Leftys just love painting conservatives as heartless. It’s what they live for. It’s their thing.

The irony is that the insurance companies are not doing nothing. They are furiously expanding, assessing and looking to rebuild. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. Now they can do this because they know what they have to do, and the regulatory framework they have to do it in.

The irony is that if National did what idiot wanted them to, all that work could potentially go to waste. Changing regulations mean that time has to be taken in order to understand what those changes mean in specific circumstances. That creates uncertainty. It’s certainty that allows business to operate. But don’t take my word for it – just ask anyone in the orange or white zones what uncertainty does.

Placing the blame where it really lies would just be too difficult. Because you see the real problem is red tape. The real problem is the government that Idiot so loves, making sure it’s boxes are ticked, while it saves people from themselves.

Or I may be wrong, and I missed the Christchurch City Council’s announcement of approval for a major new subdivision to house those affected.


Update: Ok, it may be that Idiot is referring to the fact that new houses can’t get insurance. I suspect this because Gerry Brownlee is in London (as per One News tonight) trying to convince the companies to insurce Christchurch.

Oh wait, he’s doing stuff? Well there goes the “National is leaving people to suffer” theory and associated rambling.

But this isn’t why houses aren’t being built. You can’t build houses if you don’t have land, and the land isn’t being made available.

And even if it was because of the insurance industry, nationalizing it is simply going to mean that the government socializes the risk, and privatizes the benefits. Hm, where have I heard that before?

In short, its a typical National Party policy: socialise the costs, privatise the benefits, and funnel money from the poor to the rich. We let them get away with this once in the 90’s; we shouldn’t let them do it to us again.

You can’t win, can you?

“Gay’s Caused the Earthquake” site is atheist satire, not Christian

On the day of the earthquake, a site was circulated by various outraged atheists. It blamed the earthquakes on tolerance of gay people in New Zealand.

The site is now removed, but it’s still readable on cache. I had a look through the pages, and notice a couple of things that made me wonder. Specifically:

  1. The hateful language, as opposed to a hateful message. Christians tend not to use words like “fag”. This is actually a good tell, because the Wesbro Baptist “Church” does and gets wide publicity for it. An unitiated onlooker might assume this was common in fundamentalist christian circules when describing homosexuality. It’s not. Even in sermons that condemn homosexuality in the strongest possible terms, you will pretty much never hear words like that.
  2. The language is over the top, but to a point. It doesn’t escalate into more irrational ranting as would be expected from someone genuinely outraged and working themselves into a lather.
  3. Scripture isn’t quoted (but see later). Fundamentalists cite scripture constantly in these sorts of things to justify their position.
  4. Trying too hard. The earthquake, ok. The IRD and XT network? Sorry, there’s no indication in the Bible that a cellphone network outage is God’s judgement.

But none of that is certain. 1) especially is very much a judgement call. No, what sealed the deal was this page.

First thing that struck me was that I saw scripture references. Second thing that struck me was that there was a distinct agenda being pushed which was completely at odds with the rest of the site.

Step One, STOP harming those around you – stop the bullying, stop the verbal and other abuse, stop the thieving, stop the dishonesty, stop the tolerance for violence, perversion, and alcoholism….

That is the one that differentiates between humans being judged, while animals are not – so their spirit does not need to go up to God. (The original text uses the word Ruach for both human and animal spirits — ie they are on the same level — Nefesh is a lower order of soul, and Neshamah is the next one up (above Ruach); above Neshamah come Chaiyah and Yechida. The Bible uses Ruach when talking about the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaQodesh) — ie an animal Ruach is described with the same term as the Holy Spirit.

That’s a really strange place to start. If this site were genuine Christian site, steps 1 though 10 would be repentance. Yet here we’ve got a weird sermon on animal cruelty and being a nice fellow.

Step Two – look for spiritual help. There are plenty of options. Eastern religions have good stuff in them, but they can take years of prayer and meditation to produce results. There are plenty of good people in churches, but there are plenty of ratbags too — if you go the church route, check out the track record of the group you join — are they just after your money, have any of their clergy been busted for child molesting? — you will “know them by their fruits . . . !!” And don’t go expecting great spiritual truths from an NZ church — most of them don’t have a clue — that is part of the reason the country is in the mess it is.

Eastern religions? Fake Christian fail. No self respecting, Bible-thumping fundamentalist would ever push anyone in any way towards an eastern religion. Instead, they’d tell you that you had no choice – God demands you worship him, and him only. Scripture would be quoted.

Step Three — you may not be religious, but you can still pray. God cares more about how you treat other people, than how you treat God. So if you get the “treating others” bit right, God is likely to meet you more than half-way, no matter how amateurish your early efforts to pray. If you are going to pray, you can just talk to God from your heart — and you can also use the “preformulated” prayers in the Bible. Start with the Psalms — they are still valid, no matter what flavour or denomination your spiritaul heritage was (or wasn’t).

Pray it seven times each morning — the Bible way — once facing South, once facing North, once to the East, then once above, once below, and once to the West, and then once more, picturing the Divine light shining within you, and in the centre of your home. In your mind, picture the Menorahs being formed from the verses you are reading. Ask God to protect you from the evil in NZ, to protect your children, your health, your marriage — and to protect you and those around you from another earthquake.

Again, fake Christian fail. People who blame earthquakes on God’s judgement don’t consider that man’s relationship with his fellow man is as important as repentance.

There is plenty to learn on a spiritual journey, but you don’t have to do it all in one year, or in five years. Treating others better, and wishing God well, is a big start.

So let me get this straight. God is tearing apart the country’s second largest city so that you’ll wish him well?

Now, some Christians do talk like this. We call them “liberal” Christians. But if there’s one thing that a liberal Christian would not do, it’s create a hate site blaming natural disasters on homosexuals. In fact, liberal Christians often don’t even believe in God at all, let alone a God who angrily smites the earth.
I could go on. There’s more “only someone from outside would say that” moments, and a lot of weirdness. There’s also some lovely examples of hatred of the organised church and some very good advice. It’s all over the place. In short, it’s a page that’s completely out of step with the rest of the site.
So the site overall is (was) not created by any identifiable Christian splinter group that I’ve ever heard of.  It’s clearly not written by someone with a consistent theology of any sort.
In layman terms, it’s satire. It was probably created by an atheist who is sick of various things within the church, to a) generate hatred towards Christians and b) to present to people attracted to the hate a “what to do next” message that may help moderate their hatred. The latter is of course a noble goal, but the former is not.

Not much bread left in Dunedin

Couplands ran out days ago. Supermarkets are starting to look very bare. In fact it’s even worse – these photos make it look like there’s more than there actually is.

You can see the red sign behind the trolley which are again appearing all over, telling us that stuff is unavailable because of the earthquake.

A Ribbon for Canterbury

Came up with this. Feel free to improve!

CTV Building

From One News tonight. It’s a miracle anyone emerged alive.

Other damage

Another shot of the CTV building


One News Summary, 24th Feb

Water Shortage In Christchurch

There are problems with the water system in Christchurch.

There will not be enough water to meet demand in Christchurch in the coming days, Christchurch City Council says.

The council says damage caused by yesterday’s earthquake meant the water supply was not functioning on the eastern side of the city.

“There is no drinking water and no fire pressure,” it said in a statement.

The council said that drinking water could be collected from a number of primary schools where it would be be delivered throughout the day.

Lyttelton Main and Phillipstown schools have water tanks, while tanks are on their way to Governors Bay Primary School, Lyttelton West School an Diamond Harbour Service Station.

Six more water tanks are were their way from Auckland.

One thing that will not solve the issue is a scheme I saw via twitter.

Aucklanders are being asked to purchase bottled water and bring it to collection points. They’re then going to truck it down to Christchurch.

Quite why water needs to be taken on a two day when there’s plenty to be had less than an hour away (and indeed, from some places in the city) is beyond me. Fontera’s trucks are transporting 200,000 liters at a time from Temuka. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to work out that a full truck of bottled water would cost at least $200,000, and would take much longer to arrive (quite outside the problems of having to organise pickups, re-palletising individually purchased bottles, transport…).

Yes, this is a case of people trying to help. But it’s wrong. It’s a waste of money and effort – that $200,000 could be desperately needed elsewhere. I doubt it’s a scam, but those are out there too.

Please, if you are further than a couple of hours drive from Christchurch, give money to the Red Cross. It can then be used to supply what is needed, in the most efficient way possible.

Quake Graph

There’s a very useful interactive graph of the quakes in Christchurch here.

Update: HP has the PM’s speech.

Update2: Imagine being on this footpath when the quake struck.

*The* Photo of the Quake? #eqnz

To me, this photo from The Herald symbolises so much about this quake.

Like last time, suburbs under water.

But unlike last time, there is smoke rising from the CBD where people are trapped in collapsed buildings.

Same, but different.


Update: Yes, the cathedral will most likely become the symbol, but to me, this one speaks a loud message very subtly.

Earthquake Video

Andy has created this video and posted it today.

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