The size of the problem or Why you can’t trust the Herald to tell you

The size of the problem in and near Kaikoura is something people are struggling to get information on.

Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the NZ Herald for facts. Here is a prime example.

The scale and the complexity of the slips on SH1 was unprecedented in New Zealand, Knackstedt said, and the task ahead was huge.

“While detailed measurements aren’t yet available, it’s likely that four or five of the large slips which have come down on SH1 could be as large or larger than the October 2011 slip which closed SH3 through the Manawatu Gorge.”

That landslide – the largest in New Zealand history – involved 370,000sq m of material. ?

Really? 370,000 sq m? Are you sure?

You see that is 0.37 sq km or 37 hectares of material if the Herald is to be believed. Even a school child can see the problem there.

If it was true that there was 370,000sq m of material then that would be enough to cover?quite a sizeable area.

What they really meant was 370,000 cu m.

Now this the where the problem gets hard…and interesting.

The Manawatu Gorge slip could be attacked from both ends to help clear it. But stupid RMA rules meant that all that fill had to be trucked away. An average dump truck can carry 5cu m. You can do the math for yourself. It also took 13 months to stabilise, clear and reopen the road. The South Island doesn’t have 13 months…they are slowly strangling to death economically.

In Kaikoura the slips are as big or bigger. There are still shakes going on so the faces and hills aren’t stable. Trucking all that fill out also isn’t really an option, considering you can’t attack those slips from both sides.

The most logical thing to do would be to push that fill into the?sea, and spread it along the coast as fill for a new four-lane highway. It is the fastest way to get at least the road open.

Forget the rail line. The economics of that mean that will probably be finished as a viable transport option there.

New Zealand has some tough decisions to make. Feasibly the cheapest option is still to use the coast route. An inland route would have to cross or be built on top of several fault lines, which are highly active. There is a reason the sounds and the mountains there exist.

Greedy Auckland-based politicians can go fly a kite. Tough decisions need to be made and the greenies and hippies need to be ignored.

If necessary the government needs to pass some enabling legislation to bypass the RMA and get things happening fast.

Only one thing is certain in all of this…that you can’t trust the Herald or the children running it to give you basic facts.


– NZ Herald