Go on, tell me again that Wellington isn’t rooted

Another Wellington office block has been vacated due to earthquake risk.

Yet, we are being told that there is nothing wrong in Wellington, despite the port and all its office buildings being damaged beyond habitation and practical use, and several office blocks being torn down, and now we have the IRD building being evacuated.

Another central Wellington office building was evacuated today, after earthquake damage was discovered during an invasive engineering inspection.

IRD spokesperson Pete van Schaardenberg said nearly 500 staff were sent home from the Inland Revenue Department’s building at 12 Hawkestone Street this afternoon. ? Read more »


The scale of the problem in Kaikoura

This video and some images give you an idea of the scale of issues facing re-opening roads near Kaikoura.

A massive slip covering a road in rural Marlborough is proving challenging to roading crews, who are using dynamite, helicopters and diggers to get it cleared.

Nine families remained isolated behind the slip, which is covering Awatere Valley Rd, a 100 kilometre stretch connecting?coastal Marlborough down to Hanmer Springs.

In late November, the slip and the exploits of a digger driver working to clear it received national attention when a picture emerged showing his?excavator balanced precariously on the rock fall. ? Read more »

Clare Curran joins 11,000 other idiots that want a Geonet staffer to die of boredom

Clare Curran must be working on behalf of the PSA in trying this one on.

The Government must listen to New Zealanders and provide the funding necessary to staff Geonet 24 hours a day, says Labour?s Civil Defence and Emergency Management spokesperson Clare Curren.

“Today I have presented a petition to Parliament signed by 11,551 New Zealanders calling for Geonet to be staffed around the clock,” she says.

“As recent experience proves, New Zealand is rightfully known as the ?Shaky Isles?, so it?s absolutely essential we have an earthquake and tsunami monitoring service that is staffed 24/7. ? Read more »

Maybe Bishop Brian Tamaki was onto something

Everyone has been quick to mock Bishop Brian for saying that homosexuals cause earthquakes and other natural disasters but what if he is on to something? If gays cause things like earthquakes and lightning strikes then couldn’t we harness that power for good? This could become a policy platform for the Greens. Who needs nuclear power when you can harness the power of Gay.


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Wellington Mayor Justin Lester in a mild panic about government departments leaving town

Justin Lester was on Q+A yesterday, showing mild panic:

Wellington mayor Justin Lester says Wellington is “well-placed” to manage further earthquakes, and he doesn?t back the idea of moving government functions to other parts of New Zealand.

Speaking to Q+A?s Jessica Mutch, Mr Lester said he thought that was a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“Look, let?s be realistic, I mean, Auckland sits on volcanoes; Christchurch, no one expected to have an earthquake down there, and that was an absolute tragedy; various different parts of the country face natural disaster events. So this is an occurrence in New Zealand, as it is in any other city in any other country in the world.

We need to live up to the risk. We need to manage the risk, and I think Wellington?s well placed.” ? Read more »

Photo of the Day

Just Married: Miyakejima Island Wedding. Over 3,600 people evacuated the island in 2000 because of the toxic gases which could harm their lungs. But some people are just too adamant to leave. They have adopted ways to suit the living conditions in the island. It may surprise you, but people residing there wear gas masks to protect themselves from the toxicity.

Just Married: Miyakejima Island Wedding. Over 3,600 people evacuated the island in 2000 because of the toxic gases which could harm their lungs. But some people are just too adamant to leave. They have adopted ways to suit the living conditions in the island. It may surprise you, but people residing there wear gas masks to protect themselves from the toxicity.

Miyake-jima ‘Gas Mask Island’

The age old adage home is where the heart is, finds its true meaning in Miyakejima, a small island located in southeast Japan. Despite the high level of volcanic activity that causes poisonous gas to leak from the earth that forced the 3,600 island residents to evacuate in 2000, the citizens just won?t stay away. Thus, the self-appointed gas mask town rose from the, very literal, ashes.

Off the coast of mainland Japan, a chain of islands called the Izu Islands sits beneath a cloud of sulphur. For the gasmask-wearing residents, every day is a challenge of survival.

Japan?s Izu Islands exist somewhere on the scale between ?endlessly fascinating? and ?utterly terrifying?. Formed from the raised tops of an underwater volcanic chain, the islands are lush, beautiful and exceedingly deadly. Infrequent eruptions devastate whole islands. Earthquakes shake the entire archipelago. But deadliest of all are the clouds of sulphur which hang like a fog across the island of Miyakejima, trailing chaos in their wake. It?s the sort of place you?d have to be exceedingly mad or exceedingly dead to call ?home? ? yet nearly 3,000 people choose to live there, at the fringes of human endurance.

Most of their lives are spent hidden behind gasmasks. On the few occasions when the sulphur levels drop low enough for normal breathing, they?re legally required to have a mask within arm?s reach. At least a third of the island is still uninhabitable following a 2000 eruption that forced all three thousand residents to flee for five years. Even in those areas where things are almost back to normal, an air-raid siren can sound at any time, warning of approaching gas-cloud-death. Yet most islanders don?t want to leave. In fact, the opposite occurs: every year, a whole bunch of tourists show up, hoping to play out their apocalyptic fantasies.

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Clairvoyant Super-Brownlee ?expected quake?

In the same way we expect the housing market to correct itself. ?

Of course we all expected a quake. ?What a dense thing to say.

Earthquake minister Gerry Brownlee said the Christchurch shake on Sunday may have been “frightening” but was expected.

There had been no extensive injuries or deaths to his knowledge, and engineers reported little damage.

“We know there will be contents claims…we wouldn’t expect a large number of those,” he said.

“When it comes to land damage, we know that there’s been some liquefaction in the New Brighton, Parklands area…but it’s not extensive.”

The slips near Sumner area did not cause much damage either, he said. ? Read more »

Alert? Really? Sounds bad

You have just got to love our two main press outfits.

They are both carrying headlines about a “Megaquake alert”.

herald-quake stuff-quake

So should we run for the hills? I mean a 3.3 metre tsunami sounds pretty devasting.

When did this mega-quake happen? How much time do we have?

I mean the media say it’s an alert…should we be worried? ?? Read more »

Twenty one million dollars to fix Lawrence Yule’s Vanity Project


Local Government NZ Chairman and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule has a big problem on his home patch with one of his vanity projects.

The much vaunted, scarcely used and very expensive Opera House doesn’t come up to earthquake standards is now closed and fenced off.

Bringing Hastings’ earthquake-prone Opera House complex up to code could cost between $10.7 million and $21.7 million, a report has found.

Hastings District Council commissioned Holmes Consulting Group to investigate strengthening options for the city’s Municipal Building and Hawke’s Bay Opera House complex, much of which has been closed since last year when the earthquake risk was identified by engineers.

The council released the Holmes report today ahead of councillors discussing what to do with the troubled facility.

If it is to be re-opened to the public, the complex must be strengthened to a minimum of 34 per cent of current earthquake load requirements in accordance with building regulations.
The report found meeting those minimum requirements for both the Opera House and the Municipal Building was likely to cost between $10.7 million and $13.2 million.

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Officials with no skin in the game happy to risk lives

Sometimes?I?m?lost?for words?with how stupid government officials and judges can be.? After years of the historic place zealots, funded by Wellington City Council?preventing?a building owner from tearing down a dangerous building, the Environment Court has now stepped in to dream up an imaginary business case for someone else’s building.

One of central Wellington’s most historic buildings has been blocked from demolition even though it is an earthquake hazard.

The eight-storey Harcourts Building on Lambton Quay, which was built in 1928, has been declared earthquake prone and most of its major tenants have left.

Its owner, Mark Dunajtschik, says he cannot afford to strengthen the building, but after one consent hearing and three court cases he has been told he cannot demolish it.

Neither Mr Dunajtschik nor his lawyer is commenting for now. But Ian Cassels, a property developer with deep knowledge of historic buildings, said the court was making comments about the fraught world of building management that it did not understand.

The ruling is welcomed, however, by Wellington City Council.

In seeking the right to demolish, Mr Dunajtschik argued earthquake strengthening would cost $12 million, which was not worth it for a building worth just $14.5 million.

However, the court ruled an earthquake-strengthened historic building would be worth $18 to 20 million, changing the economics completely.

The?Taxpayers? Union has jumped in?pointing out that is is exactly what the Canterbury Royal Commission recommended against. ? Read more »