Statement on Canterbury earthquake disaster, February 2011
Byron Clark, Christchurch branch organiser for Workers Party
The public consultation for the rebuild of central Christchurch – done though a combination of public meetings and the web 2.0 ‘Share an Idea’ website has thrown up some great plans. The summary of submitted transport ideas outlines a walkable central city with greater cycle facilities, integrated public transport with a central hub, and surprisingly for a city with one of the worlds highest car ownership rates, talk of a car-free central business district like some European cities are heading toward. Is that what’s going to happen though? Architect Ian Athfield who was appointed the city’s architectural ambassador after the September 4 earthquake, has told The Press that his bottom line for the rebuild was “no one-way streets and no unnecessary buses through the city”. Mayor Bob Parker said he has”lots of sympathy” for Athfield’s view.
Continue reading “Class imbalance will determine nature of Christchurch recovery”
To local and international friends, supporters, and readers,
Yesterday, February 22, an immense earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand’s third largest city. Currently there are 55 confirmed dead, 20 unidentified bodies, and an estimated 300 missing. The quake occurred at 12.50pm and was followed shortly after by a major aftershock.
This is the second major earthquake to strike Christchurch in 5 months. This more recent quake – 6.3 – in magnitude was far more destructive than the last, as it occurred only 10 Km south of
Christchurch at the shallow depth of 5 Km. It happened during the lunch hour of a working week day which has compounded human suffering and trauma.
As well as injury and loss of life there has been major damage to buildings, houses, and infrastructure. Soil liquefaction has damaged roads and transport. Originally there was an estimated 80% loss of power, as of mid-day today the estimate is now 50%. Currently three quarters of the city has no water. Phone lines and signal towers have also been wrecked or severely damaged. The Canterbury television building completely collapsed and has been one of the focal points for rescue efforts. There is concern that the Hotel Grand Chancellor- the tallest building in Christchurch – may still collapse from extreme buckling. The township of Lyttleton was at the epicenter of the earthquake and was extensively damaged.
Continue reading “Workers Party statement on Canterbury earthquake disaster Wednesday February 23, 2011”
The Spark October 2010
reprinted from Beyond Resistance*
While the dust settles and Christchurch recovers from the 7.1 earthquake, people have begun to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives. But for many working class people this is not so easy. Those most affected by ‘natural disasters’ – whether by the tsunami in the Pacific, earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Christchurch, NZ – are those already on the margins of despair.
As the impact of the quake became known we saw the authorities rush to ‘lock down’ the CBD, and after a short time brought in the military in a quasi ‘martial law’ scenario. With the aid of the corporate media and using the odd collapsed and damaged building as a backdrop, a sensational picture was painted of a city in ruins. Their reports were far from helpful – heavily recycling dramatic images while providing little concrete advice and information for those of us on the ground. Continue reading “Amongst the Rubble: a look at the Christchurch Earthquake from the Bottom Up”
A Wellington street collection was made today for low paid worker victims of the Christchurch earthquake.
Brass Razoo solidarity band played while Workers Party and Trades Hall action group members leafleted and collected.
To the waving of Unite flags and the tune of the Internationale, $508.80 was raised in 40 minutes.
Additional donations can follow this to Christchurch Unite union office account at 03 0675 0423909 000 Westpac.