In my mind I am speculating whether the 200 odd missing people in Christchurch includes the 140 confirmed dead. I suspect not. ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine broadcast on Tuesday morning at about eleven o'clock our time that an earthquake had occurred in Christchurch. Who could have imagined those few simple words would usher in the disaster to unfold.
I got into a bit of an online blue with a local bloke in an email list who had lived in New Zealand, not Chch, for a few years. Essentially he was focused on what people had lost, that they even were being subjected to the indignity of digging holes in their backyards to use as latrines , and I, as a dispassionate outsider, was stressing the importance of symbolism. That is, if the cathedral can be repaired, it should be. If the tourist tram can run again, it should, and soon. Of course neither should be ahead of ensuring the restitution of basic services and housing, but creating a sense of the future, that all will return to normality is important. It creates faith and reinforces to locals that the political will is there for them. The familiar, symbolism and routine are so very important in our lives. That said, I perhaps should have been more sensitive to the pain my protagonist was feeling.
Oh, I just refreshed the New Zealand Herald website and the toll is now 145. This is truly a nightmare.
Christchurch is going to need money pumped into it, lots of money. I will guess that Chch is New Zealand's second largest city and there seems to be a little antipathy towards the largest city, Auckland. I found the latter half of this article quite interesting.
In the manner of a curate's egg, natural disasters such as Queensland and Victoria's floods, Queensland's cyclone and now Chch's earthquake can give incredible economic stimulus. Imagine the way money starts being exchanged. Imagine the employment available. People working and spending makes economies work, on local and larger levels. I very much doubt PM Key can hold true to the usual conservative mantra of lower taxes and less government involvement. Of course though, serious money has to come from somewhere. Over to you PM Key and the gnomes of Zurich.