Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 3, 2011

where were you?

Usually I skip over the emails from my MP.  Today, his first paragraph hit home, because it is something I have been thinking about for a few days.  The generation previous to mine all knew where they were and what they were doing when JFK was shot. For my generation, it was Princess Diana. For NZ – it will be the day Chriustchurch shook to the ground.

Wairarapa MP John Hayes (we are in the northern most end of his electorate) said:

“Most of us will go to our graves remembering where we were last Tuesday when news of the earthquake that shattered Christchurch reached us. Then the television pictures in our homes showed crumpled buildings, grieving families and rescuers working tirelessly to save lives.  It all seemed so hard to believe given the huge effort to deal with the first quake. The second quake changed so much so quickly. It reminded me of an expression I heard regularly when I was New Zealand’s High Commissioner in PNG: “Expect the unexpected”.”

I have stolen a few sentences from the rest of the email. Okay, in hindsight, here’s most of it 🙂

This event is a huge tragedy. Families in our community – and all around the country – are dealing with the loss of relatives and friends.  No words will ease the pain.  We are a small nation, and most of us have connections to Christchurch.

 The Prime Minister has promised that the Government will do whatever it takes to get Christchurch back on its feet.

 For the first time in our history, a Civil Defence National State of Emergency has been declared. This means we can make decisions very quickly about hospitals, roads, communications, and essential services such as water, power, and support for those directly affected by the earthquake.

The government’s immediate focus after the quake was to throw its weight behind the huge search and rescue effort. But we also got welfare centres up and running, contacted elderly people to check that they were OK, and used Civil Defence payments to financially support those in urgent need.

We made sure that health services in Christchurch – and throughout the country – were prepared to support those injured in the earthquake. And we accepted many generous offers of support from around the world.

And hasn’t Bob Parker done an outstanding job using his superb communication skills to keep the whole New Zealand community apprised of developments.

According to Treasury the total cost of damage from the latest earthquake is likely to be two or three times the $5 billion estimated cost of the quake on 4 September last year, including private insurance and government costs.

 He went on to say….

It is obvious that we are responding and working as one country, one people. That’s tremendous. Certainly the government is providing the sheet anchor but individuals and communities have come together and are contributing tangible help to those in need beyond our immediate area.

 There would be a huge benefit for us all if we could continue long after Christchurch is rebuilt to all paddle our waka in one direction for the collective good. I am optimistic that this terrible event in Christchurch will mark a turning point in the way we work together into the future. There is a lesson here for us all and applying the lesson would be a wonderful epitaph for all who lost their lives on 21 February 2011.

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