Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Rational science crucial to earthquake response

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Member of Parliament for Nelson

20 March 2011 Media Release
Rational science crucial to earthquake response

New Zealand must dismiss the bogus claims of people like Ken Ring who predict earthquakes and ensure future decisions on risk are made on rational science, Nelson MP and geotechnical engineer Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith today attended the New Zealand Skeptics ‘non event’ lunch at the Sign of the Kiwi tearooms on top of the Port Hills in Christchurch.

“It is reckless and irresponsible for people like Ken Ring to be speculating on the timing of future major earthquakes with no scientific basis. Cantabrians have been through enough trauma without charlatans preying on people’s natural fears,” Dr Smith said.

“I can appreciate that people are frustrated that scientists and engineers cannot give black and white assurances on if and when another major quake may occur, but false claims only make the situation worse. The best assurance that science is able to give is that the probability of another significant quake reduces with each week that passes following a major quake. The advice from GNS is the risk of a quake greater than magnitude six in Christchurch is now similar to that in Wellington and in matter of months will be less.

“Science and engineering have hugely improved the survival rate from earthquakes. The Napier earthquake of 1931 killed 256 people in Napier and Hastings out of a population of 27,000 (approximately one in 100) whereas the similar sized Christchurch earthquake is estimated to have killed 180 out of a population of 375,000 (approximately one in 2000).

“We can continue to reduce the risks and save more lives but, as the tragic events in Japan have shown, we can never eliminate all loss of life from major earthquakes. The key to reducing the risks is not in the scaremongering from the likes of Ken Ring but investing in the next generation of young scientists and engineers to improve our knowledge and understanding of earthquakes and the design of buildings and infrastructure to better withstand them.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Climate Marches: New Zealanders March For Solutions Not Pollution

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Paris more than 15,000 New Zealanders have taken part in the Peoples Climate march in Auckland, kicking off the largest climate mobilisation the world has ever seen... More>>


Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news