Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Make NZ cities disaster resilient now, UC geologist says

Make NZ cities disaster resilient now, UC geologist says

February 21, 2013

New Zealand cities must capitalise on Christchurch's earthquake experience if they are to make themselves more resilient to natural disasters, University of Canterbury (UC) geologist Dr Mark Quigley said today.

Speaking at the Royal Society in Wellington last night as part of the National Library's Big Data discussion series, Dr Quigley said the post-disaster awareness bubble created by the earthquakes was shrinking.

He said costly mistakes such as the development of flood and liquefaction prone parts of eastern Christchurch in the 1990s and early 2000s were examples of 'what could continue' if the public did not seek a deeper understanding of the Christchurch experience.

``If councils yield to developers and allow vulnerable land to be zoned and built upon and insurance companies are willing to come to the party then people will buy there, regardless of the risk.

``This is a major psychological and financial risk that people take, commonly because the consequences of relatively infrequent but potentially catastrophic events are not really thought about.’’

Dr Quigley called on New Zealanders to move from a generalised awareness that natural disasters such as earthquakes occur to a more specific understanding of how such events could impact on them personally and financially.

``We all know about earthquakes, but is it possible that we could get a rock fall event in our backyard that could bury our house? Is our home or workplace up to the building code? How vulnerable are our buried lifelines? Will we be without sewerage, water, power and internet for weeks after an earthquake, such as many people in eastern Christchurch went through?"

Dr Quigley said parts of Wellington and Lower Hutt were areas where extensive liquefaction could be expected to sever buried lifelines in an earthquake.

He urged ``everyday people’’ to pressure authorities to act proactively to deal with these issues before earthquakes, rather than after.

Research suggested the cost of strengthening buildings before a major event is less expensive then demolishing and rebuilding after it. He said proactive lifeline remediation and protection, stricter building code enforcement and careful land use planning were important components of increasing resilience before earthquakes.

``The inconvenience and expense of fixing our Victorian sewers in liquefaction prone areas now, for instance, pales in comparison to the personal, financial, health and environmental costs of waiting for the disaster to eventuate.’’

Dr Quigley will deliver a keynote address at the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand conference in Christchurch today.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

What Winter? Temperature Records Set For June 20-22

The days around the winter soltice produced a number of notably warm tempertaures. More>>

Conservation Deal: New Kākāpō Recovery Partnership Welcomed

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the new kakapo recovery partnership between DOC and Meridian Energy is great news for efforts to save one of New Zealand’s most beloved birds. More>>

ALSO:

Tech Sector Report: Joyce Warns Asian Tech Investors View NZ As Hobbits And Food

Speaking in Wellington at the launch of a report showcasing the value of the technology sector to the New Zealand economy, Joyce said more had to be done to tell the country's technology stories overseas. More>>

ALSO:

Mediaglommeration: APN Gets OIO Approval For Demerger Plan

APN News & Media has received Overseas Investment Office approval for its plan to split out its NZME unit ahead of a potential merger with rival Fairfax Media's New Zealand operations. More>>

New Paper: Ninety-Day Trial Period Has No Impact On Firms' Hiring

The introduction of a 90-day trial period has had no impact on hiring by New Zealand companies although they are now in widespread use, according to researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Exits Equity Stake, Remains As Operator

Serco has sold its equity stake in the company that holds the contract to design, build and run Wiri Prison in South Auckland but continues as sub-contractor to operate the facility. More>>

GDP: NZ Economy Grows Faster-Than-Forecast 0.7%

New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the first quarter of 2016 as construction expanded at the quickest rate in two years. The kiwi dollar jumped after the data was released. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news