I hadn’t been into one of Christchurch’s Malls for some time, I had also heard too that many people were deliberately avoiding them as well. Lynn my daughter, like many here won’t venture into them, or any buildings that have glass ceilings since her recent experience with the earthquakes. Anyway yesterday I took my life into my hands and entered the Northlands Shopping Mall. What a shock was in store for me. There were so many people inside, all shopping or dining in the food court and clearly they weren’t at the least bothered, Actually it was hard to move about, impossible to get a seat in the food hall. This is not right I thought. Clearly these people have no inhibitions whatsoever about shopping in this environment. On examination, I was able to work out that most of the extra folk who were taking up all the dining space, were mainly teenagers. It wasn’t until it was explained to me by the checkout operator, that this was changeover time for the schools close by. Here In many cases, where one School has been damaged. Two Schools are now sharing the one set of buildings. The shifts change at about one or two o’clock in the afternoons. And how many students are involved in this Earth Quake solution I don’t know, but without a doubt, there were some thousands of kids wandering around the Northland Mall. Which they were clearly now treating as their campus. Certainly from my observation, there were many thousands involved.

The Eastern suburbs of Christchurch have problems of their own. Their rolls of the primary school students are down by 30% to 40% due to folk that have upped stakes and left the area. Many of the homes in these suburbs were rented or owned by the Government or perhaps Council. Many more too are badly damaged with liquefaction, and uninhabitable meantime. These folk are making do with Porta Loos or Chemical Toilets which is not very convenient, but what they will have to put up with until the Council can get the sewage system up and running again. What is going to happen to these areas in the future, is largely a matter of,now, wait and see?.

The University too is undergoing problems too, because access is still being denied to many of their buildings on their campus. Until they are inspected or rendered safe, access is being denied. To enable students to keep up with their lectures, a tent city has been erected on vacant or clear areas within their Campus, So many of the students are now studying under canvas. As well, some lectures are being put onto the Web, from where students can download. Roger who is employed by the University, he had planned to broadcast lectures on a redundant TV channel here in Christchurch, but so far the authorities haven’t taken his offer up

As if we haven’t had enough trouble, there is another dark cloud on the horizon and that’s the Insurance Company AMI who write about a third of all Christchurch’s Business Domestic and Motor Vehicle Insurance. The initial quake took care of most of their invested funds, as well as a good portion of the he reinsurance monies. To cover claims for the second quake, it would seem the well is now nearly empty, Unless the company can get a Government guarantee to buy reinsurance, the company is exposed and in real trouble. Personally I’m not all that worried, as I’m sure that the initial $100,000 which is the current QCD payout limit, will more than cover any damage to my home even if I have to replace the bricks. II also think the Government will underwrite the Insurance Companies as they did with the Finance Companies, if it’s time they require to trade their way out of their problem. The consequence of not assisting, would be catastrophic, and certainly deny the Government any chance of re-election.

One thing that is certain in the future the levy we all pay out to the Earthquake Commission for the whole of New Zealand is about to double. After what happened here, it must keep the authorities awake at night with the thought. ‘Should Murphy’s Law kickin’, which is,possible, and the same happens to Wellington or Auckland, that has happened here. They must be prepared. Also there must be a way of including he clowns, who don;t, or won’t, pay any insurance. At least get some earthquake cover, which is very cheap.

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