On the 14th of November at 12:02am many New Zealanders we woken by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake centred near Kaikōura. While most of us haven’t been directly affected by the full force of the quake it is likely that you have all felt some form of shaking, received civil defence warnings or seen the destruction on the evening news. In the days since the initial severe earthquake struck, a number of communities have experienced ongoing aftershocks. For those directly affected, this has brought concern for the well-being of loved ones, and distress for those experiencing damaged homes or businesses. In situations like these, it is important people really do know the rest of the country is behind them.
An earthquake occurs when there is a sudden movement of the earth’s crust releasing seismic waves of energy. This earthquakes power, 32 quadrillion joules of energy, was on par with the energy release of 400 atomic bombs detonating. To put this in perspective, the same amount of energy could power all of New Zealand for over three months. The Kaikōura quake released 180 times the energy of the tragic 2011 earthquake – we are very fortunate that most were safely tucked up in bed and not walking the streets. While the damage above ground is easy for us to visualise what many people fail to take into account is the damage to the pipes and cables below the surface that need to be urgently repaired for life in effected communities to return to some normality, and the ongoing effects to local economies that will still be impacted long after the television crews have rolled out of town. Thanks to the choices and decisions made by the National-led government over the years we have a strong, growing economy and out public finances are very healthy. This means that when unexpected disasters strike we are in a position to support those who are in need and get the country back on track. Affected communities, and indeed all New Zealanders, can be assured New Zealand is well placed to respond to challenges posed by the natural environment. Todd Muller MP for Bay of Plenty