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Quake: Day four as it happened

Published: 5:51AM Tuesday September 07, 2010 Source: ONE News/NewsTalk ZB/NZPA

Continuing live coverage of the aftermath of Saturday's massive earthquake in Canterbury throughout the day on

9.55pm: Christchurch City Council says the demolition of two buildings on Manchester St planned for today was postponed.

A demolition plan for the seven-storey Former New Zealand Express Co/MLC Building is to be developed by the owner. The two-storey Cecil House/Country Theme building no longer has a demolition notice in place and further assessment will be undertaken to determine its future.

9.36pm: 3.8 aftershock 20 km south-east of Darfield

9.26pm: 3.9 aftershock 30 km east of Darfield

9.04pm: 3.9 aftershock 10 km south of Darfield

8.58pm: The Christchurch City Council says schools and early childhood centres in Christchurch may re-open on Thursday depending on individual decisions by the Board of Trustees for each school. In the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts some schools and early childhood centres may be open from tomorrow depending on decisions made by each Board of Trustees. This updates earlier information, saying all Canterbury schools would remain closed until Monday. Parents should try to contact their own schools for specific information.

8.42pm: 3.5 aftershock 10 km north-east of Darfield

8.21pm: 3.4 aftershock 10km north-east of Darfield

8.08pm: Christchurch City Council says building evaluations are not likely to be completed until Monday 13 September, at the earliest, and essential inspections were being given priority.

There have now been 821 building evaluations completed.

Seventy percent of buildings have received a green placard, meaning the building is considered safe for its intended use. A yellow placard means the building has limited access and further structural assessment is needed - 25% of buildings have received a yellow placard. A red placard means the building is considered unsafe and further structural assessment is needed.  These buildings have generally been isolated with barriers - 5% of buildings have received a red placard.

7.06pm: The City Council says water tankers are at the following roads and locations:

- McBratneys Road
- McBratneys/Banks
- Keller/Retreat
- Kingsford
- Palmers/New Brighton
- Halberg/Porritt
- Gayhurst/McBratneys
- Linwood High School
- Avondale Retirement Home - Locksley Avenue
- Bishopdale Mall
- Brooklands Community Centre
- Banks Ave School

Residents are asked to bring their own water containers, and are reminded the water should be boiled before use.

6.54pm: 3.8 aftershock 30km south-east of Darfield.

6.29pm: 3.1 aftershock 20km south-east of Darfield.

6.25pm: Seven Christchurch libraries will reopen tomorrow. They are Bishopdale, Fendalton, New Brighton, Papanui, Shirley, South and Spreydon. The libraries have all been assessed and deemed safe to resume operations.

The Libraries' call centre, the Finger Tip Library, will open tomorrow, but with limited services.

6.19pm: 3.2 aftershock 20km south-east of Darfield

5.53pm: The Government has announced a wage subsidy for small businesses seriously disrupted by the Canterbury earthquake.

The subsidy of $350 per week will be paid to businesses with fewer than 20 employees where earthquake damage means they cannot operate and they cannot pay staff wages.

Main points of the subsidy are:
- $350 per week gross wage subsidy;
- Advance lump sum paid to employer;
- Employer can `top up' subsidy;
- Backdated to date of earthquake; and
- Firms holding insurance cover for loss of earnings will be expected to use this before accessing the wage subsidy.

5.23:pm A major supermarket chain is reassuring Canterbury customers it has all its supermarkets running as normal, apart from one.

Foodstuffs South Island says Kaiapoi New World is the only store that's closed.

Chief executive Steve Anderson says all its distribution centres are picking, dispatching and receiving stock.

4.53pm: All jury trials scheduled in Christchurch this week have been postponed because jurors were unlikely to be unavailable.

4.51pm: A new welfare centre has opened up for Selwyn District residents at the Rolleston Community Centre.

The District Council says additional centres will be opened in other locations around the district in the next 24 hours.

4.49pm: Lines company Orion says it has approximately 500 customers still without power. Most of those are served by cables one to two kilometres long that have been stretched, meaning they will have multiple breaks.

It's brought in generators to supply some of the affected customers. It says it's network remains fragile and vulnerable to after-shocks.

4:46pm: 3.5 aftershock 30km south-east of Darfield.

4.23pm: Schools and early childhood services in the Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn districts will be closed to students and children until Monday, 13 September.

Staff will be allowed back before that, subject to buildings being given safety approval.

4.18pm: Labour leader Phil Goff told parliament: "I pay tribute to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury for their resilience and courage, and readiness to look after each other and think of others whose plight is worse than their own.

"I want to pay tribute to the work of Civil Defence and emergency services, and the contractors who have made amazing efforts to help restore vital services."

3.35pm: Christchurch City Council says most of the CBD is back to normal, with businesses and services running as usual. However, a cordon remains in place in the small area bounded by Worcester Street, St Asaph Street, Colombo Street and Madras Street.

Elsewhere, buildings throughout most of the central city are safe and in working order, the council says. It said in a statement: "We encourage people to resume day-to-day activities in this area as Christchurch gets back to normal after the earthquake."

3.03pm: Christchurch's waste collection service is operating as normal despite the quake. However, collectors faces a daunting task of trying to collect rubbish from impassable roads.

Residents can help by not putting masonry, bricks, rubble and soil into their wheelie bins. This material can be dropped off at the various public transfer stations.

Contaminated food waste from supermarkets, distribution centres and other sources has to be given priority due to public health concerns.

2.42pm: PM John Key has made a statement to parliament in which he said: "It was a frightening experience for everyone, but it has proven one thing: that in the worst of times, you see the best of New Zealand. I have been impressed by the community spirit shown - from private individuals, to government agencies, NGOs, and businesses, both local and national."

He praised the local mayors for their leadership, neighbours who have taken people in, Work and Income staff who have visited or called elderly people and students who have used Facebook to round up volunteers.

2.17pm: KiwiRail has reopened the Main South Line and Midland Line in Canterbury to rail traffic after being closed this morning following strong earthquake aftershocks overnight. Track and bridges were inspected before trains were cleared to operate. The Main North Line, which has been closed between Christchurch and Rangiora as a result of track formation and bridge damage near Kaiapoi, is expected to re-open mid-afternoon today.

2:04pm: A website has been set up to help Canterbury residents access services and keep informed in the aftermath of the quake. The site contains useful numbers and weblinks to assist residents.

1:40pm: Social development minister Paula Bennett is urging any of the around 7000 elderly people living on their own in the Christchurch district to contact the government help line on 0800 77 999 7 to let the authorities know they are okay.

1.31pm: a summary of the latest information this afternoon:
The state of emergency remains in place
- Aftershocks as large as magnitude 5.4 are continuing
- A significant number of people remain in welfare centres, up to 300 last night
- Cordons remain in place around the restricted access zones in central Christchurch and Kaiapoi
- People are able to access through two checkpoints. Those people going through the cordon are being logged by police in case of evacuation
- About 2000 homes are still without power. Every dairy shed in the district now has power
- There are still 60 streets where water mains are shut off
- Testing of water supplies has begun but it will be up to two days before results are available

1.26pm: People are being asked by Red Cross to make a donation of cash not goods. A spokesman said: "Managing goods during a response to and recovery form from a civil defence emergency can be difficult and divert essential resources. It is also logistically easier to use cash donations to obtain the goods required." More information -

12.44pm: Two inner city buildings in Christchurch will be demolished later today. The exact timing is not yet known. They are:
1. The seven-storey former New Zealand Express Co building/MLC building at 160 Manchester Street on the corner of Hereford and Manchester Streets. This is a caetgory 1 New Zealand Historic Places Trust building and was built in 1906.
2. The Cecil House/Country Theme building at 68-76 Manchester Street, on the corner of St Asaph and Manchester Streets. This is a two-storey, neo-classical style building built in 1877 which is not listed by New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

12.35pm: Foodstuffs  has confirmed that all New World, Pak'nSave and Four Square stores are open except in Kaiapoi.

The chain is distributing products to stores from its distribution centre in Dunedin, while the Papanui and Hornby distribution centres are operating on a limited basis.

Loss from damage to buildings and products will run into millions, but the exact figure will take weeks to establish, the company said.

12.25pm: Aftershocks have forced police to move one of the checkpoints in the Christchurch CBD restricted zone. A building near the checkpoint on the corner of Cashel and Madras streets had become unsafe due to the ongoing tremors.

It has been moved to the corner of Manchester Street and Worcester Street.

Senior Sergeant Pete Cooper said: "I'm asking the public who are accessing the restricted zone to take care, walk in the middle of the road, and observe areas that are further fenced off. "

12.17pm: Teachers in Canterbury have called off their strike due to take place next week. The Post-Primary Teachers' Association executive has voted unanimously to exempt Canterbury from the September 15 strike to help support residents as they try to rebuild.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford said: "Exempting our Canterbury colleagues from industrial action is a way for us to help restore the community to some sort of normality." The strike will continue, as arranged, everywhere else.

12.03pm: There are growing concerns over the water supply. There are 20 cases of gastroenteritis at the Linwood welfare centre and eight at the Addington centre, reports ONE News' Max Bania.

11.30am: Rockers Metallica say they will still play in Christchurch. Fans were worried they would cancel the show but the band says its performances at the CBS Canterbury Arena - close to the epicentre of the earthquakes - will go ahead as planned on September 21 and 22.

11.00am CCTV footage of the Noel Leeming store in Moorhouse, Christchurch, has been released, of the moment the quake hit. Also some footage of one of the aftershocks. See it here.

10.44am: Labour leader Phil Goff will travel with PM John Key on an air force plane this afternoon. They will then attend a briefing in Christchurch at 5pm in a rare display of unity.

10.42am: Key says schools may be closed for longer than was thought. All schools and pre-schools in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts were closed today and yesterday.

Five schools are badly damaged and will have to close for longer. Details on the schools to come later.

10.40am: Phase two of the government response is being worked on and will be announced in Christchurch this afternoon.

It will include a wage subsidy package for workers who are not getting paid. There will also be some form of assistance grant, probably administered through WINZ, available to workers who are not getting paid. Finance Minister Bill English is talking with banks and IRD about them going easy on chasing up businesses for tax and debts.

10.38am: PM John Key has not yet told Buckingham Palace that he has cancelled his visit but he says he is sure they will understand.

10.34am: Almost 200 residents from a number of resthomes in Canterbury are being relocated over the next few days due to structural problems with the buildings and on-going problems with the water supply.

David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board said: "Despite the extra measures staff have put in place, the situation is not sustainable."

10.30am The TRN building and Clarendon Towers both have red stickers, meaning they are not safe to enter.

10:15am:  The numbers of Canterbury residents with gastroenteritis has risen. Around 12 people are in quarantine at the Addington welfare centre and there are also cases at the Linwood shelter. Mayor Bob Parker says even though most households now have a water supply, people need to boil it for three minutes before use.

10.00am: Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson will meet with others in the farming community to discuss how they can be assisted in the clean up. He'll also meet with MAF and the Rural Support Trust to set up a plan of attack for the coming days. Nicolson hopes a command post will be set up following the meeting where they can do all their planning in one place.

9.59am: Voters in a poll have given strong backing to the handling of the quake response. Among those responding so far today, 83% said the authorities have been 'excellent'. Have your vote on our NZ News page.

Note: The government helpline is 0800 77 999 7

9.53am: To help non-English speakers, the earthquake telephone helplines are now linked to a service that has professional interpreters in 40 languages. The helpline numbers are 0800 77 999 7 for information about all government services and support, 0800 611 116 for the Ministry of Health and 03 941 8999 for Christchurch City Council public information. Online information: or

9.30am: The Prime Minister has cancelled his overseas trip to concentrate on the Canterbury quake. He was due to meet the Queen in Britain and visit France.

9:20am: Police reduce the cordons surrounding Christchurch CBD. Restricted area now bounded by Colombo, Worcester, Madras and St Asaph Streets. Entry through checkpoints at Colombo and Lichfield St, and Madras and Cashel Street intersections. Staff at these checkpoints will be keeping a record of all people who enter the restricted areas.

8.57am: Aftershock of 3.6 felt at 8.14am; another of 3.4 at 8.24am.

8.50am: A group of students is travelling around Canterbury, and helping out residents affected by the quake. They will be in Kaiapoi today. Around 250 people came together after a group was set up on Facebook.

8.15am: The advice is still to boil water for 3 minutes, in a pot on the stove. Most jugs have electric cut-outs, so do not boil for 3 minutes.

8.10am: Six out of 10 Canterbury homes will need some kind of repair after the quake.

8.00am: Seismologist Dr Warwick Smith told Breakfast there is a general rule that the biggest aftershock is one magnitude unit less than the main shock, so Canterbury could be looking at a magnitude 6.

7.40am:  The welfare centre at Burnside High School is closed this morning - it's been damaged in aftershocks. People staying there will be given the choice of re-locating to the main welfare centre at Addington Raceway. There was an increase in the number of people staying in the welfare centres overnight. Linwood welfare centre had 105 people, Addington another 145 and 71 people stayed at the Burnside welfare centre.

7.39am: Overnight aftershocks have opened up fresh cracks in Christchurch's domestic airport terminal. The terminal was closed briefly this morning but airport spokesman Gareth Owen says it's now back up and running.

7.13am: From 7am today, the cordoned-off area extends to Gloucester Street in the North, St Asaph Street in the South, Cambridge Terrace in the West and Madras Street in the east. 
There are only two points by which vehicles may enter the cordon:
 - North of Cathedral Square at the corner of Gloucester and Colombo.
- South of Cathedral Square at the corner of St Asaph and Colombo.
Within this cordon, people can move around relatively freely but there remain areas and streets that are completely off-limits to the public due to the danger of falling buildings (e.g. Manchester St between Worcester and Gloucester).

7.05am: Bob Parker is calling on locals to refrain from driving around Christchurch to look at the path of destruction left by Saturday's earthquake. Police say there have been some car accidents, and instances where people are removing road cones and safety barriers to see damaged areas. The mayor says it makes it a lot tougher for authorities to move around the city to do their job.

7.00am: Hirepool is bringing in porta-a-loo toilets from across the country as Christchurch struggles with the sewage problem. Kaiapoi and New Brighton are the suburbs most affected.

6.39am: Metro buses and ferry services are operating today. from the first service. The only exceptions are school services and routes 51 and 480. Passengers should refer to the Metro website for further information.  

6.30am: Civil defence rescue manager John Buchan says 670 buildings in the CBD have been inspected by engineers. Teams have also been to 12-hundred homes throughout the city, and will continue working through the suburbs today, starting in Brooklands.

6.10am: Strong aftershocks that shook the city overnight meant the inner-city cordon that has kept the public out of the city centre, could not be reduced to the extent initially planned. It will still relax at 8am, with Cathedral Square and Colombo Street reopening.

5:56am: The following quakes have been recorded since midnight. 4.7 at 12:21am; 3.9 at 12.51am; 3.1 at 2.52am; 3.7 at 3.14am; 5.4 at 3.24am; 3.5 at 4.17am; 3.9 at 5.14am

5:55am: NewsTalk ZB is broadcasting out of Jason Gunn's Production Company building, after the ZB building was closed yesterday.

5.53am: Christchurch will have a showery day, a high of 15 degrees.

5.50am: Male prisoners will be moved around the city this morning out of the central prison. The prison itself is not damaged, but water pressure may not be effective in event of a fire, so they are being moved for their safety.

How do rate the authorities' response to the quake? Have your say on the messageboard below .

Click here for yesterday's live updates.

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  • musopete said on 2010-09-10 @ 12:47 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Go the Kiwi battler! Hold ya heads high.

  • Australianne said on 2010-09-10 @ 11:40 NZDT: Report abusive post

    2nd that about the light is difficult to read. Just wanted to say I'm so proud of NZers for the way in which they've pulled together in such a uniquely Kiwi way. No other country (even Australia) comes close to that! Well, maybe Australia comes close, but still, Kiwis lead the world in their kind-hearted attitude in the face of disaster.

  • H said on 2010-09-10 @ 10:24 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Would love to comment but the comments are displayed on this website in such a tiny, light coloured font that they're virtually unreadable.

  • SSAMA said on 2010-09-10 @ 07:38 NZDT: Report abusive post

    CD has done a great job in difficult circumstances - difficult to get up to date info to people without power. Website I have found most useful for info is the TVNZ live updates - great that it is updated regularly and the info is generally accurate. Well done TVNZ

  • Australianne said on 2010-09-09 @ 20:31 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Given that TVNZ is probably a world leader in their ability to keep us all informed after the earthquake, CD has done an ok job. But note, that is 'ok', not 'wonderful'. CD should link up with TVNZ and learn how to get that info out in a timely manner! This is more a pat on the back to TVNZ than having a go at CD. I'm sure they have lots of other duties keeping them busy. Keep it up guys. Well done.