John McCrone’s story in August 2012 in the Press is a good place to start understanding the issues. Then read Tonkin & Taylor land report. I cannot understand why Gerry Brownlee said yesterday he could not say whether land had dropped as a result of the earthquakes: shitloads of dosh involved? T&T was clear: it has.
Given Christchurch’s original flood risk, not knowing whether it had changed would involve either some pretty fundamental incompetence on the part of a lot of people or a massive cover-up. I am strangely relieved to know it’s just a massive cover-up and people have actually been checking. (ETA: Googling some of McCrone's reporting over the last year or so, I am gobsmacked that Brownlee thought he could get away with claiming this. The increased flood risk and general land subsidence appears to be extensively documented.) Not that it helps in the immediate term.
Back to the swamp: just found that most of the book treasures are dry. Yay.
The drop in the land levels is quite hard to get your head around, because it’s pretty much invisible.
See, as someone who...did a bunch of geology courses...wait, that's not as authoritative as I meant it to be...anyway, I would be *totally fucking stunned* if the earthquakes hadn't radically altered the floodplain profile in Christchurch. It's basically a drained swamp, and everything got shaken and stirred - sometimes sort of literally, where there was lots of liquefaction. But measuring all of that, charting it, re-working the risk tables...that's years of work, and it's not surprising it's pretty far down the list when they're not finished arguing about the earthquake risk in some areas.
(By the way, the expectation back when I was looking at the maps was that the big flood risk was the Waimakariri breaking its banks and doing for all the northern suburbs - like the expected "big one" for earthquakes was a magnitude 9 somewhere along the Alpine Fault. The local Heathcote valley flooding wasn't talked up much. But then, everything was 50cm higher...puts sea level rise into perspective, no?)
Electricorp Chairman the late John Fernyhough blatantly ignored being held to account in a TV interview by chanting “one in 100 years”.
Argh. A 1-in-100-year risk means *a 1% chance of happening in any given year*, not that it only happens once every hundred years. That's actually still worth planning for.
Thank you for taking the time to write this, Isabel. There's an immense feeling of helplessness all over again just seeing this on the news. I can't imagine what it's like on the ground. It's so relentless and unfair.
I do get a little grumpy at the event being called a 100 year event as if that can’t be planned for when in reality it a one in 5 event
The impression I get from the news coverage is that the *impact* is what was previously considered a 1-in-100-year level, now altered by the quakes' effect on the local geography, but the storm itself is a 1-in-5-year level of rain. I remember we had torrential downpours in May 2010 - driving rain every day, all day for a week - and I biked to work along the Avon every day without seeing any flooding. It seems like the land movement has fundamentally altered the risk profile for a lot of the city in ways that haven't yet been worked through, because everyone's still cleaning up from the quakes themselves.
It's comfort, but it's not safety. The Middle East is more relaxed about demonstration of affection between members of the same sex than the West is. It's, can I stand having my relationship constantly misread? Can I handle being assigned twin beds all the time? And it's okay if the answer is 'no'. But it's not that travelling as a pair of women is dangerous.
Fair enough; right now, I'm probably oversensitive to that sort of possibility because the whole Being Queer In Public thing is so new, and I know that I'm living in an artificially safe space. I genuinely don't have a sense of what it's going to be like when we move somewhere that's not hyper-LGBT-friendly, let alone going somewhere that is outright *un*friendly.
And yes, as Bart implied, one of the reasons we're very glad we went to Egypt now, is that it may actually get worse in future. This might be your best chance. Pure democracy would absolutely make Egypt less safe for women.
Also a consideration. The situation's so volatile there it's hard to tell what's going to happen.
I loved Jordan ... Aqaba, Wadi rum, Petra, Madaba and Jerash were all amazing enough that I could get past some of the other stuff. We accepted that my role was to be "the man" and I could fake that role as needed.
Probably the only really depressing bit of moving from a heterosexual marriage to a non-heterosexual one, for me, was going through the list of Places We Should Probably Put Off Visiting For A While (inc.: most of the Middle East.) It's not that I wouldn't love to go there, it's that there's still a whole lot of places in the world we haven't traveled that involve so much less stress about our personal safety/comfort, yanno?
And as for handing the bill to the man - well we go out to dinner fairly often and my partner has a much better palate for detecting off flavours in wine so she routinely orders the wine that we choose together. Yet about three-quarters of NZ waitstaff will a) hand the wine list to me and b) offer a taste of the wine to me regardless of who actually made the order. So that kind of mindless sexism is alive and thriving in NZ too.
My favourite story of this type is when a friend's mother took several of us - teenage uni students at the time - to a nice-ish restaurant for lunch (in Christchurch, for context). Five people at the table, one nicely-dressed middle-aged woman, four teenagers in jeans and t-shirts, and who does the bill get handed to? The only male. No reading of social cues whatsoever except for gender. Watching him panic for a second at the thought of having to pay the bill was pretty funny, though.
I suspect the IRD cares a lot about who gets the free travel ….. but that’s another issue
We're in the US, where the IRS has decided that loyalty points don't count as income. Don't know what the situation is in NZ, but I somehow doubt anyone's paying tax on FlyBuys....remember, you'd have to keep track of which were used before expiry to count the actual benefit (or tax people on points they might or might not use.) No sensible tax department is going to want anything to do with that sort of minefield for relatively small gains.
It’s not “nothing to see here” territory though. There is a boundary where too many gifts become a form of corruption.
Absolutely, but three free nights a year, when you're paying for another twenty-odd, probably isn't it.
I should have said “ many major companies”, but the same principle applies: if the company’s paying, the benefits revert to the company (and shareholders) unless – as in your wife’s case – it’s deemed as part of the package.
Mmm, maybe I should be clearer. It's not a formal part of the package. It's that no-one seems to think there is any question that the benefits (loyalty points) *would* revert to the company - it's a consultancy, so the travel is paid for out of each contract the travel is for, rather than by the company per se. Still having a hard time seeing it as a big ethical deal, though, in the "reverting to the shareholders" sense. The shareholders aren't exactly going to be using the points.
It borders, for sure. But it’s not automatic. There is perfectly sound financial reasons that have nothing more sinister in them than influencing the Mayor’s next choice of a hotel to stay in. He’s obviously a guy who spends a lot of time in hotels, so you chuck him free stuff.
More specifically, upgrades usually don't cost hotels anything, or very little directly, because they're just putting someone in a room that was otherwise empty. They usually amount to extra space and maybe nicer furnishings - from the customer's perspective there's not any actual financial benefit to having it, it just makes you feel better-inclined towards the hotel. It's not really the stuff corruption is made of.
The key issue is whether these were gained in a private capacity or in his capacity as mayor.
If the former, it’s none of anyone’s business.
If his spend with the hotel group was paid from public funds, then the accrued benefits should revert to those funds. Most major companies have ethical guidelines that require this.
Really? One of the few things that has made my wife's extensive work travel over the last year bearable is the approximately thirty bajillion hotel points she's gotten (which translate to free nights, and, yes, free upgrades for our personal travel.) Her company (and industry) definitely seems to consider that a way to partially compensate people for having to do that much travel, there's never been any question of the points reverting to the company - and in fact they couldn't, since they're associated with a loyalty account under her name. I suppose it might be different in a situation where the person gaining the points also had the final say on whether and where they traveled, but where the travel is mandated I have a difficult time seeing it as an ethical question.
He came to Wellington in the mid 1990s
My college choir, the Wellington East Girls' College Small Choir, got to sing for him, I think in the Town Hall. Nearly two decades later, when I was going to WEGC, the head of music still had us sing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika every so often during school assembly, and had a photo of him meeting the choir in the music department. It meant something more to her than I ever really understood; by the time I was old enough to know who he was, he'd stepped down as president.
I do not see those quotes as being contradictory.