Despite all the pain and sadness in Christchurch, I couldn’t help a smile when I came across this sponsored link while researching last night:
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This picture is from the September earthquake but is the only one I could find that shows together, the two men who have been exhibiting great leadership since 1250 yesterday afternoon…on the left, Mayor Bob Parker, and beside him, Prime Minister, John Key. I don’t follow Christchurch politics that closely and my main experience pre-quakes of Bob Parker is of many years ago when he was a top game show host. Certainly in the last six months, he has displayed that he definitely has other attributes as well…
In John Key, New Zealand is lucky to have a leader (in all senses of the word) fit to fill Helen Clark’s shoes, after a long line of rather lack-lustre prime ministers dating back into the early 80s…Rob Muldoon and before him, Norman Kirk were the last real leaders we had from back then. The PM addressed the nation at 1130 and, as I commented at the time, I don’t know if John Key writes his own material or not, but these are great words very well delivered…
Today I want Christchurch to hear this message:
You will get through this.
This proud country is right behind you and we are backing you with all our might.
The world is with us.
Our Australian neighbours, our British and American friends, the great countries of this world, all are putting their shoulder to your wheel. They are sending their support, their expertise, their people to help us.
Christchurch, today is the day your great comeback begins.
Though your buildings are broken, your streets awash, and your hearts are aching, your great spirit will overcome.
While nature has taken much from you, it can not take your survivor’s spirit.
This devastating event marks the beginning of a long journey for your city.
It will be a journey that leads us from ruins and despair to hope and new opportunities. From great hardship will come great strength.
It will be a difficult journey, but progress is certain, things will get better, Christchurch will rise again.
Full text [PDF: John Key Chch speech 23 Feb 2011 ]
On leadership at the other end of the scale, my old mate, Dusty from Signals Platoon days in Burnham (from which I have many many fond memories of Christchurch, less of Aylsebury Road though…more of those perhaps in a night or two) was in the Square when the quake hit yesterday and his first-hand account is on his blog today…Another day another disaster [PDF: SecurityNZ_ Another day another disaster! ]…I don’t necessarily agree with his thoughts on Civil Defence screw-ups but we’re sorta at opposite ends of the scale on that one, Dusty’s always been the ‘dive in, boots’n’all’ sort and I’ve been more concerned with trying to blend all sorts of disparate and often conflicting information into a coherent picture…I dare say I’ll hear from him soon if I got that wrong but as I commented on his Facebook page, yesterday he did the old ONWARDs proud…
The NZ Herald has a page on which it publishes regular updates on Christchurch…it reads like a tragic diary…this is one of the best ways to keep tabs on what happening down there… [PDF: Christchurch quake timeline 23 Feb 2011 ]
Last night I chatted to a friend who commented that it was good to see the good press for the much (but unfairly) maligned HMNZS Canterbury which had been in Lyttleton during the earthquake and which was able to provide immediate assistance to the people of Lyttleton while offloading its cargo of soldiers and LAVs to assist Police efforts. A number of civilians also over-nighted in Canterbury’s medical facility while being treated for injuries from the quake. A comment was made that at least our amphibious vessel was able to assist our civil defence efforts unlike the three RAN vessels which are tied up with rust.
Thus it was interesting to read this commentary on the Australia-New Zealand relationship when it popped into the inbox this morning…The Kiwi as puny predator – the author does so well right up to his last two paragraphs…
Whenever the talk turns to taking trans-Tasman integration further, such symbols are placed on the table. On the economic front, Wellington confronts the free rider dilemma – the ride is never really free. It’s a matter of what you’re prepared to sacrifice. In a column for the New Zealand Herald, Fran O’Sullivan pondered the costs NZ is already paying: ‘The steady drain of our talent to Australia in search of greater opportunities and higher wages coupled with the remorseless transformation of New Zealand into a branch economy has a price.’
To take the next economic steps, the Kiwis are going to have to embrace more of the Australian part of the term ‘Australasian’. The choices are tough. They don’t have to surrender the All Blacks, but what price the New Zealand dollar?
Sorry, buddy, but you presume too much…just as we declined Australia coming aboard as the province of West New Zealand, we think we might hold off on your plastic play money as well for a while…bigger’s not necessarily better and once you’ve sold off all your minerals to China, we don’t want to get caught in the subsequent vacuum when the hollowed-out cavern under what was mainland Australia implodes. True, Tasmania will survive, but like you, we don’t really want it either…
Josh tells me that this ‘I support New Zealand and anyone else playing Australia’ thing is called Segmentary Opposition and that he came across the term in an interesting Massey project he’s involved in – more to follow on that soon…I researched Segmentary Opposition…OK, I didn’t, I googled it and enough of the hits looked interesting enough to be worth some time in the next month or so…