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Monday, February 28, 2011

New Christchurch to rise after earthquake

New Christchurch to rise after earthquake

TRACY WATKINS, KATE CHAPMAN AND GILES BROWN
Last updated 06:52 28/02/2011
 
 
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker this morning urged all New Zealanders to plan for when a big quake may strike, as the Government started to reveal how the city would be rebuilt.

The death toll from Tuesday's quake stands at 147 and police say it is likely to rise above 200.

The first funeral for a quake victim will be held today, with five-month-old Baxtor Gowland to be laid to rest this afternoon.

Parker said today the quake showed that everyone in New Zealand needed to be prepared. He said his mind turned to Wellington, which sat on the country's most well-known faultline.

Parker urged people to put aside emergency supplies and have a plan in place for what they'd do if such a disaster struck again.

THE REBUILD

Cabinet will this afternoon discuss its plans for the city, with a temporary CBD and imported housing in the mix.

Prime Minister John Key has ordered advice from Treasury on the feasibility of a quake levy, but was concerned it would dampen economic activity.

Treasury is also urgently compiling an indication of the likely cost of both quakes which Key said would probably be higher than the $14 billion floated so far.

The massive cost of rebuilding infrastructure is likely to be picked up by all taxpayers regardless.
Key said it was not "feasible or practical" for Christchurch ratepayers to shoulder 50 per cent of the cost as normal.

As many as 500 CBD buildings may be demolished, but rebuilding will not start till aftershocks stop.

Former mayor Garry Moore said Christchurch had an opportunity to build an "environmentally sound, fantastically state-of-the-art, 21st-century place that will attract the brains and the thinkers of the world. We lost a lot of our beauty and that has to be rebuilt, in a modern way."

As the city looks to its rebirth, a lucky few are celebrating the arrival of precious new life that the earthquake helped hasten.

On Tuesday morning, a midwife told Jo Blackman her baby's birth was days away. But the contractions began not long after the quake hit at 12.51pm.

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