OPINION: Learning quake lessons


When we experience disaster, we can always learn lessons – what did we do well and what didn’t we do so well?

It’s vital that we do this, and as a council, we are always putting the spotlight on what happened after every such experience. If we don’t look at what actually happened, then we could keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

City council mayor Lianne Dalziel

There have been many reports done on aspects of what happened before, during and after the earthquakes. But they haven’t been brought together.

The previous Government was all set to go on a symposium, but like the earthquakes themselves, it was to occur in an election year. There was a genuine concern that it could be written off as a Government-sponsored, election year, whitewash if it only looked at the things that went well.

The reality is that we often learn more from mistakes; the things that we wouldn’t want to be repeated. And that’s why it’s vital that we look back, not to blame, but to understand, and we need to be prepared to say what went wrong.

This Government has agreed to work collaboratively with the city council on the Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery Symposium and the workshops that will lead up to it, which means we will be sharing the costs.

A lot of the city council’s share will be ‘in kind’ support, and the full amount will be disclosed when known.

If we don’t do this well, then there is a risk that future governments will make the same mistakes, which would mean the costs could be much greater, and I’m sure no-one would want that to be our legacy.