As the Member of Parliament for the electorate that has been the hardest hit by the recent Earthquakes in Christchurch, I wish to pay tribute to the communities throughout New Zealand that have offered support to my constituents in Christchurch East.
The first Earthquake (on September 4, 2010) brought hardship but at least we could say that no-one died.
But we cannot say so this time. The second Earthquake (on February 22, 2011) has left many people dead and injured.
People who were already reeling from the reality of the first quake were delivered a second blow.
Just over six months from the devastation of liquefaction and lateral spreading, (terms I did not know before September 4), with many still awaiting the outcome of their insurer’s decision as to whether their house was to be repaired or rebuilt, Mother Nature struck again.
The media asked me whether this was a rich vs poor suburb response, but I said that Nature did not respect income; it hammered the East, whether the house was a mansion or a Housing New Zealand rental.
We have a Tale of Two Cities, simply because of the nature of the damage that has been caused.
My own house has been without power, water and sewerage for two weeks now and it is hard; but so much harder for parents with children and for those whose wider family circle is in the same boat.
In fact, I don’t think I could do this if I had children to care for.
We have all been shaken by the enormity of this Earthquake, but what inspires us to carry on is the support that we have received from communities throughout New Zealand.
The generosity of Kiwis is legendary and this crisis has produced nothing different.
It will always be the human spirit evident within the damaged suburbs and the outside help that we have received that will provide the enduring memory of this difficult time.
The multi-ethnic communities have stepped up to the plate as true Kiwis and have earned our heartfelt thanks for all that they are doing to make a difference.
Lianne Dalziel is elected Member of Parliament from Christchurch East and Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Commerce, Small Business Regulatory Reform and Electoral Reform and Associate Spokesperson for Justice.