North Island slow-slip follows South Island quake

There has been a lot evidence of land movement during and after what is now referred to as the M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake – it was initially said to be centred close to Culverden and Geonet still shows it as ’15 km north-east of Culverden’ (Kaikoura is about four times further away).

It is thought that the initial quake caused a chain reaction along other fault lines in the South Island, and Wellington was also affected.

Geonet has now revealed that since this movement happened there has been a ‘slow slip’ occurring further north, along the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne coast. Slow slips have been detected there before but only after North Island earthquakes.

Today Geonet posted on Coastal Uplift: How has the Kaikoura Coastline Changed which shows the extent of land movement over a large area of the South island.

Much of the northeastern coast of the South Island was uplifted during the 14th of November 2016 earthquake. We know this from photos of rock platforms covered in seaweed and marine animals such as crayfish and paua stranded above tide levels.

Our records measured the tide gauge at Kaikoura was lifted up by 1 m, and continuous GPS monitoring sites at Kaikoura and Cape Campbell were also raised by 0.7-0.9 m. At this stage we can estimate that the coast was raised between 0.5 m and 2 m from about 20 km south of Kaikoura all the way north to Cape Campbell.

The startling uplift of ~5.5 m at Waipapa Bay is a localised block pushed up between two traces of the Papatea Fault and is thankfully not representative of the whole coastline.

There was greater horizontal movement, reported to up to 10 metres in places. All those ground movement happened along a long stretch of coastline up the north east of the South Island.


Uplift and horizontal movement happened on a long stretch of coastline up the north east of the South Island.

Also today Geonet posted Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay slow-slip event follows M7.8 Kaikoura Quake

GPS stations have detected a slow-slip event under the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions in the days following the Kaikoura M7.8 Earthquake.

These silent earthquakes or slow-slip events are undetectable by both humans and GeoNet’s seismographs. They can move faults the equivalent of magnitude 6+ earthquakes over a period of weeks to months, without any detectable shaking.

The ongoing slow-slip event off the North Island’s east coast has moved some GPS stations up to 2-3 centimetres.

So far. It’s only a week since the M7.8

This movement is similar to what has been observed in previous East Coast slow-slip events over the last 15 years, so is not necessarily abnormal. We see events in this area usually every 1-2 years.

We have also observed other slow-slip events happening in response to large earthquakes.

The last slow-slip event offshore of Gisborne followed the Te Araroa earthquake in September 2016 (related GeoNet story

A slow-slip event also occurred following the 2007 M6.7 Gisborne earthquake.

But this time the slow-slip began after a more distant quake.

It is possible that passing seismic waves from the M7.8 earthquake caused stress changes that triggered the slow slip event. GNS Science and GeoNet and scientists are keeping a close eye on the event as it evolves.

So the Culverden quake may have triggered the Kaikoura and Seddon quakes (and three other fault line breaks), nudged across Cook Strait to Wellington and may rearranged stresses enough up the east coast of the North Island to start the slow-slip.


This instability covers a large area in which many of New Zealand’s significant earthquakes have occurred.


The initial Culverden quake was on the Hope fault line which reaches back to the top of the Alpine Fault where it breaks apart into Marlborough’s mess of mountains.

Also today Geonet updated it’s statistics based scenarios and forecasts which includes the probability of aftershocks:

  • 99% M6.0-6.9  in the next year (89% within 30 days)
  • 38% >=M7 in the next year (20% within 30 days)

There is no way of knowing, if another large quake occurs, where it would be. There is a lot of uncharted territory here.

What to do about it?

If you feel an earthquake:

Don’t run outside, many injuries are caused by things falling from buildings. Beware of breaking glass.

And if you are close to sea level near the coast don’t wait for a knock on your door or a warning siren, move inland or to higher ground.

And hope that the slow-slip eases the pressure gradually so nothing major gives suddenly.

Phil Twyford responds on Gisborne-Napier rail

It’s good that some MPs respond to requests for clarification as Phil Twyford has done here.

1.       We are pretty confident a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis would justify keeping the line open now, and likewise re-opening it. However if the costs of re-opening massively blow out between now and when we are elected then we would have to take another look at it.

2.       Under MMP all political promises have to be seen in light of the need to win majority support for them. You will know the Greens are also committed to re-opening the line.

3.       There are good indications local horticulture, and more importantly forestry, will deliver an increase in freight that may over time get volumes up to the break point identified  by BERL. Obviously the success of the line depends on local businesses stepping up.

4.       This debate is to some extent about what you mean by ‘unprofitable’. Kiwirail applies a narrow financial sense of profitablility to justifiy mothballing the line. If you applied this logic to the country’s roads you would have to close half of them. Labour believes a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis is more sensible. With this kind of infrastructure decision you need to be extremely cautious about destroying a sunk asset and closing off future options.


Phil Twyford
Member of Parliament for Te Atatu

Labour Party Spokesperson on Transport, Auckland Issues, Associate Environment Spokesperson

My comments on this:

  1. Sounds reasonable. That in effect makes the pledge to reopen the line a pledge to seriously look at reopening the line and do so if cost-benefits stack up.
  2. That’s a practical view on how policy pledges work – nothing is guaranteed until coalition agreements have been negotiated, and sometimes individual policy support is subsequently negotiated.
  3. Quadrupling freight volumes is a huge hurdle, especially if reliant on “local businesses stepping up”.
  4. I think this needs a lot more discussion. Labour have also talked about taking account of wider costs including social costs in relation to the closure of Hillside Workshops. Changing the current business-like models for SOEs like Kiwirail would be a major shift for Government, and their would be significant issues to resolve, for example how to prevent ad hoc political interference in the running of SOEs, or whether ministers can have any say on the operation of SOEs.

Labour’s promise to reopen Gisborne-Napier rail line

Labour’s Phil Twyford has issued a statement on the Gisborne-Napier rail line that has been cut off by a major slip.

Labour pledges to re-open rail line

Labour in government will re-open the Gisborne-Napier rail line due to be closed under National, the party’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

A clear promise to reopen the line.

“KiwiRail’s business case for the closure is utterly inadequate and falls way short of a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, something a Labour government would carry out and which I am confident would justify the line’s re-opening,” Phil Twyford said.

A promise based on inadequate information and prior to a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.  Labour have pledged to reopen the line regardless of what costs and benefits are determined.

“The line should be reinstated now for $4 million. It will never be cheaper. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it will be to re-open it.

It won’t be reinstated now. It will take time for Labour to do a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, so even if they get back into government after the 2014 election by the time they reopen it the cost will be an unknown amount higher.

And if Labour do lead the next Government they will be in a coalition witgh Greens, plus possibly NZ First and the Maori Party. So they would need to get possibly several parties agree to reopen the line.

So this isn’t a pledge that can be taken as a genuine promise.

Mr Twyford said the BERL report noted annual freight volumes only needed to reach 180-200,000 tonnes per year for the line to be profitable. Current volumes of 44,000 tonnes showed that growth from local horticulture and forestry would bring the target within reach and this would justify future re-opening.

Current volumes are about a quarter what the BERL report says would be required to make the line profitable. That means volumes would have to increase FOUR TIMES for it to be profitable.

Tywford either thinks volumes can be quadrupled (he doesn’t say how) or he doesn’t think it is necessary for the line to be profitable – that means it would be a substantially taxpayer subsidised rail link, on top of the cost of reopening the line.

I’ll ask Phil Twyford to clarify.

Patriotism in action

Guest column by Martin Gibson, as published in Gisborne Herald, Saturday 28 April.

As I listened to the Last Post echo across the rivers I wondered about the best way to be patriotic these days.

Not some elite-approved token patriotism of watching sport, or boorish jealous hassling of our Australian brothers in arms, but action, effort and sacrifice for the idea of New Zealand, and kinship with those who live here.

What would those East Coast Diggers, sailors and airmen have wanted us to do besides turn up at the Cenotaph on Anzac Day to remember them?

When it comes to asking questions about what the veterans we honour on Anzac Day would want of us, I have an advantage, because my neighbour survived WW2.

When I asked him what he thought was the best way for us to be patriotic, he scratched his head, then said it was probably for people to appreciate freedom by standing up for it, even if it’s someone else’s welfare or freedom.

“It’s so easy for us to live in our own bubbles, watch the telly and just think of ourselves. We need to get out of our bubbles and help each other . . . I reckon that’s pretty patriotic,” he said.

The growing crowds of young people at cenotaphs each Anzac Day suggest a desire to follow the example of those men and women who had courage, sacrifice and selflessness extracted from them by the time of their birth.

We know that, by contrast, our time allows cowardice to go mostly undetected. It favours the greedy and fosters the belief that individuals are more important than the health of society.

In our hearts we know this will never bring the best out of us individually or as a community.

Is it possible to get some of the benefit of wartime without the conflict, futility and waste?

We need to keep sifting the wheat from the chaff in terms of the legacy of war, because war is hell.

Servicemen who returned bristling with the tapu of Tu brought wars back into our homes, where they continue to rage even today, spilling out into our streets in gangs and schools, killing and wounding.

Heavy drinking is handy for someone trying to briefly erase horrible memories, but the behaviour of heroes was followed by generations after.

We do not honour our veterans by ignoring the mental and spiritual illness they brought back and in many cases spread around.

As I walked home from the dawn parade, I passed the council chambers and army hall. I stopped a while and thought about the young men who had once stood there.

I imagined them waiting to sign up, trying to appear brave, hands often calloused from building our houses and shops, clearing bush and building fences in the hills around the East Coast. Some barely out of primary school. Excited by how life was about to veer from dull hard work to meaning, heroism, history, adventure. Away from Gisborne, out of Te Tairawhiti to see the world and be tempered in the fires of war!

Perhaps it is that willingness to serve we should begin to honour, rather than bad luck in the roll of the dice, the drop of the bomb, the sweep of the machine gun, or an unexpected talent for killing.

This way we can also honour those who did not see combat, including the women left to do the work, raise the kids and cope with the loss.

We can look with equanimity at those who refused to go and often suffered worse.

Each year, more and more young people turn up to the cenotaphs, signalling the will to step up and serve also evident in Canterbury’s Student Army after last year’s quakes.

Rather than despairing of our young people, it is time we offered them their own testing missions with meaning.

Whether they are combating hunger, declaring war on pests, defending treeless rivers, rescuing polluted water, here or overseas, they deserve some well-organised, well-resourced heroic missions that may echo down the generations to come.

If we can find the will to act decisively without being forced to act, our great advantage is that we can pick our battles, and these have the potential to leave us with more leaders and heroes, not fewer.

Turn on the light . . .in Gisborne, around the country

Marty Gibson’s column from the Gisborne Herald (in full with permission). Much of this applies around New Zealand.

Turn on the light . . .

Like the rest of the universe, Gisborne has dark matter and dark energy.

Physicists assume 83 percent of matter and 23 percent of energy in the universe is “dark” because they can’t explain gravity using the matter and energy they can detect.

Here on the East Coast, stuff we don’t see or talk about is often the difference between how life in a beautiful fertile sunny seaside land like the East Coast could be . . . and how it actually is.

I’m no physics expert, but I have done some considerable thinking about our region’s dark matter. As I walk the streets and supermarkets, I can feel it. I dream about how great this place would be if we enlightened our dark places.

Here is my incomplete list of the dark energy I notice as it drags this region away from fulfilling its promise as a happy, healthy place of abundance and harmony:

1. Separation : whether it is between religious denominations, Maori tribes, left/right, rich/poor, brown/white, locals/outsiders, town/country, men/women, young/old, police/potheads. The push toward tribalism instead of universal “I’m OK, you’re OK” fellowship gets us competing when we would get more done co-operating. Clannish separation is the negative side of pride. It blocks compassion and causes good people to nurture hate in their hearts.

2. Wilful ignorance: one possible reaction to our mortality and inability to fully understand life is to regard simplistic ideas and slogans as reality. Humbleness is a healthier approach, with focus on things we can know and change, including our history and future.

3. Sheep in wolves’ clothing: we often have bureaucrats where leaders should be. Chairing a committee or board for years isn’t the same as having a vision, making positive change, nurturing new leadership then moving to a new challenge. Clambering up a party list or on to a gravy train then sticking to it like a paua isn’t leadership, even if we occasionally benefit from your career.

4. Violence: like suicide, violence is usually the least creative response to a problem. We should not accept its rotten presence as it stinks the peace and joy out of this beautiful place. Whether violence is directed at animals, children, men or women, it’s time we stopped justifying and celebrating staunch posturing and bullying.

5. Bouncing cash: a lot of money that comes into the region leaves in the next transaction. If it went through three times as many hands before heading back out of town we would be better off — even more so if it were not borrowed. If it gets easier to start a profitable business or buy local food and fuel, our region will thrive.

6. Inefficiency: non-accountability, cheap energy, and other people’s money have fertilised our inefficiency. Trucking polystyrene concrete and organic waste to landfills out of the district is inefficient. A person receiving less money when they work because of Working for Families is inefficient. Trying to teach hungry kids is inefficient. Allowing young people to drift into addiction and gangs is inefficient. Unhealthy rivers and eroding land are inefficient.

7. Mediocrity: unless our community places more value on excellence we will keep limping along at the bottom of the tables and stats, no matter how ardently socialism promises to pull us up toward its grey average by taxing success.

And who am I to say all this? I’m nobody special. Frankly, I am a bit embarrassed writing things that sound like they came down from Kaiti Hill, carved on stone tablets.

I’m not the first person to notice all this, so let’s talk about alternatives. What’s on your list?

Can you choose happiness?

Marty Gibson has an interesting column in the Gisborne Herald on happiness.

Happiness is a choice we make . . .

Lately I have been wondering what life is all about, even more than usual.

Gisborne’s pace of life allows more reflection than in big cities where there’s plenty to want, not enough time to get there and too much noise to hear quiet voices.

Worth a read through, but it includes this from an essay by Australian nurse Bronnie Ware:

Top five regrets of the dying

1. I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I had not worked so hard.

3. I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

This grew into a book which will be available internationally very soon according to this.

THE TOP FIVE REGRETS OF THE DYING – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing will be available worldwide through Hay House 20th March, 2012.

Speed date, non-democratic democracy

Guest Post: a campaign speech by Marty Gibson, UnitedFuture candidate for East Coast

So . . . three minutes to persuade you to vote for United Future.

That’s one minute less than a conversation at a speed dating evening.

>Now I’ve never tried speed dating, but a woman I know did, and the men she met sounded a lot like the political parties on offer here tonight.

  • There’s Labour trying to impress you with their money . . . which is all borrowed, or else your money once they have you in a relationship.
  • There’s National –the most attractive prospect in the room at this stage, but pretty superficial, and they have some dubious friends.
  • There’s the bad boy “devil take the hindmost” ACT – “What are you selling Donny? What have you got?” although obviously Don Brash is no Marlon Brando.
  • There are some unemployed artists, actors and activists talking about their hi-tech high-paying green jobs . . . which don’t exist . . . and certainly not 100,000 of them.
  • The Maori Party aren’t here, but I guess if they were they would be the bloke who expected my friend to go out with them because they were the same race.

And I guess United Future is the quiet decent sensible guy who should have talked himself up more . . . should have spun a bit more of a line so he got remembered for more than just having thick luxuriant hair.

If I sound cynical it’s because I think New Zealand’s party system is non-democratic democracy.

The management of the East Coast on Wellington’s puppet strings has never delivered the golden future we get promised every three years, has it?

We get given the same cookie cutter solutions as everyone else.

We get divided and ruled along lines of race, income, rich poor, old young, left right when we should be finding ways to work in harmony and decide on a vision for our wonderful part of the world.

Safe happy kids?

All our rivers planted?
No-one hungry?
A job for anyone who wants one?

Why not? With the right plan and agreement here it is entirely possible.

Politicians are mostly nice, well-meaning people, but they work in a system where their main focus is grabbing and clinging onto power, rather than improving things for us here on the East Coast.

It’s their party, not Te Tairawhiti that has their primary loyalty.

What we need is representation of the East Coast in Wellington instead of representation of the Wellington’s political parties here.

I reckon it is up to us to acknowledge our problems, recognise how unacceptable they are then get to work together to change things in the long term, rather than three year terms.

I believe Wellington should cooperate with us where they can, and get out of our way where they can’t.

When United Future asked me to stand on the East Coast, that’s pretty much what I said to them.

I thought that would be the end of it, but to my surprise, they thought it was a good idea, so I got like-minded people in other regions to join them too.

I had a better look at their policies. Most of them are pretty good – but I can’t explain them in three minutes.

United Future are a centrist, family-focused, community-minded, political party that believes in moderation, self-determination, resilience and common sense, and that all sounded good to me.

United Future sees policy through the prism of whether or not it would make New Zealand the best place in the world to live work and raise a family, and that sounded good to me as well.

Environmentalism not tied to extremes of socialism and feminism where people are seen as part of nature rather than its enemy? Wonderful!

United Future will be a non-National Party member of a coalition government after the next election – perhaps the only one.

Your vote can be a voice for the East Coast in this year’s election. In government, pushing for our right to be united, innovative to make the East Coast the best region in the world to live work and raise a family.

If that sounds good to you, party vote United Future.

Vote for me too if you get really excited. Thanks.