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NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Finally media awareness of Auckland volcanic threat

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This is the third time we have written about the threat posed by a volcanic eruption in the Auckland Volcanic Field, that underpins much of Auckland City, New Zealand. We first wrote about it in March 2013, then again in April 2013, and again in this article. Finally, today, the NZ Herald has decided to write about the issue, which is critical, not just to alert people, but for government to actually take steps to avert castastrophe. What people need to consider is:
1. There is no reason not to expect another eruption. They have been so periodic that it gives high causal justification to expect another at some point.
2. Volcanic eruptions when they underlie or adjoin a city pose a huge disruptive force; far more catastrophic than earthquakes.

The reason why this is so is because:
1. The sonic blast from the volcano is going to shower the city, or parts of the city with rock debris, killing people, destroying a lot of popular. The impact would be akin to an earthquake. Less damage to the structural integrity of buildings, but more damage to their cladding/facade.
2. The volcaniclastic material and dust will blanket the city. The implication is that it will be a huge disruption to the city. Compared to an earthquake, where the people can get on with their lives within a week, i.e. Businesses can keep going, if they are psychologically prepared, and where there is relatively less disruption to transport, and only 'certain zones' are affected. Widespread dust will stop everything. Its akin to a snow storm; and even if you move the dust, it will wash back with rain. It will be redistributed by train. In contrast, an earthquake spreads no debris, aside from liquefaction (sand) along fault lines, and often it does not even rupture land/highways, so its simply undermining buildings/foundations in certain zones. It was rather unlucky that the central CBD of Christchurch was even hit. The other issue was the 'shallowness' and 'intensity' of the quake, and the fact that Christchurch was not designed for such events. i.e. It had many relict 'brittle' structures. In contrast, Japanese earthquakes are 80-100km deep, the earth 'rolls' and buildings sway accordingly.

Now, the good news is that it might not be central to Auckland, but rather on the fringes, so having less effect, and possibly not blocking major transport corridors. It might be a relatively small eruption with insubstantial dust. The win has a good chance of carrying the dust out to see, and strong wins will serve to disperse the dust further afield...though for a major eruption, that could actually be a problem. A greater problem is perhaps that there is no precedent for this event. It has no modern comparison. It will be not as severe as the Pompeii (Italy 11th Century?) or the Mt Pinotubo eruption in 1984 (with its 11 feet of ash). These are different styles of eruption. So, we are really in the dark as to the precise nature, however much can be garnered from exposed ash deposits. After all, that's how they are able to calculate the historical significance of these fields. NZ is one of the few countries to build a city on a volcanic field. I'm not aware of any other, aside from Iceland, where the entire island is a volcano. Even then, its not so much an explosive style of eruptive volcano, but generally a non-viscosity, fission-style type of eruption.

Now, in commercial terms, you generally build infrastructure with a 20-40 year life. So it might make sense to build a city on a volcanic field. Sadly, that concession only works if the eruption is after your 40 year project life. You might otherwise feel a bit jaded if you did not take a threat to your property seriously if you'd just made improvements to your property and then an eruption occurred weeks or a year later...even 5 years. The reality however that, its not so much a problem of infrastructure loss as:
1. Looting and vandalism in the wake of it, as you flee for safety
2. Destruction of gardens, external fa├žade, windows
3. Damage to internal windows. Recognise that there will probably not be materials to board up your house windows, if that will even make a difference. It will depend on the size of the blast and your proximity to an unknown centre within the field, or close to it.

It becomes apparent that Auckland will be disrupted for several months. Food will need to be flown in until arteries are cleared. Rain will play havoc with that. It will be a different, even unique type of emergency.

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'Buying NZ Property – Download the free sample readings!

NZ presents some of the most alluring property in the Western World; particularly given the greater easy of residency, the low cost of property, and the liveability of the country. In addition, there is no capital gains tax, transfer taxes, VAT/GST or wealth taxes in NZ, so rest assured that NZ property is tax-effective! Learn more now!

New Zealand Property Report 2010 - Download the table of contents or buy this 180-page report at our online store for just $US19.95.


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