Public information update: Thursday 17 March 2011, 2030 hours

This information may have been superseded.
For the latest updates, go to the
Media Releases.

Vehicle recovery from CBD

On Sunday (20 March) the Police Vehicle Recovery Team will be endeavouring to clear two more car parks of vehicles abandoned after the earthquake.

Owners of vehicles in Bedford Row car park, situated between Lichfield Street and Bedford Row, and owners of vehicles in The Crossing car park situated on Lichfield Street, just down from the Colombo Street intersection, should read the following information carefully.

Bedford Row: Owners should assemble on the corner of Barbadoes Street and Moorhouse Avenue at 11 am. Owners will hand keys to Police and wait at the Barbadoes/Moorhouse intersection while the vehicle is retrieved by the Police team.

The Crossing: Owners should assemble on the corner of Barbadoes Street and Moorhouse Avenue at 3 pm. Owners will hand keys to Police and wait at the Barbadoes/Moorhouse intersection while the vehicle is retrieved by the Police team.

It is important to stress that these car parks are in the ‘no go zone’ of the city with extra safety precautions in place on Sunday to facilitate recovery. If owners don’t use this window of opportunity to attend with their keys, it may be some considerable time in the future before a further attempt can be made to recover a vehicle.

It is important that vehicle owners also note the following:

  • Bring keys to the vehicle
  • Bring ID and proof of ownership
  • If collecting on behalf of the owner bring a letter of authorisation
  • Be dropped off as there is no parking available
  • One person to be dropped off per vehicle as space is limited
  • Consider bringing a chair and a book as the process will take some time
  • Shelter and toilet will be provided
  • No member of the public/owner will be allowed into the cordon area to retrieve their own vehicle for safety reasons
  • Car park clearance is subject to final engineer’s clearance on the day
  • Only go to the assembly point on the day your specific car park is being cleared. Vehicles will not be recovered from other locations not specified.
    Please be patient
  • If you haven’t already registered your vehicle please do so via the Car Finder application on
    Please only register once.

Further locations will continue to be advertised on with locations announced 48 hours prior to collection to provide owners with time to make arrangements.

Plans to ease Christchurch traffic congestion
A plan to ease the traffic congestion in Christchurch will be put in place next week.
There are several routes that are causing the most issues for drivers and we are exploring ways to improve traffic flows.

Traffic problems have become more common since the February 22 earthquake.

The Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre are identifying approximately 10 strategic routes to ease congestion from next Wednesday 23 March. The routes will be publicly advertised next week.

John Hamilton asks users to be patient and suggests people could use buses or cycle to help ease congestion. Free transport on buses has been extended until 27 March.

Road users are reminded that road width is narrower and have multiple obstacles such as potholes and shingle. Previously where cyclists may have been able to stay near the left side of the road they may now need to move into the usual traffic lane to avoid obstacles. It is important road users:

  • keep at or below the current speed limits
  • slow down when passing other road users
  • look ahead for upcoming obstacles, and
  • indicate your intentions to others earlier.

National Christchurch Memorial Service North Hagley Park, Friday 18 March (from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm).

  • Musical tributes begin at 10.30 am
  • You are asked to be at the service by 12 noon
  • The official Memorial Service begins at 12.30 pm
  • The service will include a two minute silence at 12:51 pm
  • The Memorial Service finishes at approximately 2:30 pm
  •  Free buses will be running on the day and will stop at two key stops – one on Bealey Avenue and one on Hagley Avenue. Visit

    More information about the service.

Police will be present at the event and there will be additional patrols in suburban communities and in designated car parking areas. People are asked to stay calm in the event of an aftershock.

Public services running on Friday (as a public holiday)

  • The Earthquake Response phone line (0800 800 169) will operate on Friday with skeleton crew. Please be patient with services. Normal service will resume on Saturday 18 March.
  • All Work and Income Centres will remain open as usual and RACS will operating weekend hours (9 am to 4 pm).
  • The Christchurch City Council service centres will be closed on Friday.
  • All public libraries will be closed on Friday 18 March.

Kerbside collection will continue to operate on Friday 18 March.

For the week 21-25 March, green organics bins will be collected (organic waste only).

Red rubbish bins will be collected across the whole city even if it is not your usual week.

If it is your recycling week, yellow bins will also be collected.
Please also put out bins for any neighbours who are away to reduce smells and potential rodent problems.

Human waste (solids only – no liquids) can be put in the red bin but must be kept well wrapped in paper or a plastic bag.

Please do not dump rubbish or rubble on the roadside. Items that don’t fit in wheelie bins can be taken to the Metro Place, Parkhouse Road or Styx Mill Transfer Stations. Cleanfill eg. bricks and rubble can be disposed of at a cost of $25 per tonne. Clean carpet (free of rubbish and silt) can be taken to Metro Place transfer station only for a reduced price of $105 per tonne. All other rubbish will be at normal prices. Please keep your receipts and include in your insurance claim.

More details on the kerbside collection

Building Assessments (as of 1200 hrs 17 March)
Red, yellow and green placards.
    • Commercial: Total: 4067 buildings inspected; 814 red, 939 yellow, 2314 green.
    • Residential: A total of 61,005 buildings inspected. 1,630 are red.
    • Heritage (i.e. listed in the City Plan): 921 buildings inspected; 354 red.
A red placard is not a demolition order.

In the following wards, there have been approximately:
    • Burwood/Pegasus: 18,352 assessments; 281 red placards
    • Hagley/Ferrymead: 18,374 assessments; 882 red placards
    • Shirley/Papanui: 6103 assessments; 62 red placards

Housing New Zealand is providing temporary and short term accommodation in the form of portable cabins and campervans at Canterbury Agricultural Park for those whose homes are uninhabitable.

Existing Housing New Zealand tenants should call 0800 801 601. All others needing temporary accommodation are asked to call 0800 435 700 (0800 HELP 00). Additional information is available at


  • Almost 100 % connected outside the CBD, though the eastern and southern suburbs remain extremely fragile. Orion are now requesting customers to phone in if they do not have power.
  • 3000 customers are connected to 20 generators in the eastern suburbs. Generator now operating in Redcliffs. Customers supplied from generator may not have electric hot water.
  • 50 % of CBD customers have been connected but additional shortages are to be expected. Supply to wider CBD problematic, power is off to most commercial customers. Zone 1 and Red zone have severely damaged substations and cables.

Education and Schools
As of today, 135 schools are expected to be opened (83.3 per cent) and by Monday, 153 schools (94.4 per cent) are expected to be open. The main issues preventing some schools from opening are lack of working toilets and potable (drinking) water.

Metro Bus Services

  • Metro bus services will continue to be free to all passengers until Sunday 27 March
  • The number 40 Wainoni service recommenced today and the number 5 New Brighton service will be extended. Details available on
  • Free buses will be running on the day and will stop at two key stops – one on Bealey Avenue and one on Hagley Avenue. Details available on

For more information on bus services, please visit

Bus services will operate as normal on Friday 18 March. Additional capacity will be provided on some routes where possible. This additional capacity will be operated at the same times as the scheduled services.

Residents returning to the city
Residents returning to Christchurch should check with their neighbours for local updates, or see

People are reminded not to enter any properties with red placards. These buildings are unsafe. For specific advice, call the Christchurch City Council on 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.

A red placard is not a demolition order.

Reasons a building may have a red placard attached to it, and is therefore unsafe to enter are:

  • the building itself is badly damaged and structurally unsound
  • neighbouring buildings are in danger of falling in on it
  • it may be in the path of potential rock falls or land slips.

A detailed engineering evaluation is required before building entry or use.

Community Briefings
Community Briefings will commence on Monday 21 March.

Locations and times for the remainder of the week are available on, at local Recovery Assistance Centres, or by calling 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.


  • Estimated 84% of households can flush their toilets.
  • If you have an issue with sewage overflow on your property, contact the Earthquake Call Centre on 03 941 8999.
  • If you are waiting for a contractor to remove any sewage overflow, keep children and pets away.
  • Be scrupulous with your hygiene if you have come into contact with sewage: wash hands thoroughly; wash and dry all footwear, clothes, pets, and other objects that have come into contact with sewage.
  • If you have a chemical toilet, please continue using this to reduce pressure on the sewage system and keep pollution out of rivers.

Once water is back on, householders can use showers, dishwashers and washing machines (‘grey water functions’). They are asked to check that this wastewater is draining away from sections properly. If there are problems, please contact Christchurch City Council call centre on 941 8999.

Residents with chemical toilets are asked to continue using them even when their water comes back on while the sewerage system remains compromised in those areas.

Once silt is cleared and the sewerage network is working again in an area, council will advise local residents when they can again flush their toilets and use grey water facilities.

The work to clear the sewers could take three to four months.

Chemical toilets:
16,849 chemical toilets have been delivered to residents. There are 25,000 on order to arrive on coming weeks, a total of 41,849 have been ordered. 102 sites in place to collect the chemical toilet waste.

Chemical toilets are being provided to improve levels of cleanliness, privacy and security and for residents in areas where sewers are in disrepair.

Chemical toilet systems can operate irrespective of weather conditions or geography, so are considered robust over the medium term.

If residents are delivered a chemical toilet, it is because the sewers in their neighbourhood are damaged or full of silt, or both. They are asked to use this portable toilet for all liquid and solid human waste, and dispose of it in the tanks out on the street.

People who have been away from their address and missed the distribution of chemical toilets in their area should contact the call centre on 941 8999.

Once people have received their chemical toilets, Council wants them to stop using their own makeshift toilets, putting any more human waste in the red wheelie bins, or burring it in their gardens.

Portable Toilets
A Portaloo Strategy is being developed to distribute available portaloos as quickly as possible to areas advised as needing them. Currently 1735 on hire. 47 are available in Christchurch for schools as these have been deemed a priority.

Total portaloos in use/ordered is 2918.

Water has been restored to 95 percent of households.

The boil water notice remains in force until lifted by the Medical Office of Health.

Residents are urged to continue minimising their water use while the water supply system remains compromised, including areas where sewer systems are operating.

There is a total ban on garden watering watering across the city. The Council will advise when this ban is lifted.

If water is not on at your home, check with your neighbours in the first instance. If you find that they don’t have water, please call the Christchurch City Council on 9418999 to report that your street does not have water.

If it is just your house that is without water, you will have to make your own arrangements for a plumber to check the issue. The EQC are able to help with payments up to $2000 through the Emergency Works grant.

Important Public Health Information

  • Boil or treat all water from taps and tankers before drinking, brushing teeth or using in food preparation. Bringing water to the boil is sufficient to kill bugs. Water needs to be boiled even if the smell or taste of chlorine is present. If you cannot boil water, treat it by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach per 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes. Dishwashers can be used on a full hot wash with detergent (not economy wash). Dishes must be allowed to dry fully prior to re-use.
  • In parts of the city, sewerage pipes have broken or are breaking as services come back online. People should avoid sewage and silt that may have been contaminated with sewage, even if it is on their properties. If you need sewage removed from your property call Christchurch City Council on 941 8999. If people have to work with silt, they should wear water-proof gloves, gumboots and a dust mask. People should also shower or wash thoroughly immediately after contact with either sewage or silt, and wash clothes separately.
  • Waterways are contaminated with sewage. Avoid contact with rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water. Do not swim, paddle, fish, or gather shellfish or any other food from oceans and rivers.
  • Take care when disposing of human waste (faeces, poo, vomit etc). Only solid waste can go into your red bin, and should be tightly wrapped in plastic. Wash your hands immediately after dealing with any human waste.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser often, particularly after toileting, and before and after eating or preparing food.
  • If you are sick, try to limit contact with other people, do not go to work and do not prepare food for anyone.

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