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Good afternoon and thank you to the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce for inviting me back to speak to you this year.

To say that a lot has happened since I spoke to you 12 months ago is something of an understatement.

Throughout 2010, aftershocks from the global financial crisis continued to ripple around the world.

  • Bill English
  • Finance
  • Earthquake Recovery
  • Budget 2011

We are here today to remember the people we have lost, to express our grief and sorrow, and to re-affirm our commitment to this city and to each other.

On the 22nd of February Christchurch experienced an earthquake of such violence that it stole from us the lives of dozens of people, and dramatically altered the lives of tens of thousands more.

All who were caught up in that earthquake, all who have seen the images and read the stories, have been horrified by it its scale and by its callous disregard for so much that we held dear.

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister
  • Earthquake Recovery

Good afternoon. We’re all familiar with the events in Christchurch last month. Few words come close to conveying the scale and impact of that disaster.

Can I also acknowledge the horrific events in Japan last week - they show there is always someone worse off than ourselves. More than most, we understand what the Japanese people are going through.

Here at home, helping support and rebuild Christchurch is among the most important things the Government will do this year and into the future.

  • Bill English
  • Finance
  • Earthquake Recovery

Mr Speaker

I wish to make a ministerial statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the fourth extension of the state of national emergency over Christchurch City.

  • John Carter
  • Civil Defence
  • Earthquake Recovery

Mr Speaker

I wish to make a ministerial statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the extension of the state of national emergency over Christchurch City.

On 23 February, I declared a state of national emergency for Christchurch City under section 66 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. This was as a result of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch on 22 February and the continuing aftershocks. It was the first time in New Zealand history that a state of national emergency was declared as a result of a civil defence emergency event.

  • John Carter
  • Civil Defence
  • Earthquake Recovery

Good afternoon

I thought it appropriate to make some comments to mark the announcement made a short time ago in Christchurch that the rescue phase has come to an end, and that we are now fully in a recovery phase.

This will be a very sad day for the families of those who are missing.

This is also a very sad day for all those involved in the rescue effort, who have worked night and day combing the city valiantly searching for signs of life.

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister
  • Earthquake Recovery

Today we will honour, by our silence, those who died in the Christchurch earthquake.

And in those quiet moments we can contemplate what fear or courage, what horror or hope filled their last moments.

People who began their day, just one week ago, the same way as we began our day today.

Their conversations and their laughter were savagely stopped and their homes and workplaces are ruined and quiet.

  • Bill English
  • Deputy Prime Minister
  • Earthquake Recovery

Mr Speaker

I wish to make a ministerial statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the declaration of a state of national emergency.

On the advice of the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, and in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Christchurch City, at 10.30am I declared a state of national emergency for the Christchurch City under section 66 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. This was as a result of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that occurred in Christchurch yesterday at 12:51pm, and the continuing aftershocks.

  • John Carter
  • Civil Defence
  • Earthquake Recovery

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Prime Minister, I wish to make the following ministerial statement.

In particular, I would like to:

Mark the tragic loss of life and injury that has occurred as a result of the earthquake in Canterbury yesterday;

Express our deepest sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have died and are still missing;

Thank the brave rescue teams who are working so hard in very difficult conditions;

And acknowledge the enormous impact this disaster will have on the communities of Christchurch and Canterbury.

  • Bill English
  • Deputy Prime Minister
  • Earthquake Recovery

New Zealanders have woken to a tragedy unfolding in the great city of Christchurch.

The earthquake that struck the Canterbury region at ten to one yesterday has wreaked death and destruction on a dreadful scale.

There is no reason that can make sense of this event.

No words that can spare our pain.

We are witnessing the havoc caused by a violent and ruthless act of nature.

Many people have lost their lives. Families have lost their cherished loved ones. Mates have lost their mates.

These deaths are the greatest loss.

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister
  • Earthquake Recovery