This summer of Australian natural disasters has been book-ended by two New Zealand disasters, both of which claimed more lives than all of the Australian weather-related calamities put together.

Despair. Pic: Getty Images

In late November, the Pike River mine blast claimed 29 victims. Various Australian weather events – most notably the SE Queensland floods – then claimed around 25 lives, while the death toll continues to rise rapidly from yesterday’s devastating Christchurch earthquake. At last count it was 65 and early morning reports suggest this could reach as high as 200.

There are no lessons in all of this, except one. New Zealand’s pain is our pain. And ours is theirs.

Here are some quotes from Christchurch resident Gavin Blowman:

It felt like I was running on jelly. We saw a giant rock tumble to the ground - from a cliff - a rock that had been there for millennia…It was terrifying.

And this from fellow Cantabrian Jaydn Katene:

When it hit we were knocked off our feet. Everything in the house fell down, nothing was left still standing,’’ he told local news reporters.

“There’s more damage than the first earthquake, the roads are completely torn up….The next-door neighbours around us were all bawling their eyes out, it was horrible. People can’t get out of their houses.

We’ve seen cars halfway sunken into the road. We’ve heard there’s a bus which is sunken halfway into the road just around the corner. Buildings are half-collapsed everywhere. It smells horrible..

Here at The Punch, we have several TV monitors at our disposal, but one is religiously tuned to Sky News all day long. Around 3pm each day, the New Zealand news comes on, read by a dapper bloke with a silly accent. It’s remarkable how much of the NZ news is actually Australian news.

For example, just last week, Sky ran a World Cup cricket story about the Australian cricket team and never even mentioned their own Black Caps team.

They also frequently cover our political stories, in the mistaken belief that what happens on Capital Hill is somehow more edifying and world-shaping than what happens in their own Beehive in Wellington.

And of course, in the soggy summer of 2010/2011, the NZ news has been dominated by events in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, as well as the bushfires in the west.

We don’t do NZ quite the same favour in the day-to-day news cycle. In fact, most Australian media outlets do a reasonably good job of ignoring their day-to-day affairs entirely, although we do tend to grab the occasional humorous, light news story, such as the deliberate torching of the giant Springfield donut.

But when it comes to the serious, the shocking or the heartbreaking, New Zealand becomes a de facto state of Australia. We send our rescue teams and other experts. Our news cycle is their news cycle.

The faux rivalry we nurture on the sporting field disappears. There are no sheep jokes. In its place, there is an overwhelming sense of what you might call bro-hood and – yes, you have to say it – the ANZAC spirit.

Julia Gillard spoke yesterday of “our New Zealand family”, while opposition leader Tony Abbott said that “the bonds of love stretch tight and close across the Tasman”. The line was a little corny but he’s right. She’s right. They’re both right.

In many ways we are lucky to have New Zealand as our neighbour. Show me another country, anywhere in the globe that shares so many common values, or sees eye to eye on so many important issues as the Kiwis and us. Put it this way: I bet England would rather have New Zealand than France across the channel.

After the blackest day in New Zealand history, we should indeed be mindful of the bond our nations share.

And we should pray like hell for those still stuck in the rubble, and do what we can to help both the victims and the wider community - whether it’s through a donation, a message of support, or booking a nice expensive ski holiday to boost the south island economy this winter.

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    • Goldenfaber says:

      05:49am | 23/02/11

      I do so agree.
      Unfortunatley i am becoming too afraid to holiday there which ultimately will not help their situation either…..

    • Tedd says:

      07:24am | 23/02/11

      Book a nice single storey motel in the burbs, then head into the countryside. 

      It will be magic, again.

    • Scarneck says:

      02:10pm | 23/02/11

      I do not agree. New Zealanders are nothing like Australians. For a start,  New Zealanders are well mannered and polite but they don’t speak English very well (yeah OK, we Aussies don’t either)  I hated doing business with NZ’ers, they would query one cent errors, I had dealings around the world, not one country, apart from New Zealand, ever queried one cent errors, therefore they’re tighter than us Aussies. But in saying that, I do feel for the people of Christchurch, it is in my top three cities of the world (ones I’ve seen, and I’ve seen hundreds)  A beautiful city with beautiful people.

    • Anne71 says:

      06:24pm | 23/02/11

      If anything, this event has made me even more determined to get back to the South Island in the next 12 months, and especially to Christchurch once they’re ready and willing to invite tourists back.
      I agree with the OP - when disaster strikes either of us, all trans-Tasman rivalry is forgotten and we look after each other. Stay strong, brus - all of Australia is thinking of you now.

    • Alan S says:

      06:23am | 23/02/11

      I noticed on a long overdue holiday in NZ, how much respect they show to Australia and you’re right - it isn’t reciprocated sufficiently. For such a small population they punch well above their weight and if anyone hasn’t been there - go. It’s a wonderful country and they speak the same language, sort of. The regular bushfires, floods and cyclones doesn’t put them off coming here.

    • TChong says:

      07:03am | 23/02/11

      Its a great place, and Kiwis and Aussies do indeed share many values, and a long history.
      They aint our ANZAC “mates ” for no reason, and deserve all the help we can give.

    • Billy says:

      09:30am | 23/02/11

      Let’s send them Anna Bligh to do the photo opportunities.

    • Huey says:

      07:15am | 23/02/11

      If we have and they need it stick it on a plane and send it. (try and sneak an extra vowel across too ...couldn’t hurt)

    • Tedd says:

      08:01am | 23/02/11

      You mean,

      sneeek and eextraa voweel aacross, toooo, suurleeeee

      There was an article in the SMH’s Good Weekend magazine about 20+ yrs ago that Australians were getting lazier in their speech and were going to sound more like Kiwis, and that had already happened in South Australia.  Julya Gillard’s accent comes to mind .....

    • James A says:

      11:25am | 23/02/11

      Tedd - no one in SA -  EVER -  has ever sounded or spoken like Gillard.

      And SA has by far the nicest accent in Australia.  Its the Easties in particular that brutalise English.  Ask the poms what they think of the fugly accents in Sydney and Melbourne.

      At least we can pronounce France and plant correctly.

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:44pm | 23/02/11

      You mean ‘sound like a complete prat’ James?

    • Victoria says:

      07:20am | 23/02/11

      I’m sure the New Zealanders regard their beautiful country as a bit more than a de facto state of Australia. How insulting and arrogant. And stop rolling out this “ANZAC spirit” garbage, how about Kiwi spirit instead. Australians should realise that their “larrikin ways” includes running down countries and showing disrespect to other nations incl NZ and its getting a little tiresome.

    • TChong says:

      07:48am | 23/02/11

      thats the way Vic, add a bit on totally inappropriate anger in a story that trys to reflect the long standing mateship between our two countries.

    • KH says:

      07:52am | 23/02/11

      What do you think the N and the Z in ‘ANZAC’ stand for?

    • Joe says:

      09:15am | 23/02/11

      Yeah well done Vicky, thanks for putting a negative spin on what’s a positive story about our mateship and close relationship with our strongest neighbors. Only a fruitcake would take any of this tounge in cheek humor to heart? Calm down and relax.

    • LauraBoBaura says:

      09:33am | 23/02/11

      You mean the Australia & New Zealand Army Corps, Victoria?

    • Likes Joining Dots says:

      09:52am | 23/02/11

      Victoria, I took the Ant S’s comment to read that Australians have a kinship with NZ and so will be there to help. So yes, I guess it’s the ANZAC spirit. Is that so bad?

    • Barry says:

      09:54am | 23/02/11

      Hmmm really got to wonder about the intelligence of some people . . . . . .

    • Anthony Sharwood

      Anthony Sharwood says:

      09:57am | 23/02/11

      Yep, I meant NZ becomes a de facto state in times of trouble, not in a patronising or belittling way, but in a fraternal way

    • A Dose of Reality says:

      10:15am | 23/02/11

      Victoria.  You are truly offensive. 

      Such a purposefully “tiresome” and negative spin on an obvious expression of solidarity points to an equally obvious twisted personality disorder. 

      How dare you insult the acronym ” ANZAC”.
      Shame on you for not knowing what it stands for - such ignorance is unforgivable.

    • kerry says:

      10:41am | 23/02/11

      @All but Victoria:
      Yep, that’s what we called the resilience, fortitude and helping out mates during the Qld floods the great ANZAC spirit.

      Show me a link, any link, that refers to disasters in Australia and Australians helping each other as the anzac spirit, and not a boastful gobfest of the manifestation of the great Aussie mateship.

      Looks like we’re trying to muscle in on the great Kiwi spirit, to me.

    • TheRealDave says:

      10:50am | 23/02/11

      Vic, ANZAC is a shared spirit of mateship EQUALLY between Australia and New Zealand - you pelican

      Here’s a tip:

      A - Australia
      N - New
      Z - Zealand
      A - Army
      C - Corps

      Did you see the NZ bit?

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      11:30am | 23/02/11

      Ummm….historically New Zealand was a state of Australia, 1787-1841.

    • TimB says:

      12:01pm | 23/02/11

      Not to take anything away from the point Ant was making Shane, but no NZ was never a state.

      Australia didn’t have states back then at all. I believe what you are referring to was when NZ formed part of the colony of New South wales (along with the rest of Eastern Australia).

    • john says:

      12:15pm | 23/02/11

      Maybe change ANZAC to ANZACS to include the word ‘spirit’ for our post WWII challenges? Instead of stating in the ANZAC spirit or in the spirit of ANZAC. ANZACS seems more inclusive, I hope the diggers/RSL will approve! Might be confusing with stating ‘the ANZAC’s’.
      ...just a thought.

    • KH says:

      12:23pm | 23/02/11

      And this from the NZ police commissioner:
      “We’ve had massive support from the Australians and it’s so heart-warming to see that ANZAC spirit alive and well in difficult times.”

      so there…....

    • Rev says:

      01:06pm | 23/02/11

      @kerry, what on earth are you talking about? 

      Ant wrote a piece about how we feel empathy for our friends across the ditch in their time of need.  About how there is a historical bond.  Hence the reference to the ANZAC spirit.

      I would expect any article written in NZ about the Chch earthquake, to refer to Kiwi spirit, just like many articles written about recent Australian disasters referred to Aussie spirit.  Hell, if I could be bothered I’m sure I could turn up an NZ article referring to ANZAC spirit thanks to NZs aid recently.

      Truly, the biggest problem with people like Victoria and yourself, is that you choose times like these to air divisive views, when coming together would be the productive option.

    • Tom says:

      01:16pm | 23/02/11

      Thanks Kerry, iInteresting sites there. I notice in the donations, BHP was 11 million. The NZ government was $2.2 million.

      The most interesting point is the NSW Nurses Association $10,000 (as opposed to the $50 million they spent to get Morris Iemma elected last NSW election. That ratio (1 to 5,000) is the NSW Nurses Association ratio of caring vs power. And an election is on the way. What a disgusting immoral organisation they are.

    • Shahna says:

      02:49pm | 23/02/11

      Actually, Victoria, I think he said it quite well.
      We here over the ditch have shed tears at the absolute carnage that has occurred over in your “state” and we take comfort in the fact that our Australian “cousins” are with us right now.
      Australia were the first to deploy help our way, the skies know we could use it right now, and it is not a fact that we kiwi’s have let go unnoticed.
      Perhaps you yourself could do with a little of the Anzac spirit…

    • kerry says:

      03:07pm | 23/02/11

      @KH.  Nice try, but a resounding fail. The challenge was to find a site detailing Australians referring to the ANZAC spirit during/after Australian disasters.

      That NZers are more magnanimous and inclusive than us doesn’t cut it. And the NZ police commissioner was probably answering an Australian journalist’s question about Aussie generosity being about the ANZAC spirit if the truth be told.

      @Tom. Glad to be of help. Yes it is interesting that NZ donated $2.2 million. I think I heard earlier that the Australian Federal Government has donated $5 million to the NZ Red Cross. Looks like NZ donated more than twice as much per head of population as we have done (so far).

      Re the NSW nurses association: When was the last NSW election? 2008? Well here’s a list of donations for all political parties at that time, including the NSW Nurses Association of $33,636 to the NSW Labour Party Which makes your caring vs power trip crap.

      Don’t know about you, but I call it immoral to be spreading blatant lies about others.

      @Rev - what on earth am I talking about?
      How about you read Victoria’s comment, then maybe you’ll get the context.

    • Tom says:

      04:11pm | 23/02/11

      @Kerry, please re-read my blog. In particular my word “SPENT” as opposed to “donated”.

      Perhaps, you might also enlighten us as to how much the NSW Nurse’s Union “SPENT” running political advertisements for the Labor party.

      By excluding that amount and misquoting my words, it appears that you are the one peddling “... blatant lies”, Kerry. Are you feeling immoral or is it OK for you NSW Labor drones to spin (lie about) such things? If you are genuinely interested in the truth, I eagerly await your apology.

      Otherwise, I will just have to live with my assertion that “the NSW Nurses Association $10,000 (as opposed to the $50 million they spent to get Morris Iemma elected last NSW election.” I repeat, “What a disgusting immoral organisation ....”

    • kerry says:

      04:48pm | 23/02/11

      @Tom – no probs mate – Yep, you did say spent, my sorry. Show me the evidence and I’ll agree with you. I have no truck with peddling lies.

      And, no, I’m not from the great NSW, hail from Victoria. You know, that lot who like to philosophise during a cold winter.

      Just find it hard to believe that a nurse’s association would squirrel away $50 million to spend on one election campaign. Prove me wrong, mate.
      Don’t think you can.

    • Tom says:

      08:18pm | 23/02/11

      @Kerry, nice Labor trick. However, I proved your figure to be wrong. Are you up to proving mine wrong? At one stage you had all the answers and all the accusations.

      The $50 million figure was bandied around at the time. Your conscientious blogging told me you probably would have attempted to find a figure and could not. Nor could I. Secret nurses union business? I wonder if any of your union “mates” could produce the figure? Or would they be ashamed to produce it?

      In your searches, you would have been able to find extensive references to the media campaign at the time. It was a blitzkrieg advertising campaign and THESE DO NOT COME CHEAP. Their theme was nurses were going to be crucified by Debnam. The other campaigns such as the budgie smuggler adverts also featured at the time.

      By all means someone who values the reputation of the NSW Nurses Union is welcome to correct me. However, I believe it was $50 million. Now tell me that $10,000 for a disaster is anything like the figure they spent on keeping their Labor mates in power.

      Whereas our nurses in the wards are genuine caring heroes, I think their union is a disgusting organisation and have their moral priorities screwed up.

    • kerry says:

      11:02pm | 23/02/11

      No, no trick Tom. What you are feebly trying to say, Tom, is “I lied. I told an untruth. I made it up.” And, because you are caught out lying, you are now saying “I’m going to blame you.” Sorry, dunce, it doesn’t work like that.  I said: Prove it. You can’t – simple as that.

      What’s your evidence: oh, $50 million was bandied about at the time. Is that a ‘male’ argument or is it fact? Do you feel ashamed about making up evidence? You should. You shamed yourself.

      I didn’t need to look (although I can imagine you feverishly trying to prove your point) because I knew, and you knew, you were lying.

      Perhaps if you had made it a realistic figure, I may have tried. But $50 million, a nurse’s association – get real, dude!

      As I said, I live in Victoria. I am not a nurse, and I am not a member of a nurse’s union (which, as you would know has both male and female members) – and just because you “believe” something, does not make it true.

      Feel free to hate a union, but do not fabricate an argument to support your case. Because lying is immoral. And, you are immoral.

    • Tom says:

      11:12am | 24/02/11

      @Kerry, why would I “feverishly” look for a figure if I knew it to be a lie? I would have been quite ready to be corrected had I found the correct figure.

      And please Kerry, the ad hominems? “Dunce”, “Is that a ‘male’ argument or is it fact? ”  ... Oooh, a bit of misandry in with the poison? Didn’t daddy buy you a pony?

      I believe it was $50 million.

    • Krennich says:

      11:40am | 24/02/11

      @Tom, you stand corrected by your precious Barry O’Farrell. It was $1.2 million in “identified” election advertisements (not including other advocacy campaigns)

      “A greater sticking point for the opposition is the third party spending cap, which would do nothing to change the influence of outside parties such as unions.”, “In the last state election alone, the Nurses Association spent $1.2 million,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters in Sydney.
      “Under the proposal, as outlined by the premier today, each and every union would be subjected to the cap.” “Given there are 22 unions affiliated to the NSW ALP as of today, that means that those unions could spend $22 million supporting the ALP.”

      Tom, the ratio is $10,000 donations to the floods and $1.2 million to the election That is, $120 on political advertising for each $1 spent on the floods. Not $50 million, Tom, but definitely not a flattering figure for those unions or Labor.

    • Andrew says:

      07:27am | 23/02/11

      A “de facto state of Australia”? I am pretty sure that phrase is not going to go down well in NZ, no matter what the context!

    • KH says:

      07:53am | 23/02/11

      Given the proportion of their population that live here, I don’t think its too far off the mark….......

    • Tedd says:

      08:51am | 23/02/11

      The irony is that NZ used to be a territory of NSW.

      “New Zealand began as a dependency of New South Wales. Late in 1839 letters patent altered the commission of the governor of New South Wales, Sir George Gipps, by reappointing him captain-general and governor-in-chief in and over the territory of New South Wales, the new boundaries of which included any land that might be acquired here. For the next 18 months his legislative council promulgated all New Zealand law, and the New South Wales land regulations were also extended to New Zealand. This arrangement ended in May 1841, when New Zealand became a separate Crown colony.”

      There has been discussion somewhere that territory status was never fully annulled.

    • Lord Stockton says:

      01:12pm | 23/02/11

      Well they do have the right under the constitution to become one. Any of the speak fest held by the state government agencies include NZ & occasionally are held in NZ.
      No, they may not like the idea of ‘defacto’ state of Australia -but that will be on the day we next beat them at cricket.

      But not today.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:43am | 23/02/11

      NZ is like a good mate. You rip into him in good times and it’s all meant in the spirit of fun. Never malice. It’s a comfortable relationship.

      In the hard times it’s very different. Pitch in to do whatever you can to help him out.

    • Dogbolter says:

      07:45am | 23/02/11

      I noticed one of the comments yesterday stated “We should not send any aid to NZ as we need it here for us Australians, and no tax increases!”

      This person needs to look up the term “mateship” in the dictionary, as well as “prick”.  They obviously have a short memory, because NZ have often sent aid and people to help us in times of crisis, the most recent (that I can recall) being the Black Saturday bushfires. I’ve been to NZ for holidays and have some close friends there. Even if I did not, we are so close to them, to not do anything to help would be disgusting in the extreme. I work for emergency services and I have put my name down to go to help, as well as waiting for donation details that may be set up. It’s a gorgeous country that is filled with wonderful people, and they need all the help and sympathy they can get right now.

    • Carma says:

      08:10am | 23/02/11

      Agreed - it’s not as though we are short changing ourselves - I don’t think any Aussies are suffering because our rescue teams are over there, nor the medical aid that I am sure will follow. They are fellow humans in a great deal of pain, have a bit of sympathy nay-sayers!

    • Bazza says:

      09:35am | 23/02/11

      We don’t have to send the aid to NZ. Most of them are in Bondi receiving Australian it already.

    • kerry says:

      10:09am | 23/02/11

      Probably one of the band of pricks who screamed blue murder over a levy to help rebuild Qld in response to Tony Abbott’s “mateship tax” dogwhistle.

      One of the same band of pricks who vowed to never ever ever again donate if a “mateship tax” was legislated – wonder if they’ll donate to help the “foreigners” over the Tasman. Oh sorry, they won’t be able to; they can’t even afford a couple of bucks a week to help those at home.

      Probably one of the same band of pricks, who in their haste to demonise asylum seekers as worthless economic migrants and/or Islamic terrorists whose real agenda is to take over Australia, don’t see the irony (if not outright contradiction) of their mantra “charity begins at home” and our taxes shouldn’t go on “foreigners” – you know, like on those bastards who deliberately killed themselves at Christmas Island and we had to fork out for their funerals.

      No wonder Tony Abbott was looking hung-dog during QT yesterday. He stirred up this filth, along with Bernardi and Morrison, in the immediate aftermath of the Qld floods (and before, during and after the Victorian floods, the bushfires in WA, cyclone Yasi in Qld and cyclone Carlos in Darwin). And now has to go along with spending enormous sums of taxpayer dollars to help er er ahh ahh “our mates” in New Zealand.

    • TChong says:

      10:43am | 23/02/11

      Kerry, ,you also notice how the rabid haters of helping have suddenly gone very quiet since Abbotts and Morrisons appalling behavior.
      There is a very obvios concerted effort from many of the Far Right Punchers.
      Many sing from the same sheet - to their embarrassment, and right on cue, the are quiet.
      Trolls obviosly.

    • Timmy of South Park says:

      11:16am | 23/02/11

      The support for both Mr Morrison and Tony Abbott is unparalleled in the communityand maintains the best wishes of the entire country in their efforts to re-establish some integrity into both the local and international community,the current unelected person by the name of Gillard is an embarrassment and should resign posthaste.Best wishes to all member and Lib supporters and god bless Tony Abbott and Mr Morrison

    • kerry says:

      11:51am | 23/02/11

      @ Timmy of South Park
      You get that tongue of of that cheek right now.
      Tony Abbott’ is so well loved by the country he’s sitting on 31% as PPM in the latest Newspoll.
      And the Oz has yet to publish the results of preferred lib leader, but I’d hazard a guess Scotty Morrison would not be as popular as Abbott, which puts the two of them as not having much support from the good old Aussie community - and I’ll also predict that the outcome is solely based on their divisive politicking over issues to numerous to mention.

    • simon says:

      02:11pm | 23/02/11

      I am against foreign aid like the aid we give to Indonesia to build schools. That is their responsibility to build their own schools, not ours. Particularly since the govt can not find $300m to fund Austudy for regional people, yet they send $500m to Indonesia. Where are the governments priorities, certainly not to the Australian people first and foremost!!!!!

    • Ryan says:

      02:50pm | 23/02/11

      @kerry: that would be great if this “mateship tax” applied to everyone evenly. Instead some are clearly better mates than others, take for example two families with a combined income of 100k, one is going to pay nothing towards this “mateship tax” (obviously not mates) and the other is going to be paying $1000. The difference between these families you ask, one has one primary income earner earning 100k (hence rich and subsequently an enemy of the state according to Labor) and a stay at home mum looking after the kids and not applying a financial burden to the country by having kids in daycare, the other has two income earners earning 50k and has their kids in daycare.
      Do please explain to me carefully how this is fair plus also please note that the family with the two incomes of 50k a year are also paying substantially less tax every year.

    • kerry says:

      03:45pm | 23/02/11

      @Ryan – First off, I didn’t call it a mateship tax, Abbott did. It is actually a levy, a short-term levy. That a lot don’t believe it is for the short-term is probably based on Howard’s legacy of not removing levies when the stated need for them was over. We can’t judge that yet about this one. Feel free to be the first cab off the rank complaining about an extended flood levy if/when it happens.

      Secondly, if you recall the discussion regarding the imposition of a levy, so many groups came out saying that a levy was fine as long as it didn’t disadvantage the already disadvantaged; every Tom, Dick and Harry with a snout in the trough came out screeching in alarm that some taxpayer dollars may be taken from them. Obviously a delicate balancing act was required.

      That some, as per your example of two-income earner families on $100,000 not having to pay anything, and a family with a sole income earner of $100,000 having to pay- what was it again – let’s check - oh yes, $4.81 per week, is probably not fair on the sole income family, but ffs it’s hardly gunna break the bank is it? As a matter of fact, if I was one of those two income $100,000 families, I think I might offer to pay $4.81 a week – as a token gesture of being a “mate.”

      And please, before we have to clean up the mess on the floor from your bleeding heart about a stay at home mum looking after kids not being a financial burden on the country, you’d better check up on the Tax Benefit paid to these mums. It’s not peanuts.

      Lastly, I didn’t claim it was fair (although I have ‘carefully explained it to you). I said it was people like you responding to a dogwhistle – which you’ve proved.

    • kerry says:

      04:07pm | 23/02/11

      @simon – where to start with someone like you.
      Check the budget. The $500 million was proffered to Indonesia from the Howard government (part of the $1 billion offered after the tsunami) which the current government is honouring.
      And check again, the Abbot proposal was to defer the spending, which means it will be spent, just not this year. You better change your vote to One Nation, they’re the ones who don’t want to spend it full stop.

      And you wonder why One Nation is claiming to set LNP policy.

    • Dogbolter says:

      07:52pm | 23/02/11

      Wow… am I the only one who actually doesn’t mind paying this levy? It’s needed to help replace damaged/ruined infrastructure. My only concern is that after one year it won’t be lifted. Certainly a lot more needed and worthwhile than paying bogans to breed and spit out feral little brats they do nothing to look after and control, or paying women for 6 months to sit around and do nothing after doing what dogs and pigs do every day (and so much better it seems) i.e. breed. Paying welfare to the middle class who do not need it is what is killing us, not helping the unemployed, the homeless, the destitute. but try taking that away from them, and watch them scream bloody murder. You want everything in the world, but do not want to pay for it. It’s disgusting and makes me sick.

    • Zoe says:

      09:28pm | 23/02/11

      @dogbolter and kerry.  I dont mind paying this tax either but Ryan has a point. Its not just about those on $100k. A family might only be on $55k with 4 or 5 people living off this income. Who are you to say what will break the bank? It doesnt take peoples personal circumstances into account. Have you ever had a child with cancer? 1000km round trips for treatment? I cant begin to list the extra costs.  The next family could be on $90k with only 3 living off it, but because its seperate incomes they dont have to pay. Also the fact that those affected by the flood dont have to pay it. Fair enough, but what if the damaged home is their “holiday home”. If you can afford 2 homes surely you can afford to pay this tax too. I do agree with this tax, but it should be based on a combined family income divided by how many have to live on it. If you think $4 a week isnt much, just consider that a LOT of people rely on their tax return to buy Christmas presents, pay car rego etc. If the average guy who has been working overtime to provide for his family, is not happy about having his kids Christmas money taken away do you really balme him?

    • Zoe says:

      10:05pm | 23/02/11

      Just wanted to add that Aus should definately help NZ in every way possible. I dont want to come across as an uncaring tight arse! Just been in the situation where $5 a day WOULD break the bank. If youve never been there, then youre lucky.  I do agree with dogbolter that helping anyone, in Aus or overseas, suffering such a disaster should be a priority over many other tax funded things. I really dont think this is the time to push your political preferences either, we should just be people helping other people as they have helped us.

    • mary says:

      07:56am | 23/02/11

      Go the Kiwis! We have many friends from New Zealand and our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to them. They are a wonderful people.

    • ceb says:

      08:01am | 23/02/11

      I recently went on a 3 week holiday of NZ and couldn’t believe the warm hospitality and generoisty we recieved every where we went. I wish that tourists got the same treatment when they came here to Sydney but I highly doubt it.

      My thoughts are with all of those affected in Christchurch.

    • Mark Ward says:

      08:12am | 23/02/11

      Thanks Australia for all your offers of help, the ANZAC spirit is alive and we are grateful to have you as our cobbers. The people in Christchurch need all our help.

    • Ash says:

      08:41am | 23/02/11

      My mum is six generations kiwi, and my dad is seven generations aussie. I was born and grew up in Australia but now live in NZ. I love NZ and Australia they are both my countries.
      When the media here talks about aid they list the countries that are providing it then at the end they will say “plus our friends and family in Australia”.
      Please book a holiday over here if you can, if you’re a wee bit scared to go to Christchurch, there are other parts of NZ like Queenstown and the Bay of Islands that are absolutely stunning. NZ is also great for the aussie $. Tourism is one of NZ’s biggest exports and we’d be thrilled to have some of our family and friends over for a visit!
      Thanks for the lovely article.

    • Anna says:

      09:01am | 23/02/11

      Do we really need to speak about something as trivial as an accent at a time like this?! Seriously get a life. Would you say those sort of comments to someones face if you were in Christchurch? Actually yes you probably would. This is the reason that Australians get a generalisation made about them as arrogant… you don’t do yourselves any favours. Grow up and look at the real issues here. Human life, not vowels

    • TheRealDave says:

      10:56am | 23/02/11

      Its called humor Anna, look it up. Both Australians and Kiwi’s, and most other nations for that matter, do tend to use humour in some of our darkest moments to hopefully give a bit of comfort and or relief to those that may be suffering or grieving at this time.

      Get over yourself.

    • Grumpy says:

      11:05am | 23/02/11

      Can any Kiwis tell me how many points on the Richter scale this earthquake was?

    • Phil says:

      08:52pm | 23/02/11

      The Real Dave, over 85 people have died mate. Where is the humour?

    • Anna says:

      12:21pm | 28/02/11

      Thanks Phil. Absolutely. Where is the humour in death? I am all for a bit of banter when it comes to sheep, fish & chips and all the other (tired old) Australian jokes aimed at Kiwis however I obviously am only speaking for myself when I say my humour does not extend to death. Perhaps you should be the one to look up humour “TheRealDave”.
      PS Did you see any jokes come from NZ aimed at the QLD floods or cyclones?

    • Anna says:

      09:03am | 23/02/11

      Great article Anthony, what a great attitude

    • Andrew Thrift says:

      09:11am | 23/02/11

      Good article, Anthony. Thanks to the support from over there, and for your rescue specialists who I just saw on TV. And, as an Englishman who now lives here, I completely concur with your sentiments regarding neighbouring states grin

    • Sarah says:

      09:28am | 23/02/11

      It’s an absolute tragedy what has happened in New Zealand, if only other media outlets were reporting it as such. I have been absolutely disgusted with the coverage I have seen so far with reporters talking to emergency services personnel in Christchurch and the first thing they are asking about is the one half-Australian citizen that has been killed. It’s insensitive and embarrassing.  Who cares where any of these people come from, it shouldn’t matter right now, what matters is New Zealand receiving all the help they need from anyone who is in a place to offer it. And it would be nice if Australia could offer it without feeling the need to brag about how many people/how much help we are sending over. It’s disgraceful how smug we come across in the wake of another country’s tragedy.

    • Roja says:

      11:07am | 23/02/11

      This is not isolated to Australia - there is an old sketch from the UK done in the secret policemans other ball playing on exactly this. 

      Along the lines of “In China today, three thousand people were killed - fortunately however none of them were English, although two Englishmen were inconvenienced by having to wait an extra thirty minutes for a bus.”

      That said, I do agree that this kind of one eyed reporting should have been done away with back in the 70’s.

    • Adam DIver says:

      12:20pm | 23/02/11

      You know how tragedy is supposed to bring out the best of us? I would suggest (ant’s article aside) that it is the exact opposite for the media.

    • Neens says:

      06:19pm | 23/02/11

      Actually a kiwi to you, we are grateful for our oz kin chiming to help,  and if you have broadcasts showing some concern for your own, it’s in context, here in nz it’s all about the tragedy but acknowledging we’re not the only country in distress.  Cheers peps for any concern you may have that the real issue isn’t being addressed, but in nz we’re feeling the international love so just thank you all!!!!!

    • Peter says:

      09:30am | 23/02/11

      Great article, but I’m not sure about the “pray like hell” bit.  Hell, I imagine, would take great delight in all the carnage and death and would be praying for more.

    • vfvbs says:

      09:44am | 23/02/11

      ‘Here at The Punch, we have several TV monitors at our disposal, but one is religiously tuned to Sky News all day long.’

      Maybe you could turn those off and publish some comments? I mean it is your job after all.

    • cate says:

      09:51am | 23/02/11

      Just help them by sending money and stop banging on about all this mateship, cobber, ANZAC language and how wonderful we are as Aussies. Sheesh! Get over yourselves. We’re neighbours. Let’s help. End of story.

    • Brenda says:

      09:59am | 23/02/11

      I like this story and our Kiwi neighbours who make New Zealand the peaceful, welcoming place it is. 
      The ANZAC bond represents both Kiwi and Australian spirit together, in good times and bad.

    • Grumpy says:

      10:52am | 23/02/11

      I like flight of the concords.

      “..and you guys are from some country no one has heard of”...

    • Stefan Morris says:

      11:02am | 23/02/11

      ‘I bet England would rather have New Zealand than France across the channel.’ Of course England would but I know that NZ wouldn’t.

    • mary monica roche says:

      11:19am | 23/02/11

      The recent disaster record for 2010 2011 has consisted of floods in the Australian states of Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia,revolutions in Middle East countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya,Bahrain, Lebanon, Israel, Iran and Yemen, and earthquakes in Christchurch, Indonesia, Mexico, China, Chile,and even Australia.
      But no disease nor disaster will match the March 26 2011 New South Wales Australia State Election.

    • marley says:

      02:10pm | 23/02/11

      So, you’re saying that the forthcoming NSW election is going to be more of a disaster than the deaths of 65 people?

      Crass. Very crass. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • marley says:

      05:56pm | 23/02/11

      Oh, and you should be booted out of the AUT (that’s the Australian Union of Trolls). 

      Trolls are supposed to be witty, or at least funny. You’re just tiresome.  Kind of like that other well-known humorist, Fred Niles.  Lift your game.  Or go write comments in your local bowls club circular.

    • Michael N says:

      11:41am | 23/02/11

      Great country, great mates on every level. You can get through this without us NZ but as your close friends, we’re here to help wherever we can. You’re in our thoughts guys.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:00pm | 23/02/11

      I say let us dump the USA the UK & let them paddle their own canoes, particularly when they want us to join in their illegal invasions of other countries.
      Ban the US’ nuclear ships, spy centres (Pine Gap), forbid any US military,Air Force or Navy troops to set foot in our country. Remember they don’t allow ours into theirs.
      Let us join with New Zealand they are 100% more decent, kinder people than the others. We, just like NZ, don’t need the US or UK, NZ has shown that ever since they told the USA to keep it’s nuclear ships out of NZ & it’s territory. We should learn from NZ that we, too, can stand on our own feet & not sycophantically do exactly as they, the USA & UK, tell us.
      We should give, with no strings attached, anything & everything NZ needs to help them through this hideous disaster.

    • Rob says:

      08:34pm | 23/02/11

      @Robert S McCormack.Fair enough the septics Bobby, but we brought your ancestors out here to the most beautiful country in the world.Not in canoes either.The 18th century equivalent of the Queen Mary 2.Nothing too good for our loaf pilferers.Now you want to dump us.Scandalous Bobby,shame on you.

    • Bazza says:

      12:19pm | 23/02/11

      “It’s remarkable how much of the NZ news is actually Australian news” And it’s amazing how Australia doesn’t feature on any news in the rest of the world.

    • Mr Hunter says:

      04:03pm | 23/02/11

      It has been a HIDEOUS summer worst I have ever known. I hope things improve come March 1. I am now somewhat dreading November 30.

    • Bite Me says:

      07:53pm | 23/02/11

      Fantastic input this afternoon from NIDA,Hawker Gatton and left Media with the co-ordinated rehearsed closeup of Gillards red and weepy eyes(minus weeping)this should be enough for the frenzy of sales when they call an early election,a media moment that will no doubt convince the dullards from fountaingate to vote for the fake Gillard

    • Shane says:

      08:23pm | 23/02/11

      Here in NZ we are all holding our breath that the Christchurch quake death toll stops rising (I fear not), and that the ground stops trembling long enough to ease the frayed nerves of the city’s residents. The reality has yet to set in. People know when it is day and when it is night, but not much more. Like the thousands of recently displaced Aussies who suffered from your terrible floods, the little things like time don’t matter, just the important stuff, survival stuff, family and neighbours.
      We are humbled by your PM Gillard’s offer of support and ‘mateship’. We are humbled by your brave USAR rescue people - their efforts have already proved heroic. And, your doctors who were attending a conference in the city at the time, immediately swung into action when the quake hit to support the immense medical needs of our suffering.
      The ‘ANZAC spirit’ is very ingrained in our Kiwi psyche. We feel honoured to be the ‘NZ’ part. You have helped make us who we are. We benchmark ourselves against you in all areas of life. We are strong because of you. You are the big brother that we love to have around when times are tough, like now. And who we love to beat in the backyard brawl. Dare I say it, perhaps one of the reasons our All Blacks do well is because your Wallabies are hell bent on kicking our backsides.
      When it comes down to it, we are much alike. We are cut of the same cloth. We rumble with each other at home, but when away we stick up for one another. Perhaps being placed here in the southern hemisphere our combined history calls for this very spirit.
      Thank you Aussies, we are proud to have you as our brother. We are humbled by all your support. And, I am 100% sure, that in the future when you need our help, PM Key will return the favour.

    • Mandy Duncan says:

      10:03pm | 23/02/11

      Gosh what a shock, went back home ChCh in November and saw all the left over damage from Sept, after not being there for a while I forgot just how pretty ChCh really is, but after yesterday, Christchurch has now been crushed.. I will for one, be once again raising what I can for the earthquake fund.  I suffered with Floods in South Australia that were not shown 2 weeks ago and it was nothing like this. After speaking to family, so sad that the people now explain ChCh as a city that you feel like you are living on Jelly. Please keep the Kiwi spirt up and I hope there is more good news stories soon.

    • Ken Leauanae says:

      06:08am | 24/02/11

      as a Kiwi, it is very humbling to see so many messages of support from across the Tasman, our country and yours in the past 6 mths have suffered terribly from the hand of mother nature, it shows that regardless of the results on our many sporting fields or businesses that we can put rivalries aside and reveal our true ANZAC spirit…Thank You Australia

    • son of a banker says:

      06:51pm | 24/02/11

      100% pure wool.

      We all deal with natural tragic events in individual ways.
      I hate how media (and politicians—joined at the hip)  use these events to sell their bloodied wares.
      Shit happens - people deal with it - modern-day journalists just get in the way.


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