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Half of Christchurch wants to move: poll

A poll of Christchurch residents has revealed half plan to leave New Zealand’s shaky city, or would if they could afford to.


The findings of an online news poll have delivered more bad news on Christchurch’s dwindling population in the wake of three major earthquakes.

The South Island city was hit by a damaging 7.1-magnitude quake last September, followed by the devastating shallow 6.3-magnitude jolt on February 22, which killed 181 people and felled most of the picturesque CBD.

A violent aftershock of the same magnitude last month killed one man and dredged up silt for a third time, leaving many strung-out residents in disbelief.

Exit figures released last month showed a record 3,000 Christchurch people emigrated to Australia and other overseas destinations between February and May to escape the instability.

An unscientific poll of 40,000 residents by the local Press newspaper has found that 21 per cent of respondents are planning to leave, while another 26 per cent would if it wasn’t for their properties or jobs.

About 13 per cent said they didn’t know what to do.

Just 36 per cent were adamant they didn’t want to go.

The city’s charismatic mayor Bob Parker has said he’s not concerned about an exodus, arguing that “the vast majority of people in this city love it.”

“We know we will get through this stage. We will rebuild our communities. Some may not be in the same places though,” he told journalists after the latest major aftershock.

Families that plan to leave are reportedly facing a backlash from fellow residents angry they have “given up” on the city.

“Goodbye and don’t bother coming back when things come right,” one commented on the Press article.

“We don’t need the likes of you who run when things get tough.”


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