television psychic Deb Webber claims she predicted the Christchurch earthquake - and says it won't be the last of the devastation.
Webber's grim prediction follows a similar and controversial claim from "moon man" Ken Ring, whose forecast of a third big earthquake on March 20 has terrified some Christchurch residents into fleeing.
Mayor Bob Parker and other leaders have condemned such "scaremongering" by psychics, soothsayers and pseudo-scientists.
Even Deb Webber's former TV co-star, fellow psychic Kelvin Cruickshank, said such predictions were unhelpful.
"The people of Christchurch need support and faith from the rest of New Zealand - they do not need to be living in fear from persons whom think they can predict events such as earthquakes, tidal-waves and major disasters," he said.
This is not the first time Webber has attracted criticism: in 2009 she was publicly condemned for claiming to know the whereabouts of missing two-year-old Aisling Symes. She said Aisling was in a ditch or hole in West Auckland. The little girl's body was eventually found in a drain.
Webber told the
Herald on Sunday
this week that she had known of the Christchurch earthquake for at least a year - the only reason she hadn't put it on her Facebook page was for fear of provoking mass hysteria.
She was surprised at the accuracy of her own prediction.
She had been giving a reading to Melbourne woman Carolyn Ronsberg on February 19. According to Ronsberg's notes, the psychic blurted out: "I'm so worried about New Zealand. There'll be a massive earthquake coming soon and it'll split the country in two."
Speaking from Melbourne this week, Ronsberg said she didn't know anyone in New Zealand and found the comments irrelevant. But when she saw news reports of the 6.3 magnitude quake, she was "freaked out" to find the prediction turn to reality.
She commented on Webber's Facebook page: "OMG! You are a modern day Nostradamus Deb! I had a telephone reading by you on Saturday just gone and during my reading you said that you feel New Zealand is about to have a massive earthquake and today it's here! "
Shortly after the quake, Webber posted a message to the people of Christchurch on her Facebook page: "We are praying that you are all safe as we know that this earthquake has caused considerable damage ... My compassion is with you, however I feel this will not be the last of the devastation."
It was because of the surprising accuracy of her previous prediction, Webber said, that she was going public with her warning of further devastation.
Webber said she wasn't completely sure if "further devastation" meant another earthquake was on its way or whether it reflected the current situation - and unlike Ring, she doesn't claim to know the exact date of the next tremor.
"I said to my friends in Christchurch, 'if I really get anything and I'm really sure I'll let you know - but when I say get out you've got to get out, okay'?"
The psychic said she didn't "do" predictions.
"I never have, it's not the area I work in."