@bythewell - The problem with the buildings in Christchurch wasn't that they had masonry foundations necessarily. The problem was that there were a lot of historic buildings which were made without earthquakes in mind at all.
They would have had traditional masonry foundations, and I don't think those have much give to them.
The region was not known to be earthquake prone, so even residential foundations which generally don't need all that much to be made safe, weren't required to be built to that kind of code.
I think that, when rebuilding, people will take earthquakes very seriously and will integrate every measure possible into their foundations, masonry or otherwise.