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Callous Disregard For Thames-Coromandel Community

24 June 2002

Thames-Coromandel Mayor, Chris Lux, today responded angrily to the Insurance Council’s attack on smaller towns and communities.

Chris Ryan, of the Insurance Council, told the media that mayors of towns ‘are indifferent’ and ‘ignoring the issue’ claiming that councils go ‘cap in hand’ to the Government for handouts following Civil Defence emergencies.

Mr Lux said he finds it unbelievable that someone could show such callous disregard and ignorance for what happened, and is happening, in the Coromandel.

“To make the sorts of statements that Chris Ryan is making now – in the middle of cleaning up more than 350 homes that have been inundated with water, mud, silt and rubble, and where hundreds of lives have been affected and with one tragic loss – is not only irresponsible, but is an unwarranted cruelty to this community,” he said.

‘This event is worse than a one-in-one-hundred year event – a weather “bomb” - that no amount of pre-planning would have prepared these tiny communities for’, Mr Lux said. ‘The Coromandel, like many other idyllic places that people have settled in for over 150 years, has steep, natural topography that attracts settlement and recreation.

‘The Thames-Coromandel District Council has invested heavily in flood protection schemes, as has Environment Waikato who has the statutory responsibility to do this work,’ Mr Lux said. ‘We have never washed our hands of this issue.’

Mr Ryan is also completely misrepresenting the payout of the Government to the mayoral Relief Fund as if it were some kind of ad hoc payment from the consolidated fund.

‘This payment is part of the Government’s National Disaster Recovery Plan that was established to assist communities to overcome the costs incurred in managing a disaster. Many costs are not covered by insurance alone and there are immediate needs that communities have that this money can be used for.

‘While I applaud the long hours and hard work being undertaken by individual insurance assessors to deal with people and to process claims as quickly as possible, I am angry that the Insurance Council has not fronted to even one of the Civil Defence meetings we have held over the past four days,’ Mr Lux said.

‘I am angry that someone in a comfortable office in Wellington could kick a community like this when it is already down.’


For further information please contact
Chris Lux, District Mayor
Thames-Coromandel District Council
Ph 025 365 458

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