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Queen forwards Christchurch plea to Governor General

Christchurch, New Zealand, 6 March 2014:

Her Majesty The Queen forwards a plea for help from the residents of Christchurch to the Governor General in New Zealand.

Christchurch residents sent a letter to Her Majesty The Queen on 16 January 2014 with a plea for help.

After consulting with the office of the New Zealand Governor General on what could be done when the authorities refuse to provide residents with answers to reasonable questions regarding the post- earthquake recovery in Christchurch 2010-2011, the decision was taken to forward the unanswered questions to The Queen with a plea for help.

Despite multiple letters having been sent to the various authorities involved with the earthquake recovery in Christchurch, no answers have been provided to critical questions involving the future of thousands of the city's residents.

The current handling of the recovery could force people to remain on severely damaged, hazardous land that is subject to flooding, liquefaction, subsidence, lateral spreading, and even to remain on land with an active fault line that has caused downward tectonic movement.

The government is allowing unregulated repair approaches that do not mitigate the hazards introduced by the earthquakes.

The flood event that occurred in Christchurch on 3-4 March underlined the fact that ignoring land damage and avoiding raising house levels does not mitigate risk. The damage will re-occur, whether in a seismic or flood event.

Her Majesty sent a letter in reply on the 29 January, promising to forward the matter to the Governor General for his consideration.

("The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter of 16th January, and to say that Her Majesty has taken careful note of your concerns for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, whose homes were damaged in the earthquakes of 20I0 and 2011.

I should explain, however, that this is not a matter in which The Queen would personally intervene and you were, of course, quite right to address your comments and questions to the Governor-General.

My only recourse is to forward your letter to the Governor-General's office so that your approach to Her Majesty may be known.")

Empowered Christchurch has since then forwarded information to both Prince William and Prince Charles.

At the third anniversary of the 22 February earthquake ceremony, it was comforting to hear the letter that Prince William sent to the residents of Christchurch.

Following that, came an announcement that the Prince will be visiting Christchurch next month.

We, the victims of the earthquake, live in the hope that the wrongs done can finally be put right so that we can have a brighter future to look forward to.

"We believe that some of the zoning decisions in Christchurch encourage unsustainable practices that are a grave threat to our future. This is not responsible recovery. This practice is transferring the damage to the residents.

This became evident in the flooding event in Christchurch on 3-4 March.

Where no sustainable solutions can be found after three years, facts have to be faced and some areas will have to be re-zoned. This suffering has to stop.

The risk that is being placed on residents is, in my opinion, unacceptable and indefensible", said Hugo Kristinsson, founder of Empowered Christchurch.


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