Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Security challenges for CERA staff in Residential Red Zone

Safety and security challenges for CERA staff in the Residential Red Zone

Tourists using bedrooms as toilets and post-settlement bonfires are just some of the challenges faced by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority staff tasked with keeping an eye on Crown-owned properties in the Residential Red Zone.

With over 3,000 properties yet to be cleared in the red zone, CERA staff have a big job in ensuring the properties are maintained until all insurance-related assessments are completed, and demolition or relocation can get underway.

CERA chief executive Roger Sutton says while the majority of the issues are run-of-the-mill, some of the work the security staff needs to do beggars belief.

“We have long been using motion-sensor security cameras on many properties, and that initiative alone has assisted with numerous criminal investigations. But it has got to the point where we decided staff needed to keep a video record of some of their encounters in case that could also assist police,” Mr Sutton says.

Recent events have seen CERA staff discover tourists setting up camp inside a Crown-owned home, with their tent pitched in the lounge and a BBQ set up for cooking beside it.

“That may well have been a misunderstanding, but the behavior of the group to then use one of the bedrooms as a toilet was inexplicable. It caused a health risk to my staff, but in general is just disgusting behaviour and not something we would want other tourists to think was acceptable anywhere in New Zealand.”

Snippets of three recent incidents CERA staff have encountered have been released today to give an example of the scenarios.

As well as the indoor-camping issue, staff recently checked out a situation where former property owners had been paid out for their property by the Crown, but nearby residents had heard that a large “farewell bonfire” was being planned for the house.

The video footage shows the CERA staff asking the former home owner about information circulating on social media.

In a third scenario captured on film, CERA staff are called to check a Crown-owned home which neighbours fear has been broken into. A check with Armourguard staff shows this is not the case, and the neighbours were able to be reassured.

Mr Sutton says the reassurance component is a key part of the work CERA staff carry out in the red zone.

“There are obviously many people living right next door to the red zone areas and they need to feel safe and secure. So we do everything we can to reassure them that we are keeping an eye on the properties, and any potential bad behaviour in the general area.”

“Since the first residents began moving out of the red zone, we have worked closely with the Fire Service and Police to manage the workload jointly.”

Mr Sutton says there is still a need to reiterate that settled properties in the red zone are Crown-owned – not abandoned.

“It’s not a free-for-all for anyone to use or destroy them, and we need to make sure we work through the insurance issues and EQC issues before properties are demolished or relocated, so that the tax-payer gets the best value out of the money being spent.”

“My team works hard to do that and, as the video shows, the circumstances they work in can be very challenging.”

Mr Sutton says the level of assistance for people still living in the red zone is also a huge part of the security and reassurance role, sometimes with unusual requirements.

In the recent flood one CERA staff member helped carry a paraplegic man to bed, when his caregiver was stranded outside the area by flood waters. The resident had been alone for two days and was uncomfortable in his chair.

“My staff are willing and able to help where and when they can, and I am very glad to have staff on board who genuinely care about making people feel safe, regardless of the challenges that brings.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Challenges Of Keytruda Funding

All year, the availability of the new generation of anti-cancer drugs in New Zealand has been driven by political decisions, as much as by medical ones... More>>

ALSO:

Land Swap: Setback For Ruataniwha Scheme As Forest & Bird Wins Appeal

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society has won an appeal against a proposed land swap by the Department of Conservation which would have allowed 22 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park be flooded as part of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme that will provide irrigation for farmers. More>>

ALSO:

Up: Official July Crime Stats Released

Official crime statistics for July 2016 show that Police recorded 11,171 more victimisations than the same period last year, which equates to a 2.3 per cent increase. More than three quarters of this increase can be attributed to burglaries. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Judith Collins Charm Offensive

Suddenly, Judith Collins is everyone’s new best friend. It isn’t an election year, but the Corrections/Police Minister is treating 2016 as an opportunity for a political makeover… Feel that the Police don’t attend burglaries often enough, or assiduously enough? She’s the peoples’ champ on that one. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Crime And Diplomacy

The Prime Minister's press conference today was dominated by foreign affairs and an open letter from the PM to the Chinese community on crime. More>>

ACC: Govt Caught In Unethical Cluster Bomb Investments

The ACC Fund admitted that it had $1.4 million invested in cluster munitions and nuclear weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Before responding to the Green Party’s request for information,however, ACC sold its Lockheed investment and updated its ethical investment policy. More>>

ALSO:

Local Governments To Decide: Easter Trading Bill Passes

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news