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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Cab Press Conference: Foreign Buyers Register, TPP And Serco

At a press conference today in Wellington, John Key discussed the foreign buyers register as well as the TPP and Serco. Key was questioned on whether a stamp tax might be used as a tool to deal with foreign buyers. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood Satire: Serco To Outsource Prison To Public Sector

In response to high-profile failings, multinational omnicorporation Serco will introduce public management in its prison system. Serco's New Zealand manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, has announced plans for managers from the Department of Corrections to run the Mt Eden Correctional Facility. More>>

National Party Conference: Plans To Nudge Immigrants Towards Regions

The Government will introduce a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of workers, skills and investment across New Zealand, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Relieved Of Control At Mt Eden Prison, Retains Contract

Multi-national private prison operator Serco has been forced to hand back control of Auckland's Mt Eden remand prison to the Department of Corrections, which has used a 'step-in' clause in its contract with Serco following a string of increasingly serious allegations about contraband, prisoner injuries and a death. More>>

ALSO:

Other Experiments: Failing Charter School Stays Open 'For Kids'

Education Minister Hekia Parata says she has given Te Pumanawa o te Wairua in Northland a chance to continue operating because of her concerns about finding other educational opportunities for its students. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news