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Secondary stressors for earthquake affected residents

18 March 2014

Secondary stressors now a larger factor for earthquake affected residents

Results of the third Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority Wellbeing Survey released today show secondary stressors are now more keenly felt by those affected by the earthquakes.

The survey was conducted for CERA by Nielsen Research between August and October 2013, with 2,476 residents selected randomly from the electoral roll in Christchurch city, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

Overall, three quarters of Greater Christchurch residents rate the quality of their life positively, which remains consistent with surveys taken in September 2012 and April 2013.

CERA chief executive Roger Sutton says the results also show that the earthquakes are now having less of an impact on many residents’ lives than six months ago.

“While most respondents do acknowledge there are areas of their lives which are still affected by the earthquakes, the focus has changed. We used to hear about the anxiety people felt about aftershocks, dealing with frightened children and work safety concerns.”

“Those stressors are being replaced with frustrations about traffic, and other work-related issues.”

Mr Sutton says pressure around EQC and insurer issues continues for many people, although this has improved since September 2012.

The range of factors noted by those who said their stresses were EQC and insurance related included a long repair process, personal inconvenience, emotional fallout and lack of information.

“This is not being ignored. The Government has commissioned work to look at the system and identify blockages that are causing the on-going stress in the community,” Mr Sutton says.

“All of the groups involved are keenly working together but, parallel to that, I expect to see EQC and insurers continuing to strengthen their own processes to minimise the stress on residents and deliver on their forecast deadlines.”

The survey shows that those living in Selwyn are significantly more likely to rate their quality of life positively than those living in either Christchurch city or Waimakariri.

The Wellbeing Survey was commissioned to help guide the ongoing work of CERA and its partners, including local councils, the Canterbury District Health Board, the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

Full survey results can be viewed at www.cera.govt.nz

ENDS

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