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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition six

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition six

The Labour Party's Christchurch electorate MPs, Clayton Cosgrove (Waimakariri), Ruth Dyson (Port Hills), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East) and Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central) have started a regular bulletin to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.

CLAYTON COSGROVE: I am writing urgently to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Civil Defence Minister John Carter, and trying to contact John Carter by telephone, to discuss the unauthorised demolition of commercial buildings in the CBD. We are getting a great deal of feedback from businesses angry that they are not even being consulted about their future. It seems that even CD is unaware of how many buildings are actually being targeted for demolition. These businesses are talking about their future viability and their livelihoods. They employ people, and if they go under it will cost more jobs. I hope to have further information later today on progress I make with the ministers. I am also attending today's briefing with the Ministry of Education on the re-opening of schools, and attending an informal function to recognise both voluntary and paid staff members of Waimakariri District Council. Last night I spoke at a counselling programme in Kaiapoi for men under stress because of quake issues. These guys are heroes, and they have the guts to front up and say they need help for themselves and their families to cope. I urge other men to do the same in other parts of Christchurch.

LIANNE DALZIEL: This morning I have Labour MP David Shearer with me in the electorate. David is an international expert on disaster recovery with a broad experience managing large scale relief operations. I will show David some of the most significant areas of damage in the electorate and introduce him to some of the key players in the recovery effort. At 3pm this afternoon David will accompany me to a meeting I have arranged with City Councillor Chrissie Williams for elected representatives, community leaders and community groups, from the Burwood-Pegasus ward and the Christchurch East electorate .This meeting aims to facilitate community discussion and recovery planning at a grass-roots level. Christchurch East must not be ignored in the wider rebuild and this meeting will allow us to generate our own response. Chrissie Williams and I both attended recovery workshops post the September 4 earthquake and understand work is needed now to ensure that the wellbeing of our communities can be supported in a sustainable way. Recovery planning is not a one-size-fits-all model and it must be driven by the local community. Recovery presents us with some real opportunities for restoration and renewal; our communities must be fully engaged in our recovery if we are to be successful. The decisions that are made now will impact on our communities for decades to come.

BRENDON BURNS: The issue of the demolition of inner city commercial buildings without permission is becoming more contentious by the day. Central City Business Association chairman Antony Gough tells me he has had to make lightning raids on buildings to retrieve critical equipment. It is absolutely essential that commercial buildings in the CBD are protected and preserved if at all possible to ensure the viability of central Christchurch's commercial future. I am attending a meeting of inner-city retailers today and expect the demolition issue to be at the top of the agenda. My electorate caravan will be in Mairehau today, and I will be attending a Ministry of Education briefing meeting with my colleagues to discuss issues around the re-opening of schools.

RUTH DYSON: Today my focus will be to continue consultation with those City Council tenants who need urgent repairs to their homes. While many families remain on these properties, they cannot live there safely in the long term. Urgent repairs to essential fixtures like hot water cylinders are needed The response from the City Council has been slow and I intend to take this up with them directly today. I will also be keeping a close eye on struggling Housing New Zealand tenants who have had their rent freeze discontinued this week. With autumn in full swing I intend to get a better steer on what Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee's plan is as the city nears winter. Communities cannot be left out in the cold. Many families living in damaged homes with damaged chimneys and hot water cylinders will not have alternative options for heating. Even cracks which seem minor can and will cause inefficiencies in heating and need to be addressed. At midday today my colleagues Lianne Dalziel, Clayton Cosgrove, Brendon Burns and I will attend a meeting with the Ministry of Education to address issues around the re-opening of schools including bus routes. I am also pleased to see that the hard work of the National Distribution Union has ensured those made redundant by the closure of the Godfrey Hirst factory can come to terms with a decision of whether or not to relocate without unnecessary financial pressure.

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