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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition ten

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition ten

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 met Civil Defence controller John Hamilton yesterday to reiterate business concerns that they need access to materials essential for re-establishing their businesses, as well as accurate, timely and appropriate information. He confirmed for me again that unauthorised demolitions had occurred, despite Civil Defence Minister John Carter repeatedly claiming publicly that there have been none. I hope Mr Hamilton is now very aware of business concerns, and of the crippling effect that non-access to their businesses is having on their livelihoods and on the jobs of the people they employ. Yesterday's government package of assistance to business is welcome, but feedback I have had in the past 24 hours is that the access problems that existed before the package was announced still exist today. I will continue to seek feedback from those who need assistance, and they will be judging the package on its appropriateness and its sufficiency. Businesses are already telli ng me they don't need advisers and they don't need mentors. They know how to run their businesses. Some of them have been doing it successfully for decades. They are telling me that what they need in some cases is low-interest loans to help them refit, re-stock and begin trading again Cash flow is one of the biggest problems they face --- or the lack of it while they can't operate. Yesterday I attended the first of the Waimakariri District Council zone meetings to advise people of the proposed timeline for land remediation work to begin, and for demolition, repair or reconstruction of houses. The meeting was very informative, and an excellent template for engaging with the community.

LIANNE DALZIEL: The future of whole suburbs and the land they stand on is in limbo thanks to the continued inaction of this government. I have been copied into a petition sent to the EQC by residents of Kingsford St, Burwood which underlines the Government's inaction, not just since February 22 but over the last seven months. While there has been some focus in the media about the viability of rebuilding in Avondale, the suburbs of Bexley, Burwood and Horseshoe Lakes face an uncertain future. Signed by over a dozen households, the petition states; "We feel that the land and houses are no longer safe or viable for remediation and we don't want to live here anymore." To me this illustrates in the most solemn way that these people are desperate Their resilience is damaged beyond repair, and they want to get out. This specific street suffered significant land damage in the September 4 earthquake and as such was categorised along with around 3,300 properties across Christchurch, as an area which would require a wide-scale, coordinated and strategic approach to repair the land. These needs have not been met. These families have been waiting seven months for action and with mixed messages and a lack of communication from government have resorted to making their own conclusions about their land being irreparable. The Government must take responsibility and disseminate timely and accurate information. I hear constituent concerns every day and families are at their wits' end. The Government is not heeding warnings that tolerance is waning. The demand for information doesn't end. This Government needs to front up with answers.

BRENDON BURNS: Frustration continues around access to the CBD cordon. Small business owners have faced a double standard; with safety concerns having been managed when VIPs want to tour the CBD, but access to their property has been consistently stalled. It is hoped that this week will see an end to the blanket one-size-fits-all approach that has been applied to date. Business owners in the Red Zone will start getting official access from Thursday - escorted to buildings which are defined as able to be briefly entered to get out materials vital to keeping businesses going. But It's not just business owners feeling frustrated. Thousands of people live within the CBD. They've got variable access even to their own homes - sometimes they are let through, other times they can be turned away. Undertakings were given yesterday that access issues will be quickly resolved. Access to electricity will remain an issue, reconnecting businesses and residential property alike may still take weeks as the CBD's cables are particularly affected and whole office blocks need to be checked before power is restored. In a welcome, allied move to improving CBD access, the three-day moratorium announced last week on 'deconstruction' of CBD buildings by the CD Controller has now extended to this coming Friday, with a review before then that might extend if further. Some credit for this can go to the just named Iconic (Interests in Conserving the Identity of Christchurch) group which I've been chairing for the last fortnight, bringing together some CBD commercial building owners/developers and heritage building advocates. We've had two delegations to see the CD Controller about the unwarranted demolition (or so attempted) of buildings without owners being alerted or consulted. Today I am attending the midday CD meeting at Hagley Park and my caravan will be on the cnr of Tuam St and Ollivers Rd in Phillipstown.

RUTH DYSON: Christchurch is still thick with silt. Today I am travelling around my electorate doing 'silt clean-up.' A lot of hard work has been done to clean up silt in the streets but there is still a lot to be done. I want to make sure that no area has been neglected. While silt liquefaction has been rated as a low health risk, when inhaled it can still agitate respiratory conditions and cause significant discomfort. If people have to work with silt they are encouraged to avoid silt that may have been contaminated with sewerage and to wear waterproof gloves, gumboots and a dust mask. If you need sewage removed from your property the Christchurch City Council can be contacted on 941 8999. I have written to the schools in my electorate congratulating them on their efforts, over and above the call of duty, and in the face of personal trauma, on the day of the earthquake. The lengths teachers and staff went to to keep children safe is a credit to the profession and to our city Feedback I have received from parents has been fantastic. Some parents who were stuck in gridlock traffic following the earthquake were unable to get to their children until six or seven in the evening. They arrived to find their children safe with teachers standing by unconditionally. As schools reopen and children return to routine there remain many unsung heroes and I want to make a point of thanking them for their exceptional and heroic service to their communities.


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