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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 120


3 October 2011

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 120
A regular bulletin started by the Labour Party’s Christchurch electorate MPs, Clayton Cosgrove (Waimakariri), Ruth Dyson (Port Hills), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East) and Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central) to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.

Clayton Cosgrove: Despite Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee’s recent trip to Monaco, the Government continues to send Cantabrians mixed messages about the future and stability of the private insurance market and the future availability of insurance for residential and commercial buildings. Gerry Brownlee came back from Monaco telling everyone insurers would not leave town when in reality this was always self-evident. Despite the Minister’s rosy predictions for the sector at large, we have the NZ Insurance Council telling Cantabrians that the availability of future earthquake insurance is under question. Then we have Bernard Hickey noting that “Swiss insurance giant Zurich also announced it would stop writing new earthquake cover for areas outside of Auckland, Northland and Waikato, which means the most earthquake prone areas of Wellington and Christchurch would no longer be covered.” So the question is what did Gerry Brownlee achieve from his trip to Monaco? – the answer is nothing. You have increasing noises being made from people like Peter Townsend the head of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce suggesting that government intervention may well be required. The critical point here is that this is about regenerating economic confidence, which is currently stymied by the insurance gridlock. Gerry Brownlee and the government’s plan (if there is one!) seems to be ---let the invisible hand of the market work it out. The only problem is that by the time this happens serious damage may be done to New Zealand’s second biggest economy.

BRENDON BURNS: A warm weekend in Christchurch encouraged us all out into spring weather. Among yesterday’s events was the Papanui Youth Development Trust Community Day, which grows every year. This energetic trust is now organising a community radio station to add to the services provided. The Shirley Shine event at Macfarlane Park celebrates this community’s resilience and diversity, with hundreds turning out and enjoying the stalls and music. Last night, the NZ/China Friendship Society held a dinner celebrating China’s National Day. This included speeches by myself and the newly arrived Consul-General for Christchurch, Madame Tan Xiutian. Her appointment and the opening of the consulate represents a considerable investment by China, which has become the only nation with professional diplomats based in Christchurch. This comes as China last week signed a string of memorandums after meetings in Wellington involving Government Ministers and Vice-Premier Hiu Liangyu, including one between PwC (formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and the China Development Bank. Finance Minister Bill English said this could result in greater co-operation on major development projects, including in Canterbury. A figure of $1billion has been mentioned.

LIANNE DALZIEL: Today I am presenting my submission on the draft central city plan in the hope that I can persuade the council that their planning for the central city needs to be connected to the rest of the city in the recovery planning process. I am concerned that as things stand we will end up with a huge ‘disconnect’ between the CBD and the rest of the city. This is not the council’s fault; it is a direct result of the planning process, which has the council driving the development of the CBD recovery plan separately from the recovery strategy plan for the whole city, which is being run by CERA. No wonder people are unsure of just who is in charge of the recovery. Without a comprehensive recovery strategy, which includes an integrated transport strategy, that looks at the rebuilding of a range of facilities like QEII, that details the location of future residential developments and provides a clear direction from central government about the future of the red zoned residential properties that reflect the retreat from our waterways and wetlands, how can anyone be clear about the shape of the centre of the city?

RUTH DYSON: I had a fantastic time at the Bamford School Community Fun Day - our city is very keen on fun events at the moment! A big thanks to the team from Little River School who fundraised for Bamford School to help make this day possible. It put a lot of smiles on the faces of pupils and parents and staff. Talking about smiles on faces - having the Fanzone combined with the new style Redcliffs School Fair was just awesome. The crowd was huge, the weather was excellent, the poor food stallholders were run off their feet - and NZ beat Canada. Couldn't get much better (let's not talk about the absence of Carter and McCaw!). I also went to the beginning of the Ferrymead Master Planning session - the next Master Plan to get underway. This is a very exciting concept, with the Plan covering the Ferry Road corridor from Fitzgerald Avenue and then joining Main Road through to Sumner. The area is divided into A - F sections covering the different suburban clusters along the way. This will be a fantastic opportunity to look at some critical elements - the strength of the suburban shopping areas, the historical stories and how they can be captured, the access to and friendliness of community facilities, the connection to the river and to the Estuary and sea. I know that the public interest in this project will be huge and look forward to its progress.


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