Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 137
Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 137
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.
CANTERBURY EARTHQUAKE RECOVERY PLAN
* Purchase 1500 properties and
sell them at cost to red zoned residents
* Ring-fence $100 million as compensation for home improvements
* Release all available geotechnical information
* Resolve the insurance gridlock
* Intervene in the insurance market as a last resort
* Make community engagement a priority
* Use youth unemployment to fill the skills gap
* Establish an independent insurance commissioner
For full policy details go to: http://www.labour.org.nz/news/leadership-needed-to-rebuild-canterbury
CLAYTON COSGROVE: The Minister of Earthquake Recovery has, in using his extraordinary war-time powers for the first time, acted in an unconstitutional and draconian fashion. Several weeks ago Mr Brownlee used his powers to allow residential development in Kaiapoi within the airport noise corridor. The airport had prevented residential development for many years using a 50 dba noise limit. Freeing up land in Kaiapoi was the right thing to do and at the time I welcomed the decision. I have been advocating for a common-sense solution to this issue for a number of years, including writing a private members' bill which would have provided a win-win result for all parties. The noise corridor extends from to Kaiapoi, through Christchurch to areas like Harewood, Bishopdale and Belfast. Just like in Kaiapoi many landowners within the corridor in other parts of Canterbury have been pursuing the opportunity to develop their land. I am aware of a number who were about to proceed to the Environment Court before the earthquakes, to contest the airport's development ban. The disturbing reality is that Mr Brownlee has used his powers to effectively expunge the rights of these landowners to proceed through the normal legal appeal processes, including their ability to appeal to the Environment Court in respect of the development ban. Everybody expected, that in allowing development in the Kaiapoi noise zone, the status quo would remain for other landowners in other parts of Christchurch and they would be able to continue to exercise their legal rights through the normal legal processes. Mr Brownlee has now taken those rights away from them. Landowners now face a devaluation of their land and the Minister didn't even have the decency to do this in an open, transparent and public way. Mr Brownlee owes these people an explanation but sadly I fear it will be Mr Brownlee's way or the highway. All this at a time when he is saying we need more land to be made available.
BRENDON BURNS: We are five days on from last week's major announcements which saw more than 6000 sections go from orange to green and no word yet on the promised community engagement from CERA. Sure, it can take a while to organise meetings but the announcement date was signalled in Cabinet papers weeks earlier and there is no update yet on the CERA website. Being zoned green is not the end of uncertainty, especially when large chunks of my electorate are now coded blue, meaning the most expensive foundation work is now required to meet the new building code. We were assured insurers were informed about the zoning and code changes yet constituents talking to their insurers are being told by insurance staff they only know as much as homeowners, each dependent on what's in the media. It is not yet clear to homeowners who pays what when it comes to the now required individual geo-tech reports, engineering assessments and new foundations. A lawyer friend living in now green-zoned Richmond North has also raised the question of what blue coded foundation work will do to property values. Her property requires new foundations (likely to start at $10,000 and perhaps several times that) but some neighbours do not. Will her neighbours' properties be of considerably less value in a few years' time? These are among the many questions my constituents want answers to urgently.
LIANNE DALZIEL: I am taking Phil Goff and Clayton Cosgrove to Seabreeze Close today. It was the 'picture post card' of the damage done by liquefaction and lateral spread in the residential communities after the September and February earthquakes. It is now like a ghost town. The PM went there in September last year and offered comforting words to the residents, who were shell-shocked by the experience. The Minister of Finance went there with the EQC and their contracted engineers (and a media scrum) on the Friday after the earthquake. (I had been calling for a coordinated response to the most damaged areas for four days by then.) The following Monday night I hosted the first community meeting where the engineers explained what liquefaction was and how lateral spreading had ripped apart the unreinforced concrete foundations. We were then introduced to the EQC rules. It was very apparent that the biggest issue was going to be the limitation on what is paid for All of the government's messages at the time about 'preserving equity' were about this issue. And yet they have walked away from even discussing this. And now we are being denied access to the experts to help people understand why some areas are red and others are blue-green, which is being described as 'the red zone without the money'. The PM needs to come back to find out how people feel now and answer their questions. Words of comfort are important but leadership means accountability for the decisions as well.
RUTH DYSON: I
had the pleasure of attending the Canterbury Apprentices and
Industry Trainees Graduation Ceremony last evening - and
what a buzz that was! This was the second attempt at
holding the event, with the first occasion being called off
due to snow. The audience was of course amused when we were
told of a tornado warning in our weather forecast! A large
number of proud graduates received their certificates from
Mayors Bob Parker, Kelvin Coe and David Ayers, backing the
strong message from the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs of the
need for investment in skills and training, particularly in
Canterbury. The Woolston Brass Band provided magnificent
entertainment and the evening was acknowledged by one of the
graduates. Wayid Yosefi came to New Zealand in 2004 from
Afghanistan, fluent in the country of his birth but without
any English language. This year he won second place in
Baker of the Year, and is a supervisor at Couplands in
Hornby. He gave a generous and thoughtful speech in
impeccable English. The whole audience was bursting with
pride that we gave this young man a home nation and a
future, which he has grasped with both hands and worked so
hard to make a success. Great night!
Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings