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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 145


16 November 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 145

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.
Labour will:
• 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:
• Ensuring widespread EQC coverage – making it universal by collecting levies through the local authority rates system.
• Increasing the cap on EQC Cover from $100,000 in consultation with the EQC and the insurance sector.
• Making the levy proportionate by basing it on rateable values.
• Reviewing the Operations of Earthquake Commission to ensure the lessons of the Canterbury earthquake are used to secure the long-term reliability of the Commission
• Covering temporary accommodation expenses.
For full policy details go to:
CLAYTON COSGROVE: It would appear that insurers are upping the ante in terms of some of the games and tactics they are employing in dealing with constituents. Recently I met a couple on the street who are having a massive battle just to get basic information out of their insurer. Unfortunately as customers their calls are not being returned and any attempt to gain information is simply being stonewalled. They have now engaged a lawyer, not to dispute their claim because it's not at that stage yet, they simply want to use the status of a lawyer to try and prize out information. Unfortunately this large insurer won't even return the lawyer’s calls. If we've reached the stage where constituents are being stonewalled and batted away and there is a total refusal to listen to their concerns or work with them then we definitely have a market failure. Some of these insurers are exhibiting no accountability to their customers who have paid insurance premiums all their lives. If we've got to the point, as we have in this case, where something as simple as a phone call is not being returned and insurers have stopped engaging with their customers then how does a person have any hope of progressing their recovery if their insurer’s failure is off the hook? It has to be asked: what is the Government doing if anything to hold these insurers to account and to compel them to live up to their commercial responsibilities?
BRENDON BURNS: Communications from CERA continues to be a shambles. Last night’s Geo Dome meeting for recently green-zoned property owners was attended by only 50 people, similar to the previous day’s lunchtime numbers. One woman from Salisbury St said she’d only found out about it by chance and could have brought 60 other residents if they had been notified. A CERA spokesperson later told me details about the meetings were on the website. This morning I found it, buried within a Chief Executive’s update which is dated Monday November 14 but which was posted up November 15 (after last night’s meeting?). Crucial information for homeowners continues to emerge from such meetings. Last night one major insurer, IAG, advised that when major repairs actually do start – it won’t be before February at best – it will prioritise people, with currently uninhabitable homes first up for work. CERA CEO Roger Sutton advised that even if you are blue-coded for foundations, TC3, if your individual geotech report and engineering analysis suggest a lesser repair is satisfactory, TC2 or even TC1 foundations may suffice. He acknowledged the delays to rebuilding/major repairs but said this should allow the Department of Building and Housing to develop cheaper, easier foundation options. He said it was possible people may be able to have their foundation codings changed if supported by the individual geotech reports but confirmed there is not yet any review process for those who want to appeal their red or green zonings
LIANNE DALZIEL: Tonight I am attending the world premiere of When A City Falls, a feature documentary on the earthquakes that have done so much damage to our city. Tonight’s premiere doubles as the official reopening of Reading Cinemas at The Palms mall, which has been closed since the quake – we have really missed having a theatre on this side of town. The film is directed by Gerard Smyth, who seemed to be everywhere with his camera after the quakes. In February he came to our food distribution centre that the community set up in New Brighton and he followed the recovery planning that we started here as well. The people of New Zealand have some idea of the traumatic impact on the city centre, but not such a clear idea of what happened in the wider city especially the eastern communities. Although I don’t know what the film covers, because I saw Gerard so often in those early days, I am sure that he has captured the essence of what was an incredible community response. I am equally sure it is going to be very moving re-living those early days especially after the February quake, but it is the strength of the people who stepped up to the plate that will be etched on my memory forever. The film will open in cinemas nationwide on November 24. Trailer here:
RUTH DYSON: The Canterbury Labour team met yesterday with some of the Ecan Commissioners in relation to our concern about the impact on our constituents of their inability to get consent to rebuild their homes (either on their existing section or in a new area) with an approved log-burner. This has caused a lot of concern and distress to people, given their insurance policies which, in the main, say that they will only replace like with like, the fact that most of us quite anxious about future times without power for cooking or hot water, and the fact that none of us have chosen to be in this situation of building a new home - this is a decision thrust upon us! I completely agree and support what is clearly the driving motivation behind the thinking of the Ecan Commissioners - to clean up our totally rubbish air which literally kills prematurely hundreds of people each year. So I don't want to lower the standards for air quality! But these are extraordinary times and new thinking should be applied to all problems. I felt as though the Commissioners picked up that point at our meeting. I look forward to hearing back from them soon about how we can progress this issue and I am really confident that with their good will, we can progress this to good resolution for our constituents and quality air standards for Canterbury.

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