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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 150

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 150

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: Last night the Waimakariri District Council Mayor and I met with a large group of very stressed and angry Kaiapoi residents who reside in Raven Quay. These residents have virtually no damage to their homes and believe that they have very little damage, if any, to their land. They are angry because they've been red zoned when everybody, including the Council, believed that they would be able to stay on their land. In one case a resident had just completed a build of a new home where permission was granted prior to red zoning. These residents have one simple demand they want the evidence to justify the decision to red zone them. They are angry at Mr Brownlee's ever changing position in respect of releasing geotechnical information. They are confused as to why Mr Brownlee has previously said he won't release this information until after the election, while the PM said at a recent leaders' debate that the Government didn't have any information to release. These people see no logic in leaving undamaged homes and land. They have no appeal rights and in effect they have no legal rights to challenge Mr Brownlee. Yet they believe he has a moral obligation to explain to them in detail why they must leave a place they love and in the process take a financial bath. The message for Mr Brownlee is clear; these people, as with other people in Canterbury in the same situation, will not give up.

BRENDON BURNS: As if communities don't have enough to cope with after earthquakes, I have learned in the last 48 hours of licensing applications for two 16 hour a day cut-price liquor outlets in low-income parts of my electorate. One is in Phillipstown/Linwood at 9 Stanmore Road. The proposal is for a store open from 7am in the morning until 11pm at night. Children attending Phillipstown Primary School, about 300m way, walk past the site. This area has the highest number of people on sickness and invalid benefits in the country and many others on very low incomes. There are already numerous liquor outlets in the area. An application has also been lodged for a store with the same opening hours at Morrison Ave, at the heart of what is largely a state housing area of Papanui. I am suspicious of the timing of these applications. A month ago I lead a successful fight against the siting of a liquor store at the entrance to Mairehau Primary School. These latest two applications emerge in the final days of an election campaign. The applicants will know that next year, Parliament will finally pass new liquor laws, which will give communities more say in opposing such applications. At the moment, the law is weighted against the communities most often targeted - low-income areas - defeating new licenses. I am working to rally local schools, businesses and residents against these two latest applications.

LIANNE DALZIEL: I challenged the Minister for Earthquake Recovery to come to Brooklands tonight for the second of the CERA meetings. It isn't fair to leave Roger Sutton to answer questions the government should be answering. I note in the paper this morning that the Minister was more than happy to have a carefully controlled media opportunity announcing that our wonderful Bottle Lake Forest Park will become a dump site again, yet again he wouldn't front the community. I see that the Council will ask for his help to facilitate a land swap for the Canterbury District Health Board to develop its site alongside Hagley Park. But where's the initiative for a land swap to re-develop Brooklands on higher ground? It seems to me that land owned by the Council (gifted by the government as I understand to allow for tree planting) on the other side of the Styx River could serve such a purpose and the tree planting could be replaced on red zone land. This wouldn't be the option for everyone, but why not try to give people genuine choices? And it would give people reassurance that the government isn't just planning to sell the land to a developer who will do the work on the land (e.g. Pegasus) and then sell the highly desirable sections to those who could afford them, with no come-back for the current homeowners. It's time to front up Mr Brownlee.

RUTH DYSON: The idea that people will be dragged from their homes because they refuse to comply with a red placard on their own home is pretty bizarre This is what faces many people in my electorate. More and more of my constituents are now openly defying the Section 124 notices that the Christchurch City Council have put on their homes, and are either staying there or moving back. There are two reasons for this. The first is the totally abysmal way that these notices have been put on people's homes, with inadequate communication at the time or between then and now. It is only in the last few weeks that street meetings have been held with the staff and residents, and it will be many weeks before all residents have been offered the opportunity to hear why they are out of their home and what the timetable is for returning. Many residents have been to these meetings and still don't know when, if ever, they might be able to return home. As has been said over and over again to the Minister but to no effect, communication is the critical part of a successful recovery. When people have been ordered to leave their home, they deserve to know why. Some have been told that the risk has been remedied (ie no longer exists) but they are still not allowed to live in their home. Others do not agree with the risk assessment but have been told that there is no review available to them. This is not true. The second reason for the defiance of the red placards is money. If you have run out of insurance, you can get the government subsidy. This does not cover the cost of renting an alternative home so you pay the shortfall. And you pay your mortgage on the home you are not allowed to live in. And you have over half the rates for that place to pay as well. And you don't have enough income to do that. People cannot print money to pay their rent. So they go home. What are their options?

Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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