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Quake Outcasts on Judith Collins' UN remarks

Quake Outcasts on Judith Collins' UN remarks

Geneva, Switzerland and Christchurch, New Zealand

During the 18th Session of the UN Universal Periodic Review for human rights currently ongoing in Geneva, the government representative Judith Collins made some remarks which were untrue.

In reference to the human rights implications following the government's quake policies, Ms Collins stated that there are 8,000 [red zoned] homes which are sitting on damaged land that presented "unacceptable level of life risk."

However the government has always been adamant in its reason for its red zoning policy- which was simply to advise people of how long the rebuild might take, and that no immediate life risk whatsoever was present. The only exception is the rockfall danger on the Port Hills which number in the hundreds, not 8,000.

Ms Collins also stated in front of foreign diplomats that following the Canterbury earthquakes "the land liquified" and that "where there was land, there became swamp or water" [quote corrected 10/2/14]. This is grossly untrue as all Cantabrians know very well now the scientific term "liquefy" means solid material such as soil can shake like liquid during a seismic event, and then return to normal. The land simply does not magically turn into water.

Quake Outcasts Co-spokesperson Ernest Tsao thinks her remarks to UN delegates were intended to downplay the seriousness of her government's breach of red zone residents' human rights, and to trivialise the losses faced by homeowners who are fighting for fair compensation for the red zoning of their homes.

The High Court in August found the government's red zone policy violated residents' human rights.

Ms Collins spoke of "context" and "story" when speaking to Mike Hoskins on ZB, suggesting that allegations of human rights violations by her government are perhaps false.

Mr Tsao believes that her remarks to the UN "grossly distorted the truth" and "were aimed at neutralising valid criticisms of the government on human rights issues in front of the UN", and that her false remarks "put a huge black spot on New Zealand's otherwise good human rights record."

=== ENDS ===

Released By:
Quake Outcasts New Zealand– Association for the Earthquake Affected Homeowners
Christchurch, New Zealand
Spokespersons: Ernest Tsao, David Millar.

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