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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 91

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 91

The Labour Party's Christchurch electorate MPs, Clayton Cosgrove (Waimakariri), Ruth Dyson (Port Hills), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East) and Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central) have started a regular bulletin to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.

CLAYTON COSGROVE: There were two bizarre government responses yesterday. During debate in the House I asked Attorney-General Chris Finlayson a simple question: What mischief is there in giving victims' families what they want --- legal support for the Commission of Inquiry. It's not for Mr Finlayson to make spurious comparisons with the Australian bushfires, or to put up technical arguments about liaison officers. It's not for him to say what will satisfy the families. It is for the families to say that. What's the mischief in that? Mr Finlayson refused to respond. I believe he knows he's wrong. At the cross-party forum I asked Gerry Brownlee if he would release (as he and CERA promised) all geotech information that led to his decision to red zone parts of Christchurch. Answer: No. He would not do so until all Canterbury had been categorised as one colour or another. That could take six months --- well after the election. I told him constituents were likely to send in OIA requests, and asked if he would therefore decline them. Answer: Yes. Declining an OIA in advance is outrageous. It is worth asking again --- what is the mischief in providing people who are being asked to leave their homes and communities with the detailed information that led to that decision? Why would he withhold this information? Is it political management triumphing over people's needs? Where is the mischief?

RUTH DYSON: I am heading back to Christchurch for the morning to celebrate the launch of 'The Lion' emergency power generator at St Thomas of Canterbury College, with special guest Rt Hon Helen Clark. Following the September 2010 earthquake, six students, years 11 to 13, came together with a vision of making a difference after experiencing the effects of the quake. They wanted a product that would make use of readily available resources and assist others. The result is 'the Lion' generator; which generates electricity from waste heat to charge cell phone batteries, AA batteries and power a high intensity light. Perfect for an emergency! The generator is lightweight, robust, easy to use and available at a very competitive price. Best of all it is a product of Kiwi ingenuity! I hope the fog at Christchurch airport clears so that I can get there, but regardless, well done to these great young minds.

LIANNE DALZIEL: I have been following up the reintroduction of the Temporary Accommodation Assistance for people in the Red Zone. One of the exclusions from Temporary Accommodation Assistance refers to a people who "have not yet received part or full settlement from the Government or settlement from your insurance company". It is the part settlement that has raised the questions. The first question I have been asked is about land. My view is that it cannot mean the pay-out on land as that would mean someone rebuilding on their same site has coverage under the TAA until the scheme expires or the house is built, whichever comes first - but someone building elsewhere, because they are in the red zone, cannot. The second issue is whether "part settlement" should be there at all. The issues are as follows. The purpose of the TAA is to help people whose insurance runs out before their house is repaired/rebuilt, which means they have to be out of their home. And the purpose of the deposit is, in the Minister's words, so it "can be used to reduce existing indebtedness, to help arrange financing for purchasing another property, or to pay a deposit for a new home." Disqualifying people from receiving the TAA when they receive the deposit is therefore at odds with the government's stated purpose for paying the deposit, if they have to end up using it for alternative accommodation. In raising this issue, I have uncovered another anomaly about the deposit, which is that it is paid less any insurance, which obviously includes the EQC payment. I have been told by constituents that the EQC cap cannot be used for a deposit for land if it has been used to reduce mortgage indebtedness. I think this needs a little more policy work. I have also received an inquiry why the TAA is only available if you intend to live in Canterbury once you have received settlement and have asked for some comment on that too.

BRENDON BURNS: Part demolitions and uncertainty continue for AMI Stadium, home to the mighty Crusaders and perhaps the most important centre for morale in Christchurch. Last night's TV coverage of the city council's announcement today said it all --- chunks of concrete strewn everywhere; a hallowed turf which looked lunar; walls at jaunty angles. The Hadlee Stand is worst hit and will be demolished. The future of the Paul Kelly Stand and the new Deans Stand, the opening of which I attended last year as local MP, appears uncertain. Repairs are being suggested but their effectiveness is not clear until attempted. Engineering reports and costings are due at council by October. There will at the very least be no play next year at the stadium I hope AMI Stadium can be repaired but even then it is unclear whether it could be reinsured. It feels a bit like those delays after February 22 before the RWC Games were confirmed as not proceeding. Great to hear the Canterbury Rugby Union is determined to find an alternative base next year in Christchurch - thanks Dunedin but we want our team to play in our city. If there is one place we need some certainty about in Christchurch it is a permanent home for the Crusaders, be it AMI Stadium or somewhere else. It is hard to think of anything that could boost our city's and region's psyche as our crusading men in red and black playing home games again.

Paid for by Vote Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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