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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 92

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 92

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: Last night I attended a Kaiapoi residents meeting at which a senior representative of IAG (including NZI and State Insurance) was present. IAG seems to have heeded my representations, on behalf of quake victims throughout Canterbury, and has done away with controversial contract clauses that at worst bordered on draconian and at best still disadvantaged victims. The clauses had included victims indemnifying the insurer's project manager and allowing the project manager unilaterally to change the broad scope of work without consultation. At the meeting residents asked when the Government would make and announce a decision on further red zoning, and said they believed decisions had already been made, but the Government was more concerned with political management. Cabinet minister Kate Wilkinson was at the meeting, and said zoning decisions were being made by officials and geotech experts, with politicians keeping out of it. I said that was totally incorrect --- the Government can't dodge accountability. Decisions are being made by the Government, particularly Gerry Brownlee, but also including Kate Wilkinson and other ministers on the Canterbury earthquake ad hoc cabinet committee. To say otherwise is treating people as stupid. The buck stops with the Government.

RUTH DYSON: Fog in Christchurch nearly put paid to attending the amazing St Thomas School but I was so pleased I was there. It was a superbly organised event with the students absolutely clear about their commitment to social enterprise, and explaining their extension of their generator to a village in Tanzania. These generators are on sale at Mitre 10 Mega Hornby for just $49.95 and would be a great addition to power cut preparation. Well done again to these amazing students and the inspiration they receive from their teachers. The students were pretty overwhelmed by Helen Clark responding to their Facebook invitation for her to be there. I got back to Parliament in time to lead our side in the general debate. I talked about the pressure that so many of our families are feeling with the cost of living, with horrific stories that are frankly third world and will spawn third world health conditions like rheumatic fever. The Government acts like a spectator at a sports game, wringing its hands and saying how bad it is. Well, I believe they can act to support training and jobs, support businesses that are finding it tough going, and have policies that attract and retain our skilled workforce who are leaving in droves for Australia!

LIANNE DALZIEL: According to The Press the City Council is expected to sign off on a draft recovery plan for the central city that includes light rail to link the central city with outlying suburbs. The report says the first stage of the rail project would connect the city centre to the University of Canterbury, while future links are proposed for the airport and suburban areas, including Hornby, Northlands and New Brighton. I love the concept of light rail. But is it realistic? We need to ask whether we want our public transport system to be tied to permanent infrastructure, meaning that changes in use patterns could not be reflected in the service, other than at enormous expense. The recovery planning process under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act is not the time for the "vision" to overshadow reality. A flexible and reliable bus system would enable the city to respond to the changing needs of the city. Compare the tram for tourists and the free shuttle that has served residents and tourists alike in moving people around the central city. I love the concept of light rail - but we are a small city and we need greater flexibility than permanent tracks would allow.

BRENDON BURNS: Westpac's chief economist Dominick Stephens has visited Christchurch and assessed timeframes for recovery. He sees very little residential construction currently going on - insurance issues and wariness of further aftershocks. He says October this year will see the earliest repair work on houses on stable land damaged in February, along with roads and sewerage. A little commercial reconstruction is forecast next year but is unlikely to begin in the inner CBD before early 2013 and that's "optimistic." Mr Stephens says demolition is the first of many hurdles and will take another year. Only once the city plan is confirmed by Government next January will individual owners know their zoning and be able to design and obtain consent for an appropriate building (or sell the land), let alone start construction work. The city council will shortly unveil its draft plan for the CBD. There simply must be parallel processes to get rebuilding underway before 2013 or it will prove too long for many businesses.

Paid for by Vote Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Ruth Dyson, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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