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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 94

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 94

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: It's difficult to express fittingly just how much we appreciate our emergency services. As Christchurch remains snowed in and basically on lockdown, emergency workers, despite having their own families to worry about, are out and about looking after the rest of us. It was the same after the earthquakes. They are doing a fantastic job. Life's tough here, but it would be a lot worse without them. Many of us can't get out of our houses --- the police are advising people to stay at home anyway --- but we are keeping our office phones monitored in case people are trying to get in touch. The snow is reportedly up to half a metre deep in some parts, and my heart goes out to those people who are still having to use portaloos and don't have adequate heating. I hope they can keep their spirits up despite this latest adversity.

RUTH DYSON: Another snow day, with attempts to get to Wellington for Parliament unsuccessful. I will try again but the forecast is not great. Wellington and Christchurch airports seemed to alternate closing times as the polar blasts swept north. The Orion teams are, as usual, working extremely hard in very challenging conditions to re-connect power in areas that have lost it --- big bouquets to Orion for this and their excellent communication. Many people are talking about the city plan, a positive sign in terms of how engaged people feel. The Sydenham and Lyttelton master plans are the two pilots for the city and very many people have been involved in planning. I have heard from many locals that they were very disappointed to be given just days between the draft going up on the City Council website and submissions closing. I understand that there is a tight timetable to produce the final plan, but we can't afford to exclude locals or make them feel resentful I will approach the council about this today. The Lyttelton plan needs a strong and positive response from the Port Company about access to the waterfront and development of recreational areas.

LIANNE DALZIEL: Gratitude is owed to 130 Presbyterian church-goers from St Stephen's Presbyterian in Bryndwr, St Giles in Papanui and St Mark's in Avonhead who distributed 365 $200 New World Supermarket vouchers to red-zone homes in Horseshoe Lake. My constituents who received vouchers have expressed gratitude in tributes on their Facebook page, saying it was wonderful to know they had not been forgotten. People talked about hugging the people who knocked on their door --- human contact meaning much more than the vouchers. These comments say it all: "a stunning gesture - really, really humbling that folk will just turn up and make our day like that. I was overwhelmed;" "no words to thank them really, except thanks, but it doesn't seem enough. Very grateful and humbled;" "a wonderful gesture and came at a great time - makes us all realise that we haven't been forgotten - so nice." I am writing to the Rev Martin Stewart, the driving force behind the project, and to Foodstuffs whose discount meant more vouchers could be bought. I want them to know how much this has meant to so many people.

BRENDON BURNS: Snow is still hampering life in Christchurch and making it especially hard for those in damaged houses who are already doing it tough. Over the weekend I biked around Avonside, stopping to talk to residents in Keller St, scene of several 'live' television events. Portaloos still dot the street. Some residents are anxiously awaiting their property offers due this week; others have already gone to other parts of Christchurch or beyond. Last night local resident and church minister Mike Coleman sent out an analysis which reinforces concerns I've raised. The average value of Keller St properties is a little over $300,000. To get a comparable section within established Christchurch, you are talking well over $200,000. A home will cost around that much again. This means people will need to add $90,000 or more to their mortgage if want a comparable property. This is not just a picture for Keller St; it applies across much of the red zone. It is not preserving equity as was repeatedly pledged. It is consigning a lot of people to real hardship that will endure a long time after the snow melts.

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