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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 95

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 95

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: The news that Christopher Doig has used his personal contacts to organise a one-off concert for Canterbury by superstar Placido Domingo is a real boost to morale, and an amazing coup for the city. Domingo's concert will be a fundraiser for the Court Theatre and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and will be a global signal Christchurch is still alive and kicking. We might be missing out on Rugby World Cup matches, but the timing of this concert, just before the RWC quarter-finals, is a real tonic. Not so encouraging for many people, however, is the continued wait to discover if their properties will be red-zoned or not. Every day there is news of available property increasing in value, but that just increases frustration for people who can't do anything until their zoning is confirmed one way or another. Every day that property values increase means they lose more equity if they have to move. Emotions range from anger to stress to sheer exasperation as we approach the 12-month anniversary of last September's quake.

RUTH DYSON: I have finally got to Wellington, after another few hours waiting at Christchurch airport. The impeccable manners, professionalism, good humour and tolerance of the Air New Zealand staff is just awesome! They must be really exhausted after dealing with so many frustrated and disappointed passengers with cancelled flights, but they just keep their top-class service going. Parliament has gone into urgency today, so we will be doing 9am-midnight days and by the look of the list of bills the Government wants to pass, we will be sitting well beyond our normal finish time of Thursday. There are two important meetings on Thursday night, one in Sydenham and one in Redcliffs, both for local people looking at recovery issues in their local area. I know that the snow has been a big deterrent to getting out, particularly in the evenings, but if these meetings go ahead, I hope they are well attended. The organising committees have put in huge effort. The meetings will provide worthwhile information and give locals a chance to have their say on the future of their area!

LIANNE DALZIEL: Labour MPs have been deeply concerned about the impact of the earthquakes on the education sector. The Government has provided some relief to schools which have seen roll numbers fall as families move away, but there has been no such relief for the ECE sector. ECE centres rely on attendance for funding, so when some children stop coming, because families have moved, the centre loses funding for those children. This impacts on the whole centre, and creates uncertainty about ongoing viability, especially following government funding cuts in February. We have raised this issue at cross-party forums with the Earthquake Recovery Minister. Labour's Education spokesperson Sue Moroney has been asking the Education Minister which ECE centres in greater Christchurch have had rolls reduced after the two earthquakes and what briefings or reports she has received relating to those centres. The Minister answered (Written Question 06017): "There have been numerous aftershocks in Christchurch since the September earthquake. If the member would clarify to which earthquakes she is referring, I will provide an answer." I said to Sue Moroney that this would have to 'take the quake' as far as intelligent responses go. The ECE sector deserves better.

BRENDON BURNS: Over the past week I have been working with a group of frustrated CBD business owners trying to save their heritage-listed buildings from demolition. They now face a demolition order from CERA under section 38 of the CERA Act, requiring them to find an approved demolition contractor within 10 days. It's a real Catch-22 situation. The owners have been trying to save their buildings --- and that's been costing them money --- but now the short notice period places even more of a financial burden on them to get an approved contractor in place. At this stage they are likely to have to pay more to get one of the major contractors to do the job. If they don't get anyone, CERA will take over and send them the bill. Given the hurdles owners face, it is little wonder so few heritage buildings are being saved.

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

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