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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 97

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 97

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: We can all be quietly encouraged by the news that National Party opposition to providing legal support to the families of quake victims is softening. We can be encouraged, but not complacent, in the wake of Attorney-General Chris Finlayson's meeting with families yesterday. Whenever I have raised the issue of support in Parliament, Mr Finlayson has consistently denied any need, but the first sign of a weakening in his stance came with his agreement to meet. The support of the Pike River families has also been crucial for the Christchurch families. Mr Finlayson has failed to convince me in his argument in Parliament that Christchurch families are in a different position to the Pike River families. Both sets of families have been through hell, and are still experiencing it. They deserve support. It would be heartless not to provide it. If we can change the Government's mind, we will all have made the lives of these families a little more bearable.

LIANNE DALZIEL: After the offer to red-zone property owners, the issue was repeatedly raised by people, at briefings organised by CERA, whether people who had done up their houses would have those costs considered. The message was that if a building consent had been involved, the issue was clear-cut, but if that wasn't the case, people should keep their receipts. That was comforting, as so many people have done up bathrooms or kitchens or other parts of the house, often spending many thousands of dollars. Now it has been formally confirmed that there are only two grounds for such compensation --- if there has been a mistake in terms of the footprint, or if the alterations have increased the size of the footprint of the house, which will show up in the building consent. Anything else, even if it cost maybe $30,000, is a matter for private insurers, but that, of course, is only true if a damaged house is being rebuilt. Many people, including elderly people (who maybe wanted to tidy their house while they could), now face the reality that their money has gone down the drain. Given what is being spent overall, how much extra would it have cost to show this bit of humanity? It is these little things that add so much to stress and anxiety, particularly for those who already feel helpless.

RUTH DYSON: The six month anniversary of the February quake is today. My thoughts are with the hundreds of people who are mourning their loss on that day six months ago. I am pleased that our questioning has moved the government to reconsider legal representation for these families. For many, the legal terminology used, the processes being undertaken, and the unanswered questions are too much to be faced without individual legal representation Unfortunately, Minister Brownlee appears to have dismissed the possibility of the government --- perhaps with the city councils--- offering any land at an affordable price so that our red-zoned residents will be able to maintain the equity which Gerry Brownlee promised. I was really pleased to see The Press get the newspaper of the year award. I have heard many people talk about the feeling of security and hope that they got when their paper was delivered the day after the February quake. Given what The Press staff had been through on the 22nd, it is just amazing. Well done to Andrew and the team!

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

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