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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 98

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 98

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: John Key has done some sort of backflip on providing legal support for families of Christchurch quake victims, but it is up to the families to say if they are satisfied. The initial response is one of disappointment, but all families need to see the detail before we know what they think. Key has always said he will be there to support the families, so we still wonder why he seems so opposed to completely independent advice as offered to the Pike River families. On another issue, I attended a meeting yesterday of about 20 families in a rural part of my electorate. They all sustained earthquake damage to their wells, and as a result their water supply has been contaminated by arsenic, sand, sediment, manganese and other nasties. In one reported case, a mother got ill from arsenic contamination. EQC has re-drilled the wells, but water still can't be used because of contamination, and EQC refuses to supply replacement water filters or pumps. The residents are scratching their heads as contamination has directly resulted from quake damage to their wells. They are even more confused because a drilling expert told them that elsewhere in Canterbury EQC had paid for replacement pumps or filters for 60-plus clients. Once again, this is inconsistent policy, and I'll take it up with EQC and, if necessary, Gerry Brownlee.

RUTH DYSON: I have heard much puzzled resentment that the Government chose to "mark" the six-month anniversary of our February quake by denying the request for legal representation presented to Ministers Finlayson and Brownlee. Instead it decided to fund an extra lawyer attached to the Royal Commission, a rushed decision made with little respect for the views of the families of victims. There is also stunned anger at the unannounced change of heart in regard to the red zone offer. Gerry Brownlee is on public and private record saying that home alterations post the most recent valuation will be discussed with a view to inclusion in the red zone offer, but this is not reflected in the letter of offer. This is not acceptable. On a happy note, however, I have heard that Harbour Union, a magnificent collective of Lyttelton and Harbour Basin talent, is to perform at the Silver Scroll Awards in Auckland on September 13.There are five finalists and amongst them is Delany Davidson (of Harbour Union) nominated for his song Little Heart. They have cheered our spirits and it's great that they are getting centre stage.

LIANNE DALZIEL: Last Friday I attended the opening of the Earthquake Assistance Centre (EAC), designed to provide information and assistance for insured red-zone homeowners deciding on Government offers to buy their properties. It is not designed to provide a dispute resolution service between homeowners and insurance companies, nor a forum for negotiating individual settlements. It can, however, provide information to help people decide on a purchase option, if any. The centre is managed by CERA and there will be staff from Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service (CETAS), the Earthquake Commission (EQC), Community Law Canterbury and some insurance firms. I am very pleased with the concept of a one-stop-shop as it is convenient to get all your answers at once, but I am concerned not all the answers are known yet. At the last Cross Party Forum, I raised concerns about part settlement affecting temporary accommodation entitlement for people in the red zone, then followed it up with an e-mail explaining the detail, and I still haven't had a reply. However, I am particularly pleased with the location and am very grateful the Avondale Golf Club has made its facilities available. The centre is at the Avondale Golf Club, 141 Breezes Road, Avondale, 10.00 am to 6.30 pm Monday to Friday, 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372).

Paid for by Vote Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Lianne Dalziel, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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