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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 105

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 105

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: Yesterday's first anniversary of September 4 was very moving. I took part in a well-attended tree planting ceremony in Kaiapoi and another moving service at the end of the day. People are stoic but realise they have big hurdles to jump, particularly financially, to get their lives and houses back. It was pleasing that finally, after weeks of prevarication, excuses and denials, Gerry Brownlee admitted he misled people and got it wrong by promising that home improvements --- such as kitchen and bathroom renovations --- would be included in the Government deal. We now know this promise was false and the Government will only recognise improvements that increased a house's footprint. While he is in mea culpa mood he may want to consider apologising on other issues. Firstly, for repeatedly saying people will have their equity preserved, which we now know is patently untrue. Secondly, for withholding land information after originally committing to release it all, thus impeding people's ability to make decisions about which land offer to accept. Thirdly, he might like to explain why people have been allowed to appeal their zoned colour coding, but have been refused information to give them grounds for an appeal. These critical issues continue to grate. His only excuse is that it would take bureaucrats a lot of time to compile the information. That's no excuse when people are doing it tough, and planning their futures based on a lack of or wrong information.

RUTH DYSON: There's much excitement around pending colouring in of some of the white zone, with an announcement expected today. For areas zoned green, this will mean an end to the frustration of being unable to progress insurance and rebuilding. Many others will still be waiting, but at least it's a start. There is further confusion re removing red stickers for the rockfall risk group. The removal process is not clear, and there are no time frames attached to it. I will raise this with Mr Brownlee again tomorrow night to try to get clarity and certainty for my constituents. It was a fantastic fun day at Sumner yesterday in perfect weather with an event enjoyed by huge numbers of people. A sadder event was the farewell service to Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, beautifully summarised in a sonnet by Kevin O'Connor as the down-falling of an elderly lady, a heap of bricks that narrowly missed scoring a ton. It was an emotional farewell, but with strong chords of hope for the future.

LIANNE DALZIEL: I ended the week closing the Public Health Association conference, commenting on synergies between principles of community development that underpin health promotion and those that govern international best practice in disaster recovery. These principles have not been adopted here and it is costing affected communities. I attended four events in my electorate yesterday, starting with an informal gathering that Avondale Residents Association arranged by the Avondale Bridge to scatter flowers on the river The second was a meeting of concerned residents of a street where only eight houses are zoned green, with the rest red. I still await a response from Mr Brownlee to my July letter asking about these zone borders. The Bexley Residents Association met to start looking at options for the future. I met a woman who paid $255,000 for her house six years ago. She obtained a registered valuation in 2008 of $265,000. The 2007 rating valuation was $210,000. Suffice it to say, she isn't feeling very resilient. And last night I attended a combined church service in New Brighton where people from several faith communities heard a unified message of hope. I added a well-received call for understanding.

BRENDON BURNS: A day for reflection yesterday as we marked a year from 4 September. I accompanied Phil Goff and Maryan Street to mass at St Mary's in Manchester St. Many attending previously worshipped at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament which faces very real uncertainties in terms of rebuilding. Later I attended the group hug in the Botanical Gardens, where thousands Mexican waved and hugged to mark the anniversary (big thumbs up to new student radio station C96 FM which organised the event) and then the ecumenical Celebration of Hope service at Christ's College. It's certainly not all joyous though. On Saturday I met more than 50 Richmond residents, most orange-zoned, totally disillusioned that they will be among the last to learn their fate. Their feeling of neglect is compounded by on-going delays getting EQC assessments and settlements and concerns about what might be coming once zoning is confirmed. The Riverside Community Group based closer to the river is calling a mass rally on Sunday at Avebury House. They back red zone residents not accepting the Government's purchase offers or those of insurance companies until full replacement policies are honoured for homes due for demolition in the red zone, RVs are reviewed where there is significant and demonstrable undervaluation, and home-owners can move on without losing equity or increasing debt.

Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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