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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 107

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 107

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 had yet another packed hall at Kaiapoi North School last night for the third community red zone meeting. There was no shortage of questions from residents, and CERA CEO Roger Sutton made a valiant attempt to answer those he could in his capacity as a public servant. But yet again a large number of questions around the shortfall in the Government's offer, around why people have to leave land which is undamaged and why people aren't provided with all the information justifying the Government's decision went unanswered. The Mayor of Waimakariri David Ayers, reiterated my point that Roger Sutton could only answer in his capacity as public servant and questions outside of that were for 'his political masters'. The irony being that one of his 'political masters' ---in the form of Cabinet Minister and member of the Government's Ad Hoc Cabinet Committee on Canterbury Earthquake Recovery (ACE), Kate Wilkinson--- was at the meeting. This was the second meeting where she sat in the front row and said nothing, even when questions were clearly directed at government. When Minister's sit there letting the community languish and questions just hang in the air without answers where is the Government accountability? There is a growing determination by the community that they will not stand for a Government that requires then to leave their land but refuses to provide them with the rationale for that decision. There is no point in Ministers going to meetings, sitting there like tablets of stone. If they don't have answers, explanations and information they would be better at home in bed.

RUTH DYSON: There was a lot of excitement around the transition for white zoned residents to the green zone on Monday, with many expecting to be able to begin demolition, rebuilding or repair. One of my constituents contacted his insurance company with his green zone confirmation, only to be told that the government has instructed them to do the red zone work first. He then contacted CERA, who replied that the government do need information from the insurance companies about properties in the red zone in order to complete their offer, but then saying that if the insurance company holds a large percentage of the policies in the Christchurch area, they might not have allocated sufficient resources to deal with all their claims and are now struggling. I find this response patronising and frustrating. It's like being told that the earthquakes are significant. We actually know that. What I would like to hear from CERA is how they might help deliver on their website message which says "repair and rebuilding at this address can now begin" because you are in the green zone. At the moment that is not true.

BRENDON BURNS: In Parliament yesterday, Education Minister Anne Tolley was talking up new trade academies, including The National Trade Academy in Christchurch which was selected as one of ten new providers to support secondary students. It will provide 75 placements for training in land-based work (though not till mid next year).The Minister also talked up trade training places at CPIT which will increase next year from 148 to 550. Given 30,000 jobs are needed for the rebuild and we currently have 10,000 18- to-24-year-olds not in work or training in Canterbury alone, I asked The Minister why only a few hundred new skill training places being funded for our region? She said she would have to check my figures! The point is she's delivering hundreds not thousands more training places to create the skills necessary to rebuild our city. Contrast that with Labour's commitment to have all teenagers earning or learning within three years. The head of a major electrical firm in Christchurch asked to see our skills policies. His response was they are laudable, touch a chord and were a step towards developing new respect for trades skills. That's clearly not going to happen in Christchurch with the Government's tokenistic approach which will only see us import labour while too many of our young languish on the dole.

LIANNE DALZIEL: Recent feedback I have received from Brooklands' residents is that they feel like they are the forgotten community. As the area is still zoned orange they will remain in a state of limbo for as long as it takes for the government to announce whether they can rebuild or not. There have also been concerns raised by people in Spencerville, although some of the issues are different. We have asked the Minister if we can access engineering advice from Tonkin & Taylor (for EQC) and the CCC regarding any flood risk mitigation alternatives to finished floor levels (as provided for in Plan Change 48) so that the community can be reassured that whatever the decision, it is the right decision. It seems to me that the issue is simple - these people want to know whether they get ongoing insurance (including for flooding) if they rebuild in Brooklands. If they don't have an insurable property, they have nothing. The Minister has been asked about making someone available to discuss these issues with the community and he is considering this request. For me, the only response can be yes. Our people are entitled to full transparency.

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