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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 108

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 108

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: I attended a meeting of green zoned residents in Kaiapoi last night which saw another packed auditorium of people with questions that again went unanswered by the Government. Like red zoned residents those in the green zone have concerns around the Government's offer, about the lack of transparency around land reports, and about the process going forward The CERA representative acting on behalf of Roger Sutton---who was at the Port Hills community meeting--- was unable to answer a number of questions which were clearly in the purview of government. Residents raised concerns about green zoned properties which boarder those on the red zone: When will demolition begin? Will green zoned residents be subject to months of dust and noise? Their concerns fell on deaf ears. Cabinet Minister Kate Wilkinson was again present at the meeting, but again said and offered nothing. Even after being effectively prompted by the Mayor of Waimakariri, David Ayers to answer questions, the Minister sat silent. This is arrogant and disrespectful to those residents who took the time to put their legitimate concerns to Government. As we are now well aware CERA is only the implementer of Government policies-the Government is the decision maker and must be accountable for its actions.

RUTH DYSON: Yesterday I had leave from Parliament to attend the first zone meeting in my electorate. Bob Parker MC'd it, and CERA CEO Roger Sutton introduced the zoning decision talk. The Port Hills geotech team spoke about the key issues in their sectors, from Heathcote Valley through to Taylors Mistake. Knowledge is power, that's for sure, and the huge crowd who attended were very impressed with the quality of the presentations and the answers to their questions. We have been promised more meetings, street by street, so that commonly shared issues can be discussed in more depth. This offer was warmly welcomed and I am pleased people will have access to information about issues that have such a huge impact on their lives. Terry O'Leary, the CanCERN representative gave a commitment to get them underway soon. People heard some hard news about the length of time it could be before decisions are made on their homes, but at least they are informed, which is a critical factor in empowering our communities.

BRENDON BURNS: I applaud Wellington City Council for considering a law change to require homeowners to make their homes earthquake safe. The council estimates it will cost homeowners around $300m but could save as much as $2b in damage, as well as preserving the city's heritage. The Wellington City Council is already enforcing earthquake-strengthening plans on commercial buildings, with 'fix it or close' ultimatums. As someone who lost a home and two electorate offices in the Christchurch quakes, it is good to see action has now been sparked. Councils across the country should consider similar measures. A brick chimney crashed through the roof into our bathroom last September, three metres away from where we were sleeping. These 'widow-makers' need support or replacement as do masonry parapets which still tower above many city footpaths around New Zealand. Some good has to come from the ordeal we in Christchurch are still going through.

LIANNE DALZIEL: There are people in my electorate in the green zone who are keen to be categorized 'red', but have been told they are at the back of the queue. This could all have been avoided by simply leaving the borders orange. There are also people wanting to "fight" to save their community, but right now I would prefer to "fight" for the facts so I know whether or not the community can actually be saved. Otherwise what are we fighting for? This is the view that I have expressed to people in Brooklands and it applies across the board. I have asked the Minister if we can access engineering advice from Tonkin & Taylor. Having the engineers come to meetings with the residents would allow people to better understand what the issues are and make it easier to accept a decision, whether it is good news or not. What it really comes down to is whether or not people will be able to get ongoing insurance (including for flooding) if they rebuild in a given area? If someone doesn't have an insurable property, then they have nothing and all the protests in the world won't change that. This links back to what I have been saying about transparency. Surely there can be nothing to hide; these are our communities and we deserve to know the facts.

Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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