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Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 144

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 144

A regular bulletin started by the Labour Party's Christchurch electorate MPs, Clayton Cosgrove (Waimakariri), Ruth Dyson (Port Hills), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East) and Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central) to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.

CANTERBURY EARTHQUAKE RECOVERY PLAN:

Labour will:

* Purchase 1500 properties and sell them at cost to red zoned residents
* Ring-fence $100 million as compensation for home improvements
* Release all available geotechnical information
* Resolve the insurance gridlock
* Intervene in the insurance market as a last resort
* Make community engagement a priority
* Use youth unemployment to fill the skills gap
* Establish an independent insurance commissioner
For full policy details go to: http://www.labour.org.nz/news/leadership-needed-to-rebuild-canterbury
LABOUR'S CHANGES TO EQC WILL INCLUDE:

* Ensuring widespread EQC coverage - making it universal by collecting levies through the local authority rates system.
* Increasing the cap on EQC Cover from $100,000 in consultation with the EQC and the insurance sector.
* Making the levy proportionate by basing it on rateable values.
* Reviewing the Operations of Earthquake Commission to ensure the lessons of the Canterbury earthquake are used to secure the long-term reliability of the Commission.
* Covering temporary accommodation expenses.
For full policy details go to: http://www.ownourfuture.co.nz/earthquake-commission

CLAYTON COSGROVE: I have met a large number of earthquake victims over the last week or so and it would be fair to say that confusion reigns over the Government's recently announced three-tiered foundation system, especially with those who are green / blue zoned. The general theme seems to be: What does it mean? Why haven't we been given more detailed information? How do we press forward? Are these foundations guidelines or requirements? One very pertinent question raised by several constituents was why is it that these announcements are made in general terms without any detailed information attached? Which raises another question - Where is the help and support for earthquake victims having to wade through another set of requirements? Again, the Government and CERA seem not to have learned any lessons from the past. Announcements need to be accompanied by community engagement and processes that put information that quake-affected residents need in plain English. One hopes that there may be some definitive information provided to these people before Christmas.

BRENDON BURNS: I went to the first of CERA's meetings for the owners of 6430 properties that were recently green-zoned, held yesterday in the Hagley Park geodome. Notification was by letter only and just 60 people attended. Representatives of EQC, insurers and CERA were there to assist. Reid Stiven, EQC's Canterbury manager identified there may be 3-4,000 green-zoned properties with blue coding requiring the expensive foundations suggested, because the TC3 code only applies to homes with major foundation damage or requiring a rebuild. That still leaves many issues that need explaining. A city council spokesman was not able to confirm if TC3 ratings will mean a loss of rating value. An insurance representative was unable to say if premiums would rise on TC3 properties. And although the suggestion is that green now means 'go', that still requires the specific authorisation of the insurer, almost all of whom are not yet prepared to authorise the start to any major work. Clarrie Pearce, the co-ordinator for the North-West Richmond group in my electorate, said people are sceptical of the newest zonings/codings (6340 green, not one red). Sadly, the strange way CERA is engaging with people is not helping.

LIANNE DALZIEL: I attended more cottage meetings over the weekend. There are communities who feel that they have been forgotten. In Burwood there is a swathe of green with the new blue foundation rules running through a sea of red, yet none of the CERA meetings even mentioned Burwood as an affected area. Residents there feel their issues are different. They appear to have the most in common with the Avondale streets where green borders red. Avondale wasn't mentioned either but the meeting was at least in their area. Both are areas that should never have been built in according to the liquefaction report that the government has buried until after the election. Fortunately Burwood is going to get a separate CERA meeting after this round is over. However, it does indicate a lack of awareness about people's concerns even though I first wrote to the Minister about the border properties in July. In disaster recovery communication is vital. And the government still hasn't learned this 14 months after the first earthquake.

RUTH DYSON: There was a huge turnout at the Woolson/Ferrymead/Brookhaven meeting called by CERA for residents in the new green/blue technical category 3 zone. It was excellent to see all the right people there to answer residents' questions. There were representatives from CERA, EQC, the Department of Building and Housing and two representatives from insurance companies.
The process of getting the "individual Geotech reports" as described by Gerry Brownlee was outlined as a process which may only require soil sampling but which will be led by EQC if your home is "undercap" and your insurance company if your home is "overcap". It is still not clear how the coordination of solutions which may cover several properties will occur. It was also interesting that some sections which are currently determined as green/ blue TC3 may in fact, after individual property Geotech investigation, be re-categorised as green/yellowTC2. It was also confirmed that there will not be any move from the current green/blue category to red zone category, in contradiction to what we heard last week. However, a property may be determined to be economically unviable to have a home rebuilt on it, in which case there is a process for compensation by EQC and the insurance company. So, the uncertainty remains for many but the next steps can begin.

Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings Wellington.

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