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Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word

Lianne Dalziel
Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson

16 February 2012

Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word

The Government’s ‘handling’ of its offer to red-zoned retirement villages can only be described as a ‘humungous blunder’, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Lianne Dalziel says.

“This process has been shambolic from the outset and has caused considerable upset among a particularly vulnerable group of people.

“A media release from Gerry Brownlee on 27th January made it clear that ‘a letter of offer to each resident’ would follow notification to the four affected villages, and that CERA would work with the rest home and village owners as quickly as possible to ensure the residents were assisted.

“This has since been altered to refer to each owner, so we have the strange situation where the release that appears on the Beehive website differs from the one sent out at the time of the announcement,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“Even more farcical, Mr Brownlee’s colleagues were dispatched to reassure former residents they would be looked after, while a letter I tabled in the House today shows another Minister, Kate Wilkinson, also understood that to be the case, telling a constituent that the government was ‘not about to make Lance Bunting [the owner of Kate Sheppard Gardens] a rich man’ and that the government would be looking after the residents.

“It is extremely disappointing to learn that in the end it was a statutory supervisor for one of the retirement villages, who, after spending several hours researching the matter, had the job of informing residents of the response he had received from a senior government official:

“Unfortunately there has been some confusion following the Minister's announcement last week. The Crown offer applies to the owners of the retirement villages and rest homes in the Red Zones, not the residents…

… there is no wider policy decision providing for "top-ups" above contractual requirements for [retirement village] residents…”.

“The Minister should acknowledge the human impact on people who have had their hopes raised and then dashed. It should also apologise for the bungled release and commit to review the policy, which is flawed,” Lianne Dalziel said.

ENDS

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