Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
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 …Christchurch LABOUR MPs
4 October 2011
Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 121
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
• 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
CLAYTON COSGROVE: Recently I came across a good news story regarding a young earthquake victim around the age of 19-20 who was locally employed as an apprentice. He is married and his wife is six months pregnant with their first child. They did the traditional kiwi thing and bought a house as a doer-upper with a big mortgage and were looking forward to the next 20 years of mortgage repayments and refurbishing their house. When the earthquake hit and completely destroyed their home it was difficult to see anything positive from their situation. As luck would have it their home has been zoned green and being a diligent couple they had full replacement household insurance. They now feel like they have won the lotto of life! They will get a totally new house and have been advised by their insurance company that it will be rebuilt just in time for the birth of their child. What a fantastic and heartening story. To see this young guy’s pride in his family, his work and his home is inspirational. The only downside is that this is one of the few positive stories where an earthquake victim ends up on the right side of things. We need more stories like this – the only way to get them is for the recovery to get rolling swiftly and for that to happen the Government needs to be more pro-active and for insurance companies to give people a fair go!
BRENDON BURNS: It is great to see a community group working well. I attended a meeting of the Riverside group last night, which brings together quake-affected Richmond residents. There were more than 50 residents attending, with two lawyers and a quantity surveyor as the guest speakers. Richmond includes red zoned areas, a large swathe of orange zoned residents and people who are still not clear how much certainty to put on their green zoning. One woman last night presented a study of River Road residents showing RV per square metre for land varying from $125 to $380. RVs can be influenced upwards by sub-division or left low by people holding on to properties for a long time, as riverbank residents are wont to do. Another man outlined how his RV will leave him $160,000 out of pocket – it seems this is the case, as outlined at the recent Riverside rally, which sparked the attention of the Prime Minister. I am now following up that example as it illustrates the sometimes arbitrary values that RV provides. I also presented my submission yesterday to the council’s draft central city plan. One thing I noted was that the inner city included many low-income residents, now displaced by property demolitions. Providing for them is an important part of the rebuild of the city. I urged councillors to look to partnership opportunities with Housing New Zealand, which has lost many homes in red zoned areas which will need to be replaced. A second meeting, date yet to be confirmed, will see CERA tell us about the geotechnical assessments which have deemed most St Albans and some Richmond homes safe to repair or rebuild. People are desperate for more information and deserve to get it.
LIANNE DALZIEL: Every day I am approached by more people who are dealing with complex insurance issues. The challenge is even greater when English is your second language. I have a constituent who is facing real challenges as her insurer told her to dump all the goods in her shop after she was allowed inside the cordon but now require photographs and invoices in order to finalise her claim. She is near the end of her tether. Hopefully we can get her some help. On a positive note, I went to the re-opening of the China Kitchen on Saturday night. It has relocated from the lane that runs alongside Community House in Hereford Street to 17 Main North Road in Papanui. I often enjoyed a quick lunch there and it was great to see them back in business. The owner said that she had faced real challenges along the way, particularly with insurance. She got through with a lot of help from good friends and mentors. And that’s what we all need to get through this – support and understanding. On Saturday I also went to a barbecue put on by the Dallington Residents Association. The Salvation Army turned up and put on the kettle. It was a great opportunity to catch up and hear how people are doing, but it reinforced how much these networks are needed. There are challenging times ahead.
RUTH DYSON: I was interested to see the announcement by EQC that they were now moving to a street by street full assessment process, having completed their original priorities. I thought that this was a good sign and thought that, at last, there may be some systems introduced to the process which people could follow. So I followed the link to their website and first of all got a blank screen and then, after quite a lot of scrolling and searching, found what had been described as a street by street process but which is, in fact, just a very long list of suburbs where full assessments are “now underway” and a shorter list of suburbs where assessments will come later. Not much help I regret. This is quite straightforward information for EQC to provide and would be very helpful for people! I will also be following up my query of a few weeks ago to the Insurance Council, asking them what their members’ “rules” are in relation to offering insurance for construction and insurance for new homes. The rules are unclear and people are getting confusing messages. This confusion and delay will drive people to leave Canterbury and I want the insurance industry to front up to the impacts of this lack of information and lack of insurance coverage.