Community Scoop

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 134

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 Earthquake bulletin edition 134

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.
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:

CLAYTON COSGROVE: Debate rages in the Waimakariri about the need for and the location of further temporary emergency housing for earthquake victims. The Department of Building and Housing and the Government want Waimakariri to make further public land like parks and reserves available for these temporary housing units. The problem is that we don’t have a lot of public land available unless you take out sports grounds and other important reserves The question is why don’t we get creative? There are many houses in Kaiapoi’s red zone (at the moment the request is for 35 temporary housing units) that will ultimately be demolished but are warm, dry and safe. Many of these have actually had emergency repairs completed. Why wouldn’t the Government look at utilising these vacant houses as temporary accommodation where appropriate? I have walked through modern but damaged homes that are completely comfortable and liveable which are vacant. Surely, before the bulldozer rolls, we should look to utilising this resource thereby saving taxpayers money, providing people are more comfortable and homely place to live temporarily and mitigating the need to use public land. I have put this idea repeatedly to the Government; to date it’s been rejected simply on the basis that the Crown would end up being the landlord. That could be resolved with the stroke of Mr Brownlee’s pen with a temporary legislative amendment. The question remains why don’t we get creative when it comes to these ideas?

BRENDON BURNS: Facts and figures are sometimes the telling signals of the on-going, hesitant and often uncertain recovery in Christchurch. I was reminded of this yesterday reading the compelling case produced by my office for maintaining an additional staffer into next year to continue with the influx of work since the quake. Most MPs have had an additional staff member since February to help with quake related issues and they’ve been a lifeline to our city. In less than eight months, my additional electorate staffer handled nearly 200 specific, individual cases. Some cases take only a phone call or two to EQC or Fletchers; others involve complex negotiation and advocacy, on-going discussions with me as the MP and with constituents who are often at the end of their tether. It doesn’t take account of sometimes repeat visits to constituents who’ve been pushed over the edge by the stress and who can bark at anyone, even those trying to help. Tomorrow we are expecting the update promised by Mr Brownlee on zoning. There are 1104 homes in orange zones in Christchurch Central, all waiting anxiously for news on whether they might be made red (to add to the 716 already so coded) or the thousands of green. It’s unlikely the news will be forthcoming for everyone – or necessarily welcomed if your zoning is announced. For those on the frontline of on-going earthquake recovery, the announcement will be more than statistics; it will mean more stressed people needing help. And that need is going to be there well beyond November 26.

LIANNE DALZIEL: There were a number of parents and teachers who were less than amused at the performance of Hon Anne Tolley at the Christchurch Schools Music Festival last night, whose speech referring to our “little earthquakes” not only denied them the encore to an uplifting rendition of Climb Every Mountain, but was used to mouth platitudes about Christchurch teachers who have had to help children cope with the earthquakes and ongoing aftershocks at the same time that nearly 170 of them are facing redundancy. I really don’t think the Minister understands what these schools have had to cope with. Thank goodness that the children, parents and teachers of Ngaio School in Wellington do understand. They have raised an extraordinary $70,000, which will help South New Brighton School, Freeville School, St Paul’s School and Bamford School. It is these acts of generosity that keep us going Yesterday I attended the launch of the report called “A Youth Voice on the Christchurch Rebuild” – this represents 4000 youth voices in what they want to see in the rebuild of their city and communities. It was not surprising to learn that free wireless internet in the central city was the overwhelming number one priority; however I was delighted to see how important “the community” was to these young people with the concept of village squares in suburbs attracting a lot of support. I am following up with the researchers as I understand that there was a distinct east/west divide in terms of the impacts of the earthquake and also their vision for the future.

RUTH DYSON: Another of our street meetings held yesterday in Lyttelton, with polite but strong frustration being expressed about the total lack of communication from CERA over the last few months and also about lack of a structure and timeframe for future decision-making. The speakers did very well but I think they need stronger authority from Gerry Brownlee in relation to the process going forward. There was a clear commitment given that the unzoned white areas would be coloured as soon as possible and that was welcome news. Also good news was that remediation work on the rock fall risk has started again, at least in some areas and if this work can be completed, and the life risk model can be signed off by Council, then we might have a lot of people able to move back into their homes safely. Information on this from Council and CERA to all red stickered rock fall risk folk would be great!! (please!!) I have heard that a lot of people who are in red stickered homes have moved back into them because they just can’t afford the alternative or they are fed up with fudged answers or no answers from Council and CERA. Police eviction is not the answer. Full information and timetables for decision-making is, and ongoing communication with residents should come before police visits.

Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings Wellington.

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