Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 141

Column – 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

9 November 2011

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 141

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 went to two senior school prize-givings last night, at Oxford Area High School and Rangiora High School. We are blessed in this country with some exceptionally talented young people who make great contributions to their school and community. I heard many stories of how these young men and women had helped earthquake victims. Many had spent day after day lifting silt out of quake-damaged properties. Last night was a time for these students and their parents to take their minds off their troubles and celebrate the success of family members. These kids are examples of the best in our society. Although they have fears for their futures in terms of jobs and careers, they ooze talent and determination. Often the only time we read about young people is when something goes wrong or they make a mistake. We never seem to see the same coverage of their successes. Last night I saw the future in action and the next generation is looking pretty good.

BRENDON BURNS: There was a great crowd at Addington Raceway yesterday for New Zealand Trotting Cup. Cantabrians were there in their thousands having a bit of a blow-out. Many backed local horse, Terror to Love, to win. Across the car park, the welcome announcement that Rugby League Park will be turned into a temporary home for the Crusaders and other matches, with Government underwriting the $20m cost of the 17,000 seat facility. If there is one sporting symbol for Canterbury’s revival that’s important to our region’s psyche, it is to host Crusaders games again. I can only hope, however, that AMI Stadium can be revived. It remains closed this year while engineers assess its viability. Meanwhile, we are 12 days on from the announcement of 6,430 more properties going Green, but with the new codings for foundations released without any real details. Promises were made on community engagement to explain the announcement. To date people have had one form letter telling them what was already announced, what it means and who will pay what. The strategy appears to be about holding back telling people anything more until after the election.

LIANNE DALZIEL: As most people enjoy the prospect of a long weekend my diary is starting to fill up with cottage meetings requested by constituents who have been zoned green/blue. People have received correspondence from CERA that doesn’t even tell them what Technical Category they are in, other than to say most of the orange zones that were rezoned are in TC3. It then says ‘As a green property owner, you no longer have to wait for the results of any area-wide land assessment before getting on with the process of rebuilding or rebuilding your home if it was damaged by the earthquakes.’ Essentially the message is that there has been no site by site assessment – so what determined the dividing line between red and green? That is the question that we have been asking the Minister since I wrote on 8th July. Four months on and we have yet to receive an answer. Gerry Brownlee’s announcement also said that ‘in some areas, small area-wide or coordinated land repair works may be more cost effective and it would make sense for property owners to work together’. But when one of my constituents asked what this would involve due to the different insurance companies, he was told – ‘it’s early days yet – we expect some more details to come our during December’. Communication is vital in recovery and the government continues to miss the mark.

RUTH DYSON: I have received significant messages of concern from people who have now run out of insurance money for temporary accommodation and who have a big shortfall between what they are paying in rent and what the government support is – and they still have to meet their mortgage payments. This is going to put massive pressure on people, even with the mortgage holidays that banks are offering – because you still have to pay or accrue the interest. Frustration is mounting for those whose properties are not yet zoned and are still in the ‘waiting, waiting, waiting’ zone, because insurance companies are not proceeding with anything in relation to payouts or rebuilds until the zoning is done. For those who have been moved out of their homes because of rock fall risk, the frustration is even worse, with no sign of any process for rock fall remediation. The Council seems to have adopted a very risk averse strategy in relation to placing Section 124 notices on properties, with many people being ‘red stickered’ just this week – having lived in their homes for months and months after the quake. Evacuated at very short notice, they now have no timeframe at all for being able to move back in.There must be a robust and transparent process for red stickering homes and an understood process for people being able to move back into their homes.

ENDS

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