Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 147

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 147

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 ran into a number of residents from Brooklands over the weekend, which has now been declared a red zone. Many were in Kaiapoi and Rangiora looking around at properties. The situation is very sad for these folks, a number were quite emotional that an area they loved had been red zoned and they would now have to move out of their community. Many had no damage to their homes and like many of my constituents in Kaiapoi wonder why it is that they have to move. There is a lack of understanding as to why Mr Brownlee and CERA won’t provide them with detailed geological information to justify the decision. These people hold the view that they are being ignored by Government. The WeCan rally at the weekend showed the depth of feeling that people have and the hardship that they are enduring. They want respect, they want information, and they want to be assured that decisions being made about displacing their communities are justified. I suspect they might get the information they want eventually but that will be well after election day so that Mr Brownlee and the Government can avoid any close scrutiny they might be held accountable for.

BRENDON BURNS: Around 3-400 people turned out to Show Your Colours rally on Saturday at Cranmer Square. I told them I had attended three of CERA’s community meetings in the past week, each in 400 seat auditoriums. There were good speakers and very useful information but attendance ranged from 50 to 80 people because the meetings were not advertised; only those who recently zoned green were alerted, by letter. Fourteen months on from September’s first quake, we still have a top-down model of communication. For all the inequity the earthquakes have created, the information deficit is the easiest to resolve. It is the model that is wrong. All the power vests in one set of hands: those of the Minister. I believe CERA CE Roger Sutton cannot do the job he wants to do. We all wanted him to be CEO because he was such a good charismatic communicator. It’s impossible for him to do justice to the job because he is being sat on.

LIANNE DALZIEL: The government has sunk to a new low in communication with the Brooklands announcement. This was a community expecting a response in 6-8 weeks after the June announcement. And then they thought the 28th October announcement would include them. But to find out that they were red zoned with no warning and no time to emotionally prepare for what was a bombshell for so many fails every test of responsible government you could think of In fact it was cruel. That is not to say that some residents are not relieved. I have spoken to a few who are pleased to be moving on. But the majority seem shell-shocked. CERA has assessed the response at 50:50 but I think that when they have the meetings tomorrow night and Thursday night at the Brooklands Community Hall they will find they will have to revise those numbers. This community has been waiting since September for answers and although February was a game changer in the city it wasn’t for them. They need the facts and they need them now. I note that the government hasn’t put the Cabinet Papers for this decision on the website as they have for the others What have they got to hide? The Red Zone offer has serious implications in Brooklands with the minimum section size more than twice that in the other affected areas. I have met with residents there whose land component of the rating valuations does not make sense when compared to others. And I have constituents whose properties were being built when the Sept earthquake struck so they won’t be covered by the offer. I have been raising their cases since last year and still no answer. I am not under estimating the scale of the earthquake and the need for the government to make hard calls but this isn’t the way to do it. Transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of an appropriate government response and this fails on both counts.

RUTH DYSON: I share the frustration of many of my constituents about the red-tape which is being dished out by either our City Council or by CERA and is causing people to give up in despair or run out of money. I have heard of many examples of people wanting to start up temporary businesses, run activities, uplift our community or maybe just stop going broke. None of it seems like a big ask to me. Sure, people should be safe. Does CERA and the Council think we have all decided that nothing can harm us or that we don’t care if it does? Actually, we have a strongly enhanced view of death and injury. But we want to survive. But people cannot get the required permits or they cost too much.
I am very worried that the increasing community calls to Gerry Brownlee and CERA in regard to the red tape and frustrations will be the excuse for the government to remove our City Councillors and appoint Commissioners. They did it with Ecan and they will do it again. My National opponent in my electorate said a couple of interesting things at a joint candidates’ meeting last night. He said that Ecan democratically elected Councillors should be replaced with “-a form of democracy” and that ” we need a functional set of governance running our City Council”. So – what is “a form of democracy” and when are they going to tell the voters of Christchurch that we might lose our City Councillors too?
I want more flexibility and earthquake response from our Regional and City Council – but we don’t have to lose our vote in order to achieve that!!
Authorised by Clayton Cosgrove, Parliament Buildings Wellington.

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