Column – New Zealand Labour Party
A regular bulletin started by the Labour Party’s Christchurch team to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level. Christchurch Labour MPs
28 November 2011
Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 151
A regular bulletin started by the Labour Party’s Christchurch team to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.
All the Labour MPs have worked hard to provide information and support to their constituents affected by the earthquakes. We are grateful to those communities that have shared the highs and lows of the past year. We have all gained a lot more knowledge around the seismicity of our region, the formation of the soils that underlie our city, building standards and the difference between disaster response and disaster recovery. We have learned about liquefaction, lateral spread and a range of techniques to measure the impact of the earthquake on the land e.g. LiDAR. We have unravelled the role of EQC and identified some shortcomings in the legislation, which must be updated. We have advocated for thousands of individual constituents, on top of our usual workload. And then there has been the insurance industry and the importance of their role in the rebuilding of the city. We have identified issues in the central city and other suburban centres, and worked with residential communities faced with different threats from liquefaction to rock fall. It has been a challenging year on every level. But it has been an absolute privilege to serve the community and work through all these issues together.
Each one of us has been affected in different ways ourselves through our homes and/or electorate offices, but nothing that matches the difficulties faced by so many. The land zoning decisions have left people with a range of emotions from relief that they can move on, through to despair at the unpalatable choice they face. That is the trouble with an approach that says that there have to be winners and losers. The losers are left wondering why they have been left to pay the price. We have been strong advocates for the affected communities through all this and will continue to be so. We have been successful on occasions, but on others stymied by the government’s approach. On these occasions the government has made decisions without engaging with the affected communities and then announced those decisions to the media without any prior warning to the affected communities. This breaks all the rules established by international best practice on disaster recovery and is a brake on successful recovery. Hopefully we can persuade the government to be more inclusive in the years ahead. We remain committed to working with the government on the recovery.