Pacific Scoop

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 84

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

I have distressed constituents in Kaiapoi today who have read the report in the Press that up to one-third of Kaiapoi could be abandoned, with a final decision expected next week. It seems the report results from another controlled or uncontrolled leak. …

Christchurch Earthquake bulletin edition 84

The Labour Party’s Christchurch electorate MPs, Clayton Cosgrove (Waimakariri), Ruth Dyson (Port Hills), Lianne Dalziel (Christchurch East) and Brendon Burns (Christchurch Central) have started a regular bulletin to keep people in their electorates and media informed about what is happening at grass roots level.

CLAYTON COSGROVE: I have distressed constituents in Kaiapoi today who have read the report in the Press that up to one-third of Kaiapoi could be abandoned, with a final decision expected next week. It seems the report results from another controlled or uncontrolled leak. Either Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is deliberately leaking material, or he has no control over CERA, his own department. Mr Brownlee apologised in June when the Government’s announcements on zoning and offers to affected homeowners were leaked in detail. It sounded like he was protesting too much then, and today’s story on Kaiapoi simply reinforces the suspicion that he wants the bad news out before he fronts. Today’s story says 700 to 1000 properties in Kaiapoi’s orange zone are expected to be reclassified red, and it’s hard to believe the leak, whether from his office or from CERA, is not deliberate. If a decision is going to cabinet next week, that means Mr Brownlee knows exactly what’s going to happen. He should come clean now, instead of trying to manage the politics. People have been stressing out for long enough. They deserve to know what is going to happen to them, and they deserve to know the detail of why. The same applies to Kairaki residents. They were promised in June that they would be supplied with the geotech data showing why their properties have been red-zoned. It hasn’t happened. One resident says all they have had is “just some Google maps with some dots on it”. Residents have now put in an Official Information request for the data, but it seems, from initial responses from Mr Brownlee’s office, that they shouldn’t hold their breaths because there isn’t any more data available.

RUTH DYSON: I was with colleague Brendon Burns at very inspiring event at Canterbury University last evening with other community leaders. We all left committed to the goal of changing the image of Christchurch as a city of wrecked buildings to one with a safe, high quality and vibrant university offering courses of excellence to students around the world. I also joined in at one of the Kids’ Fest activities and was amazed to hear leaders of the events had travelled from all around New Zealand to help our families. The group I met had come from Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Mt Maunganui and even as far away as Waipu! One young woman was from Fiji and was really enjoying seeing snow for the first time in her life. St John’s Church in Woolston was the host venue and the children just loved it – thank you Kids’ Fest!! I also met a local architect who is one of a group of people working on the first ideas for the Ferrymead to Sumner plans — another very exciting development for some of the hardest hit residential suburbs. It was not surprising to have it confirmed that the Port Company has breached its rubble dumping consent, after reports of much of it turning up in bays and on beaches around the harbour. It was surprising to learn that the boom which is meant to protect the harbour from such intrusions is damaged but that the dumping will continue while it is being repaired. That doesn’t make sense and I will be raising this with the Regional Council today

LIANNE DALZIEL: I have met a soul-mate at the Australia-New Zealand Scrutiny of Legislation Conference. Jo-Ann Miller, the State Member for Bundamba, represents five of the most damaged parts of Brisbane (eastern suburbs) following the devastating 2010-2011 Queensland floods. Her own office was affected andJo-Ann and her staff supported constituents from a tent on the side of the road for several days. The floods have had a traumatic effect on her constituents and she has been working alongside them since day one. She has also represented their voice at the Commission of Inquiry. Interestingly, when she framed her submission as questions on whether authorities (in particular the councils) had followed proper process, one mayor said he felt Ms Miller was trying to use the floods for political mileage and said that was disgraceful. That sounds familiar. The Commission is important for Queensland and for Australia, and for us too. Looking at the terms of reference provides us with some food for thought. They include preparation and planning by federal, state and local governments, and emergency services; performance of private insurers in meeting claims; all aspects of response to the flood, particularly measures to inform the community and to protect life and private and public property; and measures to manage the supply of essential services such as power, water and communications during the 2010/2011 flood events. My constituents have questions that will need to be asked and answered. Attacking those of us who ask those questions on their behalf will not do.

BRENDON BURNS: A stirring call for Canterbury to back its own university was made last night by Canterbury’s vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr. The university library was the venue for a reception for school principals, MPs, university council members, alumni and other supporters of tertiary learning. Dr Carr said the campus had come through the quakes since September remarkably well. He said Canterbury was one of the top 200 universities in the world but, in Kiwi style, this was often undersold. The university was spending millions of dollars on scholarships to encourage academic excellence but needed to be the institution of first choice for all in its catchment region, including Christchurch, he said. I acknowledged the buzz around the campus of late and the role we should all play in promoting our university, but asked about any marketing initiatives. Dr Carr said he has recently returned from a student recruitment drive to Asia and while the region had a fixation on tertiary education, the university was still combating media images which suggested Christchurch was flattened. He called on community leaders to challenge that perception and principals to encourage their students to visit the campus and see it was safe, open and thriving. Dr Carr added bluntly that if the university lost 1200 students, that would equate to 70 campus jobs. A Bealey Avenue motelier called in to see me yesterday -– my new electorate office is sited on the Bealey Ave/Fitzgerald Ave intersection. He’s enjoying occupancy rates at 96% (no red zone hotels is helping as are the new Air Asia flights.), but his new contents insurance policy sees a premium rise of 25 per cent and the $4000 excess has risen to $22,000. The motelier says this means the policy now effectively only provides cover for total loss. A Phillipstown couple are asking questions about the need for the temporary accommodation village two blocks away from their empty four bedroom rental. The property, including fresh floor coverings, heat pump and garage, has been empty for three months. The $330 a week rent is considerably below what will be charged at Linwood Park. The couple say their situation is not unusual – they’ve counted 12 For Rent signs in their area alone. They are paying a mortgage on the property and ask why local rentals could not have been use before building the temporary village?


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