"Highlighting the inadequacies of the way in which the earthquakes of 2010-2012 were handled by the insurance industry! "

Whatever happened to the EQC Review?

1 Comment

In my last post I discussed the issue of Citizenship and what that notion entails. The EQC review is one of those moments when citizens have their opportunity to fully participate in being a full participating member of New Zealand society.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But the question has to be asked: Whatever happened to the promised EQC Review?

Last night on Campbell Live both Ian Simpson (Head of the Earthquake Commission) and Gerry Brownlee (the Minister of Earthquake Recovery) were interviewed around the very slow state of progress in Canterbury and the frustration citizens are facing when dealing with EQC. The links to those interviews are here:

The Finance Minister Bill English and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced months ago, the review of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 to be led by Treasury, with help from the Reserve Bank, EQC, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and an independent policy expert and they were to address the following:

– What types of property the Earthquake Commission insures, including the structure and extent of EQC cover;

– How the Earthquake Commission prices its insurance;

– The institutional structure and design of the Earthquake Commission, including its roles;

– The financial management of the Crown’s risk exposure and how it should be financed.

I submitted as part of the review a copy of The Christchurch Fiasco which I sent registered mail and to which I received not so much as even an ‘acknowledgement of receipt’  response. (See

Public submissions were to be  were to be received and “Treasury will consult other agencies and consider homeowner feedback, and report back with proposed changes in March 2013“. Did this ever take place? (See

Well folks it’s now mid  May 2013- so what’s happening? – An update from the Minister of Earthquake Recovery is now required.


Author: Sarah-Alice Miles

Love to write, create and watch the clouds move across the sky - these days in the Netherlands. 'Art allows us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time'.

One thought on “Whatever happened to the EQC Review?

  1. Sarah, while I am truly, 100% all for a performance review of EQC, sadly, I do not think the results of any such review would be factual, unless, of course, it was performed by an unbiased, independent reviewer who had no ties to the government. That is not likely to happen in Christchurch.

    If we look at the track record thus far of survey results, we don’t have to look far to find bias, suppression, and public censorship.

    For example, 31 May 2012, the Press published the results of a survey of 359 people who allegedly were “mostly satisfied” with their insurance. However comments from that article suggested that the survey appeared to be biased towards people who had not used their insurance following the earthquakes (See ).
    I was eager to have the Insurance Watch results published because they profoundly contradicted The Press report. On 21 June 2012, Insurance Watch – a community group – provided a press release to the public and media (See , Press Release, Insurance Companies, which would you pick? ) that contained the results of 380 earthquake-effected people who actually attempted to use their insurance. Yet, nothing appeared in The Press for months. In fact there was very little publicity of the Insurance Watch results; the news trickled out via some radio stations. I contacted Insurance Watch to find out why, and was told – albeit, third-hand – that “a large insurance company was pressuring the media NOT to publish the results.” What was more frustrating, only a few of my comments regarding Insurance Watch made it in The Press, then my comments were then censored.

    It wasn’t until 3 months later when The Press made mere mention of the Insurance Watch survey results, which by then had several press releases with pretty damning information from 1000 quake affected residents. However The Press biased the article towards an expansion of Lumley, with mere mention that IAG fared the worst (See ). Clearly, The Press was doing it’s best to conceal the real story of what was happening in Christchurch. Without the whole story, in some ways, it is not surprising that many people from other parts of the country began to see quake-effected Cantabrians as “whingers.” They were simply uninformed.

    Here is another great example is the gross disparity between reality and a government report.

    We heard in October 2012 that Cantabrians are angry (See ), suffering from depression, stress and anxiety (See ) and by November 2012, even suffering from teeth grinding (See ). One poor soul even threatened to burn himself alive in an effort to settle an insurance dispute (See ). By November 2012, we heard increasingly more stories of people in tears (See ), not surprisingly, with reported high levels of stress in December 2012 (See ). By 2013, we are still hearing how the people have been neglected (See ), experiencing anxiety, worry and despair (See ), even cases of stress turning to violence (See ), and of more anger, depression, poor health, grief, financial issues, increased alcohol use and smoking (See ), as well as serious health issues, colds, rashes, hair loss, even panic attacks and paralytic episodes in post-quake homes (See ), and sadly, mental health issues among the young (See ).

    Despite all this, by February 2013, The Press highlighted CERA’s “well-being” survey (See ) again, the results in stark contrast with reality. One would be hard pressed not to wonder if it was merely a public relations ploy. Apparently, according to CERA, Cantabarians are resilient and “still happy with their lot.” Nonetheless, again, it was quickly pointed out that CERA’s results were quite biased, (See ). The Herald pointed out numerous methodological flaws, and tactics to bias the results, such as including “neutral” response in with “confident” and “very confident”. Surely they read the book “How to Lie with Statistics.” Not surprisingly, my comments in The Press regarding these flaws were censored.

    While I most emphatically believe there should be an EQC performance review, somehow I believe the results will be something like “95% of respondents are satisfied and happy with EQC,” and that’s what the rest of the country will hear.


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