1000 days since the first Earthquake!!
“Nero fiddled while Rome Burned”
Time to make the next 1000 days the People’s Recovery!!
It is a good time to sit back and reflect on Christchurch’s earthquake recovery since September 2010.
WeCan has consistently presented facts and experiences from affected people. Little of what we were saying over 18 months ago has changed. “I know we appear negative,” says Mike Coleman, spokesperson for WeCan, “but we have been presenting reality. Not everyone wants to hear it but the truth is simple this recovery has not primarily been focused on sorting the worst affected people and their homes.”
Our largest insurer, IAG, which has 75% of the insurance market in the city hoped to get 500 homes rebuilt by July 2013 but says it is likely to be 275 homes. They have 6000 homes to rebuild. WeCan does the sums: they hope to have completed 4.5% of their rebuilds by July.
“WeCan believes this is totally unacceptable and people in the worst affected TC3 homes are being left in appalling conditions and it looks like they will have many winters before their homes and lives will be seen to,” says Mike Coleman. “It is just not enough to talk timeframes and possibilities anymore. Words are meaningless without real desire to sort the most vulnerable homes out.”
WeCan has accessed this information from Statistics New Zealand. We seriously question whether IAG will even get to 275 homes when only 55 new home dwellings were consented in February of this year
Drop in value of earthquake-related consents in Canterbury
Canterbury consents identified as being earthquake-related totalled $35 million in February 2013,
down from $60 million in January and the lowest since $28 million in April 2012. This month $26
million was for residential buildings, including 55 new dwellings (1 relocatable) and $9 million
was for non-residential work.
Since 4 September 2010, almost 3,900 earthquake-related consents have been identified in
Canterbury, totalling. Extract from Statistics New Zealand report Feb 2013
WeCan asks why is the Government backed insurer Southern Response one of the most difficult to get fair outcomes from. “The Government is treating the very people they say they are recovering in a disgraceful manner. Few are finding a way forward with SR. They are shutting down on their clients and not giving fully entitlements.” states Mike Coleman
The Earthquake Commission is also running a highly inefficient and unacceptable operation. Contrary to Ian Simpson’s promise to hundreds at a rally outside EQC in 2012 to appoint Case Workers for the most vulnerable folk, especially the elderly, nothing has been done. People wait in priority cues with no work being done to their homes. (see Stuff article above) “We would like to see Ian Simpson replaced and an enquiry to why a Government organisation is crippling the very people it is designed to support.” Says Mike Coleman
WeCan people have been asking these fair questions for two years and again no answer:
Why do we as the policy owner have to deal with EQC and the insurer…
When we only have a contract with one party…the insurer…
WHY didn’t EQC let the insurer deal with their own clients, they deal with claims every day…they could sort out the apportionment behind the scenes…homeowners should not have to deal with apportionment and, one saying the cost is this much and the other saying no it is this much…who cares…fix the house and apportion the claim behind the scenes…
I have said this time and time again to the insurers…they won’t do it because it would speed things up…and add more work for them
EQC legislation was changed behind closed doors…allowing EQC to settle claims when they wanted…NOT good enough…change the law back to having the claim settled within a year as was written in law…Brownlee changed this a year ago.
We need scopes on our homes completed by competent people…not trying to screw down scopes and unjustly dealing with clients..
One company is project managing the majority of the claims… Fletchers… a Monopoly…its uncompetitive… there are many builders left with no work… sitting around wanting work…
Fletchers have the control on the majority of the materials; I wonder what level of material increases have occurred… one company controlling, manufacturing, sub-contractors, and retailers. Clicking the ticket along the way…clicking the ticket to recovery, profiting from others suffering… they are holding up everything… because they can charge what they like… there is no competition…
People can move on with their lives… that is the key…people are dying inside because of the lack of action…we see brand new homes being built and driveways being fixed in better neighbourhoods …whilst the worst affected have to live with the mouldy rotting homes… the Minister talks about what they have done…but doesn’t even consider that they are fixing the easy fixes…and that gets the great numbers…to put on TV and say look at what we are doing…even the Minister is bragging he is getting his home rebuilt now …why should the supposed captain of the recovery get a rebuild before thousands of others….
In 1000 days no affordable land was brought to the market. 7800 homes were red zoned yet not one section has become available in Christchurch at a fair price. Now 99% of red zoners have gone. Where is the land Mr Brownlee promised? All too late. This took place even though the Government owned 2200 sections north of the city having purchased from the South Canterbury Finance Company $1.8 billion bailout.
Now the housing market escalates and rental prices increase weekly in less affected areas.
No intervention, no rental caps to stop people making a killing from the most affected. The Earthquake Minister on this fact alone needs to stand down. He has failed to enact recovery for those who had to leave their homes.
In November 2012, WeCan asked the Earthquake Minister to set up an Independent Advocacy Service to help quake affected citizens with their claims. Nothing was done and Cantabs have been fighting EQC and Insurance Companies for 18 months without help. “WeCan is now pleased to see the CERA Residential Advisory Service up and running. It is the first proactive step we have seen from Mr Brownlee to support quake affected people. It is good to see insurance companies signing up to find ways forward for their clients and we hope they will be genuine about ensuring their clients receive their fair entitlements,” states Mike Coleman.
The focus on the Central City blueprint without the same emphasis on residential recovery has been one of the biggest blunders in the recovery so far. “In the 1000 days of recovery the Minister has made priority stadiums and convention centres before homes and families. WeCan now asks Mr Brownlee to make the next 1000 days the people’s recovery,” says Mike Coleman. “Let’s all work together to get people’s claims through, homes built, repairs made, land on the market. It needs the City Council, CERA, community groups, EQC and Insurance Companies to have a genuine desire to get this city on its feet. NO more words only actions matter for the next 1000 days. Perhaps now is the time for those with little damage saying no to repairs and asking EQC and Insurance Companies to get on and fix the worst affected TC3 homes.”
Finally, WeCan wants to acknowledge the many red zoners who have been traumatised by the recovery process. Those who left their homes taking a rateable value that was far from their equity. Those who got insurance pay outs not equating to true entitlement in their policies, those who have been bullied off their land or who have to stay as the Government ‘offer’ was unfair and those who were offered 50% on land uninsurable. Many will be financially crippled for life. “Our heart goes out to these people. We hope one day there will be a Commission of Enquiry on the appalling handling of red zone land and the ordinary citizens who lived there.” laments Mike Coleman, spokesperson for the Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network.
Mike Coleman 027 392 8278 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 027 392 8278 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Other WeCan! Contacts:
Brent Cairns 027 222 4767 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 027 222 4767 end_of_the_skype_highlighting