Earthquake Commission’s response to WECAN’s Official Information’s Request,
Received via NZ Post 26th June 2013
‘Perfidy in Aotearoa’: deliberate treachery, deceit through trustingness in New Zealand.
The WECAN Request
On 13th May 2013, the Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network of Canterbury (WECAN), forwarded an extensive Official Information Request to the office of Ian Simpson, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Earthquake Commission.
WECAN requested information covering questions relating to damage assessment techniques used by EQC, standards of workmanship, information provisions and consultation with home owners, homeowners direct dealings with insurance companies, withholding of contractual information, and ‘acceptable repair solutions’ which potentially undermine the New Zealand 2004 Building Act.
WECAN requested information relating to EQC’s policies and procedures and how those relate to New Zealanders civil rights, the Human Rights Act, the Fair Trading Act, Consumer Protection Guarantees Act and the Commerce Commission guidelines.
The EQC Response:
If WECAN is to receive the information it requested it is required to pay $24,300.00 plus paper costs.
EQC has agreed to:
- Answer 10 questions in total (including 12 appendix questions)
- Partially respond to a further 7 questions.
- Refused to supply any information for 2 total questions and 5 partial questions asked (34 questions refused when adding up appendix questions).
- Forwarded 8 total questions (16 questions in total when including appendix questions) to other relevant parties to respond. (The Honourable Gerry Brownlee’s office, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and the Minister of Building & Housing).
- EQC have estimated it will take 8 weeks at $76.00 per hour plus paper costs to supply responses to approximately 20 questions!!!
- ‘where information could be made available to you it will be necessary for you to agree to EQC’s time extension and charging regime (in accordance with section 15A of the Act)’.
- ‘EQC’s charges out regime is offered and applied to customers where information can be made available but will involve significant time or resources to complete. The fees are considerably lower than the Office of the Ombudsman and Ministry of Justice guidelines for fair and reasonable charges’.
- ‘First (3) hours – Free (note as of 24th June this has already been fully utilised and all further information provided to you will be charged for)’
- ‘thereafter $38. For each additional half hour or part thereof’.
- Paper: ‘20 cents per double sided page after 40 pages’.
- ‘EQC requires a minimum of 8 weeks from your date of confirmation that you are willing to pay EQC’s charge rates for this information’.
In light of this wholly unreasonable response from EQC, WECAN has forwarded EQC’s response on to the Auditor General’s Office and the Ombudsman for their interpretation of EQC’s response in light of the communities’ needs and rights.
WECAN believes that the Official Information Request is justified based on the abuses of our citizens legal and human rights which we witness in Canterbury on a daily basis.
WCAN would like to publicly thank the Lawyers, Engineers, Surveyors and all other professional and Community sectors, who assisted in the preparation of this Official Information Act request.