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Public Notice of Objection to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s intention to dispose of records and documentation – Guest post by WeCAN

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Just to let you know that this letter has been sent out today to:wecan

1.TV1 News, Radio NZ, CTV News

2. His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand

3. The director, Archives New Zealand

4. Archives New Zealand Christchurch Regional Office

5. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission Commissioners:     Murray Sherwin (Chair), Dame Margaret Bazley (Deputy Chair), David Ayers, Arihia Bennett, Kelvin Coe, David Hopkins, Bob Parker.

6. Christchurch Mayor: Lianne Dalziel

7. The Justice Minister

8. Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority Acting Chief Executive, John Ombler

9. Deputy Chief Executive, Social and Cultural Recovery Michelle Mitchell

10 The Auditor General Lyn Provost

11 Offices of the Privacy Commissioner

12 Offices of the Ombudsman

13 Glenn Livingston Christchurch City Council

Public Notice of Objection to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s intention to dispose of records and documentation.

WeCAN considers it is an affront to our democracy that the records of such vital decisions, that have affected the lives of so many thousands of Cantabrians, can be destroyed without future review or accountability.   

We call on the Government to stop this action immediately.

On behalf of the people and communities of Christchurch, the Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan)  are asking for an urgent halt to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s (CERA) plan to dispose of any records, information or documentation pertaining to:

1.       Policies, procedures and the decision making processes undertaken to reach conclusions including all such conclusions and the identification of those responsible for making decisions (inclusive of the persons’ qualifications at the time of conclusion);

2.       Professional and visiting guest speakers and advisers to Christchurch, who have in any way, shape or form informed or presented information or advice to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority or CERA’s affiliated services, pertaining to post-earthquake security (electronic, written and recorded), health,  recovery, land / hazard information,  processes , procedures or proposals;

3.       Land information and zoning procedures and decision making processes taken to reach conclusions including all such conclusions and the identification of those responsible for making decisions, (inclusive of the persons’ qualifications at the time of conclusion);

4.       All social media records and all records of any form of media interaction with the general public (inclusive of public notifications, events, and information sent / supplied to individual parties).

Presently, there is much concern regarding the processes, procedures and decisions made by CERA on behalf of the communities in Canterbury, which have left people’s insurance claims and land claims unresolved since the seismic events started in September 2010 (4.5 years ago).

It appears that the ‘correct’ land information pertaining to residents’ properties was not made accessible to the public, and many homes are now in areas where the land has dropped to below high tide level. These residents are protected by ‘temporary stop banks’, where their lives and ongoing health and safety are not being considered as a priority.

This is inconsistent with the Earthquake Commission Act 1993, (refer: Objective 1: Safer communities and rapid recovery from natural disasters), which states it provides:

·         ‘Safer communities and rapid recovery from natural disasters’.

·         ‘EQC’s activities are also directed towards ensuring that in the event of a natural disaster New Zealanders can receive prompt assessment of damage to their property and early settlement of claims.  To this end, EQC maintains a Catastrophe Response Programme that aims to ensure that EQC can meet its commitments following even the worst foreseeable disaster’.

This also contravenes what is expected of the Earthquake Commission Act and the Building Act:

That Reinstatement or replacement works would have to provide a safe and sanitary dwelling at the conclusion of the construction works with the ability to sustain limited damage in another seismic event.

On the 15th February 2015, WeCan submitted Public Notified Hazard notices to the Christchurch City Council, officially notifying them of the now identified below hazards, and supplied the Council with information/data and reports currently available, which ‘best identified’ the post-earthquake hazards in Christchurch.

·         Condition of Stop Banks

·         Coastal Hazard

·         Erosion Hazard

·         Fault line Hazard

·         Groundwater Hazard (pertaining to post-quake raised water levels).

·         Sewerage and Waste Water.

·         Asbestos identification, removal, disposal and human health.

·         Landfill and building waste disposal.

·         Diminished housing stocks: non-compliant repair / exemptions from consent, the use of the MBIE Guidance resulting in unhealthy housing in Canterbury.

WeCan feels it is imperative that all CERA records be retained in their full complete form, to enable best identification of all information available pertaining to the post-earthquake recovery decision making processes.

This information is of public interest and will also likely be used to best identify both failed and successful processes and procedures to better protect our citizens in future catastrophic events.

WeCan have recently submitted numerous complaints against earthquake victims’ human rights to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

WeCan are receiving reports and complaints about victims’ living conditions and ill-treatment post-quakes on a daily basis.

The information CERA have planned to destroy is information WeCan views as being of public interest in identifying how this negligence (now resulting in abuse) of earthquake victims’ human rights has been generated. WeCan can use this information to ensure better information / responses and professionalism be implemented during any future catastrophic civil emergencies in New Zealand.

We ask that all information, electronic, written or recorded be maintained by and kept in the New Zealand Archives, to ensure total disclosure of all available information and a complete and thorough audit trail of events.

Your immediate attention and intervention to stop the destruction of such important public information is appreciated.

We look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

Brent Cairns (spokesperson)

Sarah O’Brien (spokesperson)

and the Wider Earthquake Communities’ Action Network Team.

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'.

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