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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Red Zone FAQ from the NZ Bankers Association

The New Zealand Bankers Association (NZBA) has a web site promoting their activities, and providing generic information about situations faced by bank customers. The web site is here.

The NZBA recently released an FAQ containing information for Residential Red Zone residents, and their lawyers, on the perspective taken by banks on the Government's Red Zone offer.  Information in the FAQ covers the complications that arise where mortgages are involved (no hard information), contacts in each of the member banks, short answers to questions about how the purchase price deposit will be treated, and what banks will expect of lawyers.

The FAQ can be downloaded in PDF format from here.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Whats inside a Red Zone pack?

CERA have a web page that explains what is inside the Government's "offer pack". Copies of the documents in the pack are also available to see or download.

The web page is here.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquake Royal Commission - GNS technical report

From the Royal Commission's website:
The Commission has published a report from Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) and requested evidence or submissions relating to this report and/or the issue of seismicity:
1a. New Zealand's geological setting
1b. Seismological model for New Zealand, and in particular for Canterbury
1c. The nature and severity of the Canterbury earthquakes
Submissions and evidence should be provided in electronic form by Friday 30 September 2011.
The report can be found here.

The report is broken into four parts.

Part 1  Contents, Executive Summary, Introduction, Background (here) has a very useful background to New Zealand, Canterbury and earthquakes, along with an executive summary of Parts 2-4.

Part 2 The Canterbury Earthquakes (here) provides a detailed scientific account of what happened on the 4th of September, 26th of December, 22nd of February, and the 13th of June.

Part 3 Implications for Christchurch (here), is one of the better scientific descriptions of what seismic activity is possible over the next twenty years (including the Alpine Fault). It is difficult reading in parts but some of the highly technical stuff can be skipped over without losing the core message. 

Part 4 National Implications, Conclusions, Acknowledgements, References, Appendices 1-5 (here). The appendices include descriptions and explanations of the types of faults that can occur, the tectonic structure of Canterbury including the major fault systems, and previous major earthquakes in New Zealand's history.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Residential Red Zone on the BBC

Brian Parker of CanCERN, and a Red Zone resident in Avondale, was interviewed by the BBC yesterday. You can find that interview on the BBC's website here.
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Central Library update

The following is from the Central Library's website (here). The last sentence of the last paragraph makes particularly interesting reading.
Central Library on Gloucester Street remains closed
24 August 2011
Christchurch City Council has received a detailed engineering evaluation of the Central Library in Gloucester Street following the February and June earthquakes.
The report shows the building performed well and is not an earthquake risk. There is some non-structural damage to the building, such as cracking, including the floor slab on the library’s ground floor. A number of other buildings near the library are also damaged and awaiting demolition or further assessment. There is currently no timeline for those demolitions.
We appreciate your continued support and would encourage you to visit our newest central city library, the Central South City Library. The library is in a refurbished store in South City Mall in Colombo Street. Keep an eye out on this website for more details on another new library planned for Peterborough Street in the next two months.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Red Zone house valuations - Lianne Dalziel's perspective

In edition 97 (22nd August) of Brendon Burn's Christchurch Earthquake Bulletin Lianne Dalziel has the following comments on house valuations where additional work has been done since 2007.
After the offer to red-zone property owners, the issue was repeatedly raised by people, at briefings organised by CERA, whether people who had done up their houses would have those costs considered.
The message was that if a building consent had been involved, the issue was clear-cut, but if that wasn’t the case, people should keep their receipts. That was comforting, as so many people have done up bathrooms or kitchens or other parts of the house, often spending many thousands of dollars.
Now it has been formally confirmed that there are only two grounds for such compensation — if there has been a mistake in terms of the footprint, or if the alterations have increased the size of the footprint of the house, which will show up in the building consent. Anything else, even if it cost maybe $30,000, is a matter for private insurers, but that, of course, is only true if a damaged house is being rebuilt.
Many people, including elderly people (who maybe wanted to tidy their house while they could), now face the reality that their money has gone down the drain. Given what is being spent overall, how much extra would it have cost to show this bit of humanity? It is these little things that add so much to stress and anxiety, particularly for those who already feel helpless.
The Bulletin is here (note: in the Bulletin the comments are one big paragraph, here they have been split into smaller paragraphs to make them more readable. Otherwise nothing has been changed).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Insurance companies and the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry

After the State's floods, the Queensland Premier set up in January this year an independent Commission of Inquiry to examine the floods and their aftermath. It is required to report back in February 2012.

Unlike the Royal Commission of Inquiry sitting in Christchurch, with its very tight focus, the Queensland Commission has been given wider terms of reference. They are to examine the chain of events prior to the floods, what happened during the floods, and what happened afterwards.

Of particular interest is the inclusion in the terms of reference the requirement to examine the performance of insurance companies. The following is from the Commission's website (here)
The Commission’s terms of reference require it to examine the performance of private insurers in meeting their claims responsibilities. This will involve an inquiry into the performance of private insurers in processing and deciding flood related claims including, but not limited to:
  • the timeliness, or otherwise, of processing claims
  • the adequacy, or otherwise, of the assessment process
  • the adequacy, or otherwise, of communication between the insurer and the insured
  • the adequacy, or otherwise, of complaints processes about the claims
  • whether any potential claimants have been inappropriately dissuaded from lodging or pursuing a claim.
The Commission is considering submissions and other material on insurance related matters, and it will hold public hearings in Brisbane and a number of regional centres.
Also being investigated, although by a Commonwealth review process, are other factors of disaster insurance on a nation wide basis and covering:
  • the extent of underinsurance and non-insurance;
  • the ability of private insurers to offer adequate and affordable cover;
  • how to enhance consumer awareness about scope and coverage of insurance;
  • future insurance premium levels;
  • whether insurance should be subsidised or provided through a national disaster insurance program;
  • disaster mitigation strategies affect availability and affordability of flood and other disaster insurance.
Information on the Commonwealth review is here.

These Australian areas of review have great relevance to our New Zealand situation, and are needed here, with the one difference of including EQC as an insurer for the purpose of the reviews. There ought not be much resistance to the idea as a large part of the insurance offered in New Zealand is from Australian based companies who must be used to being reviewed by now.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red Zones and rateable value

Today's Sunday Star Times has an article Offer to red zone owners a 'disgrace' by Lois Cairns.

The last part of the article covers the accuracy of rating valuations and retired valuer Roger Hallinan, who spent 40 years of his life valuing properties in Christchurch, is quoted as saying:
... rating valuations are easy to get wrong because they don't involve on-site inspections and are often determined by computer modelling. "It's recognised in the industry that mass-appraisal computer techniques employed by rating valuation companies can cause distortions and vary between being high and below the market," he said.
A very interesting article, especially if you feel the value attributed to your land is unrealistically low. Its in the newspaper today, or online at the Press here.
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