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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Earthquake Recovery Symposium

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods has announced an earthquake recovery symposium to be held in November.

There is a news release concerning this on the Council's website here.   

The news item in Tuesday’s Press says it "... will be held on November 29 and 30 at the University of Canterbury. Up to 250 people from the public, private, community and academic realms will be invited." Mayor Lianne Dalziel is quoted as saying the symposium will be preceded by a series of workshops.  The full article is on the Press website here .

Maybe my opinion is unduly cynical but it seems to me this is yet another high-risk situation. Many of the principle participants may be serial symposium and conference attendees, rather than practical and experienced people. If so it could end up being a talk-fest for a range of folk who neither directly experienced the after-effects of the earthquakes, nor made a valuable contribution to the recovery effort. Minister Woods is quoted by the Council:

“The Symposium will be an event of national importance, sharing lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes so that New Zealand as a whole can be better prepared in future for any similar natural disasters,'' Dr Woods says.

"The Canterbury earthquakes were unprecedented. They provide us with many valuable lessons, which we continue to review and learn from to ensure our communities are more resilient and prepared.

While these people will have something to share, can we be sure about how well the lessons are understood? Such sharing is premature in the absence of substantial external investigations into how well various agencies performed.

Some time this year EQC will be up for scrutiny, which is good. However we still await investigation into the performance of CERA, private insurers, Council, and the health system.

How can we learn from our experiences if only official respectful, constructive, and forward-focused versions of events are available? Will, with the passage of time, institutional memories be created of heroic and insightful efforts to the exclusion of inconvenient realities? What harm will that do in misinforming future recovery efforts?

And what of Mayor Dalziel's workshops? Is this a polite way of saying the experiences and knowledge of the ordinary person will funnelled into well managed groups where minders with flipcharts, or sticky notes to put on the wall, will record what is said, promising it will be relayed to the higher-ups?

Hopefully Minister Woods will ensure that those who experienced it all first hand, the workers who fixed the problems, the scientists who walked through the silt, the medical professionals who handled the harm, will have an influential and undiluted voice.

As an aside, Minister Brownlee cancelled an earlier proposed symposium in November 2016. A Press article about the cancellation (here) stated "Fifty-one speakers, including overseas attendees, had been confirmed and "speaker guidelines" were produced to ensure a "respectful, constructive, and forward-focused event". Among those invited to speak were " ... Prime Minister John Key, Sir Peter Gluckman, former EQC boss Ian Simpson and numerous international experts." Dinner was to be held at the Tannery. A really experienced and well-informed bunch?

Will it be a similar cast of characters this year?

Monday, 11 June 2018

Vestiges – a Red Zone photography exhibition

You may recall the Thanx 4 the Memories exhibition back in August 2013. Tim Veling, one of the photographers involved with that project, is continuing to photograph the Red Zones as the land changes.

Tim has a small exhibition of some of the changed landscapes at COCA gallery in Christchurch. Details of the exhibition, that runs until the 29th of July, can be found on COCA’s website here.

An interesting challenge is to look at the images and try to identify where they were taken! Addresses are given in the programme accompanying the exhibition.

Tim is also administrator of the ongoing Place in Time: The Christchurch Documentary Project.  You can see more of Tim’s Red Zone images if you follow the links below:

https://www.timjveling.com/thx-4-the-memories

https://www.timjveling.com/rewilding/

Monday, 4 June 2018

Red Zone Futures Exhibition

Regenerate Christchurch have opened a public exhibition showcasing the big picture ideas they have developed for the Christchurch red zones.

The exhibition is at 99 Cashel Street and runs 7 days a week until the 30th of June. Opening hours are on the exhibition website here.

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Back again

There are a few things happening so time to restart the blog.

First information post will be tomorrow.

Lawrence

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Survey of former residential red zone owners who accepted Crown offers

CERA is currently surveying all who were Red Zoned and accepted the  Government’s (Crown)  offer.  Research company Neilsen are conducting the survey and invitations to take part started going out via e-mail on the 14th (last week).

If you were Red Zoned, and took the offer, you should have received a survey invitation by now. If not it is likely to be the result of a change of e-mail address since the Crown offer process started. Whatever the reason, you can participate by ringing Neilsen on  0800 400 402.

If you are cautious about taking part in case it resurrects stresses and demons best left buried, Neilsen offer the following advice in the first part of the survey:

We hope that you will find the survey experience positive, but we understand that many former property owners may find the issues it covers difficult and taking part may bring back mixed emotions. If you find this to be the case we encourage you to consider calling the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 or to contact a trusted friend. You are free to stop the survey at any time.

Should your caution be motivated by cynicism or mistrust you won’t be alone. Never the less give thought to at least looking at the survey. If you don’t have your say, your views won’t be in the mix.

The survey is structured in an unusual way that may, or may not, fully and accurately capture the issues and experiences of Red Zoners. There are two parts for some participants to fill in, and one for others. Each part has a wide range of questions.  It may be you will find the questions don’t address issues that were, or still are, important. This can be saved up for the final part of the survey where there is (at least in the draft I have seen courtesy of Neilsen and CERA) an open-ended question:

Finally, please add any comments or suggestions you would like to make, particularly any suggestions about what more could be done to help people in the future if their properties are in the worst affected areas following a natural disaster.

Take the opportunity to say what you have to say, there may never be another chance. Were there stresses that the survey overlooks  (e.g. being in the limbo of an Orange zoning, having to relocate while the Ministry of Education was restructuring schools)? Were there services that just weren’t up to it and so you didn’t use them  (e.g. a medical centre or other health service you thought incapable or unwilling to give the help needed?)  Anything else? Mention it now; include the things that worked, as knowing what worked is as important as knowing what failed. 

Unfortunately for some, the survey is designed to be completed on-line (another example of not acknowledging the electronic world is inaccessible or alien to many?). Even those with computers and the skills to use them may have difficulties – many of us were brought up as part of a paper based and reflective culture where time was available and drafts were used to ensure we said as clearly as we could exactly what we meant. If you know anyone who would struggle to do this perhaps you could help them, or maybe ring Neilsen and see what support they can offer. The Human Rights Commission and others may have something to contribute here.

The following is CERA’s release intended for those who haven’t been contacted about the survey:

CERA is conducting a voluntary, confidential online survey of former residential red zone property owners who accepted Crown offers for purchase of their properties. The survey is intended to help the Government, local authorities and communities in responding to any similar situations that might come up in the future.

CERA has contacted former property owners (or people who acted on their behalf) directly, but some people's contact details have changed in the past couple of years. If you're a former residential red zone property owner who accepted a Crown offer for purchase of your property and haven't received your invitation to participate, please contact Nielsen, the independent research company carrying out the survey on CERA's behalf: 0800 400 402.

Monday, 5 October 2015

THX 4 THE MEMORIES - Avonside photographic exhibition now online.

The 22nd of August 2013 was the official opening of the Avonside photography project Thx 4 the Memories exhibited along Worcester Street.

It consisted of photographs of Avonside people by Bridgit Anderson and Tim Veling along with snippets of their Red Zone experiences as recorded by Glen Busch (original post here).

Tim has put together an online book that recreates the exhibition and you can find it by clicking on the first link below. Eventually, once numerous obstacles are overcome, there will be a print version available.

Tim has a dedication and endurance second to none and continues to record what is happening where we once lived and how it will all eventually turn out. Tim has done other projects as well and the second link takes you to the projects part of his website.

Thx 4 the Memories

http://www.timjveling.com/thx-4-the-memories
then click on the book cover just below the video.

All Tim's projects

http://www.timjveling.com/galleries

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

More support for legislative changes covering insurance non-disclosure

The Insurance Business New Zealand website reprorts that dispute resolution service Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL) supports the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman’s view legislation is needed to deal with non-disclosure and insurance claims. The article is here.

The following are extracts from the article:

“We are a step behind overseas jurisdictions like Australia and the UK.

“I think the government should be taking a closer look because the current law is very old. There have been, I think, two Law Commission reports saying it’s time for the law to be looked at.”

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