Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed today's news the Earthquake Commission is now more than halfway through assessments of claims lodged after the Canterbury earthquake.
Today, EQC passed the halfway mark and has now assessed more than 84,500 properties. It says it is on track to have completed assessments for all of the claims it has received to date by 31 March 2011.
EQC says it has only received about 95 requests from claimants for a reassessment because they disagreed with their first assessment, which is a relatively small number given the scale of this event.The press release can be found here.
No doubt they have reached a halfway point, but the halfway point of what?
Lets look at some numbers: as at the 14th of January (latest date for which published statistics are available) approximately half of all claims had not been started. Of those that had been started 26,000 had fieldwork still underway, 25,500 had had their fieldwork finished but were not complete, and about 31,000 were completed.
So, just under a week ago, only 31,000 claims had been completed. There is no clear breakdown of what is represented by this 31,000 number. As an EQC priority has been to deal with small claims first, it is likely these make up the bulk of that number. Anecdotally EQC have had a relatively low threshold of proof on breakages, especially those under $100. Chances are many would be happy with the alacrity with which their claims were approved. At the other extreme, those who are above the $100,00 threshold aren't necessarily happy, just repositioned into a private sector queue for processing.
Now lets look at Cowlishaw Street. Some have received their assessments, others haven't. Two households have complained in some form or other with the result that they were revisited and reassessed. So, one street alone makes up for over 2% of the reassessments. Even if there was only one reassessment per street for the remaining 93, does that mean there are a thousand or more streets of happily assessed people?
Of course the number '95' doesn't take into account those who have expressed dissatisfaction with the time taken to do assessments - you don't count if you haven't been assessed (around 80,000 households). You don't count if you have been visited but haven't received your assessment (maybe some 40,000+), nor do you count if your complaint is about the time taken to process claims for payment (who knows how many?).
Halfway point of what? It seems a load of cobblers to me, Gerry.