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Friday, 8 July 2011

Vultures circling?

Went to the letter box about 10 minutes ago and found a big plain white hand delivered envelope marked:

Red Zone Resident
Invitation & Information

Being in the Orange Zone my first thought was the geotech results must have been processed in a commendably quick time.

Inside is a pile of advertising material for mortgages, property and life insurance, savings and investments, a real estate company, and a couple of removal companies. 

Not amused! Right now a high degree of sensitivity is required over what goes into peoples' letter boxes. There are ways of doing this sort of advertising stuff (e.g. a CERA or CCC or CanCERN sponsored Expo), but this is not one of them. These outfits are now on my boycott list:
  • Lifetime Insurance Brokers
  • Lifetime Financial Security NZ Ltd
  • Crown Relocations
  • Grace Removals Group
  • Harcourts Grenadier City office
 The government is still working its way through the finer points of the package, so it is too early to to get involved in the details with strangers.

Holy Trinity Avonside - Community Lunch

Holy Trinity Avonside are hosting a community lunch in Lychgate Close this Sunday (10th) between 11.00 and 2.00. The lunch is free (soup, savouries, and more) with some give-aways plus a chance to win petrol and cafe vouchers.

Quite apart from the community lunch, Holy Trinity is worth a visit because of its long standing connection with the development of Christchurch (check out some of the head stones), and being an "early settler" itself in the eastern suburbs.

Churches on this site have been part of the development of the eastern suburbs from the very beginning. The parish of Avonside originally covered the whole of North East Christchurch (up to the Styx River, over to Parklands and New Brighton, and down to include part of Phillipstown). The first church was consecrated in 1857, and parts of the current church were started in 1874. It has now been deconsecrated and is not far off demolition.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

State Insurance - Red Zone update and timetable

State have put information on their website about the latest state of play in assessing their policy holders in the Residential Red Zone. Policy holders in the Orange Zone are being asked to wait until their land assessment is completed.

Priority is being given to those in the red zones, and no further green zone assessments will take place until they are finished. The following is from their website (here):
A letter with more information is being posted to you soon, but in the meantime, here is an overview of our assessment timetable for the residential zones.
If you are in the residential red zones
We are now completing all assessments of homes in the red residential land zone before continuing assessments in the green zone.
We have 10 assessments teams working in the red residential land zone, working through these suburbs, as follows:
  • remainder of Bexley and Horseshoe Lake areas: June - 1 July
  • Dallington and Avondale: 4 - 15 July
  • remainder of Dallington, Avonside and Richmond: 18 July - 5 August
  • Burwood and North New Brighton: 8 - 19 August
  • Brooklands and Kairaki: 22 - 26 August
As our partner Hawkins moves into your area, they will contact you to arrange a time to visit you and assess your property.
Once the Hawkins’ assessment is completed, we will be able to provide you with a detailed outline of the repair or reinstatement costs of your home within three to four few weeks, along with information on the settlement options available.
In the meantime, it is important that you keep your home insured, and protect it if you are not living there.
If you have moved or your contact details have changed, please email us your new details at

Brendon Burns - property equity for those in the Red Zone

The following is an extract from Brendon's blog (here).
"With Christchurch colleagues, I asked questions in Parliament yesterday on whether equity is preserved under the Government’s dual-option offer to Red Zone residents. We asked those questions because many of our constituents heard and took assurance from comments that their equity would be preserved. Now they are coming up against the brick wall of brutal reality."
"Community indications in Avonside indicate many in that part of my electorate see themselves losing between $50,000 – $90,000 if they take the Government’s land and building option. The option to take the land settlement and negotiate with your insurance company can produce even bigger equity drops where houses have moderate damage that doesn’t trigger what insurers regard as Total Replacement payments."
"There have been on-going efforts by Government to deny that assurances on equity were given or to suggest they were made pre-February 22. Journalists have been told that this is not true. Our questions showed such assurances were being given as recently as after the June 13 event. If February changed things, people deserved to be told upfront. Instead we’ve had the continuation of Government double-speak; it has continued to give assurances on equity being preserved when in fact that is blatantly not the case for many people."

Cowlishaw Street - temporary water feature

After bubbling away for some time, the pipe taking high pressure water for fire fighting burst at the entrance to the staff carpark at AGHS. It has now been turned off.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

EQC and Facebook

The Press today has an article headed: EQC stops answering questions in response to EQC deciding not to continue with its Facebook or Trademe activities. The article gives quotes from a number of users who accuse EQC of not being able to cope with public comment on those sites, and retreating from public engagement. The article is here.

Probably the only good thing about both of those two sites was EQC being brave enough to give it a go in the latest types of electronic expression. Both were a waste of EQC energy because conversations on those sites are at best disorganised, and it is hard for users to keep track of what is being said.  A greater problem, from the observer's point of view, was knowing whether the comments of some the non-EQC participants bore any connection with reality. Many of the comments and points made by users were dubious or misleading, and could easily have caused others to become confused or go away with the wrong idea.

Not really a news story. A news story would be if EQC stopped releasing information at all, and especially under the Official Information Act. That would be close to a hanging offence and certainly newsworthy.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

CanCERN - board appointments

CanCERN held its first general meeting this evening. The main purpose of the meeting was to appoint members to the Board which will give CanCERN its strategic direction and oversight. The Board consists of five positions, four of which are elected, plus the Patron (Peter Beck, the Dean of Christchurch).

There were four positions available: Chair, Vice-Chair and two members.

  • Tom McBrearty was the only candidate and elected unopposed. 

    There were two candidates
    • Mark Hau (Canterbury Business Recovery Network)
    • Lesley Keast (Third Age Forum)
    Mark Hau was elected to the position.


    There were six candidates for two general positions
    • Lesley Keast (Third Age Forum)
    • Terry O'Leary (Sumner Community Group)
    • Clarrie Pearce (NW Richmond Community Group)
    • Jenny Smith  (Te Whare Roimata - Inner City East / West Linwood)
    • Josh Stevenson (Hillsborough Murray Ansley)
    • Barry Tutt  (Bexley Residents Association)
    Terry O'Leary and Barry Tutt were elected to the two general positions.

    Monday, 4 July 2011

    Retreat Road sewer repairs

    All going well, repairs will start on the sewer line down Retreat Road in the morning (Tuesday).

    Central City Library

    The Central City Library remains closed and will be so indefinitely. An alternative location for a few essential services will be opened at South City Mall on Friday.  This includes photocopying, public computers, internet (presumably WiFi, although that isn't clear). The Library's announcement reads:
    Central South City Library — opens 8 July
    Christchurch City Libraries has been looking for an alternative central city location after the Central Library in Gloucester Street was damaged in the 22 February earthquake and is currently closed.
    Library services will available from Central South City Library — Shop 3, near the entrance to the New World supermarket — from Friday 8 July. It will offer a collection of popular books, DVDs and more. Five public computers are available, with free internet, as well as copying, printing, and scanning services.
    Opening hours:
        Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 6:00pm,
        Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am - 5:00pm.

    Legal information for those in the Red Zones

    Saturday's Press has an article on page G2: Charting the way for red-zoners.

    Written by property lawyer Richard Parkes, the article brings together all the information known so far, along with a few comments. There is a copy on-line here.

    Sunday, 3 July 2011

    Blog photographs

    The recent Retreat Road photographs were more popular than I imagined. Blogger/Blogspot works best with Picasa Web Albums and so that is where the photographs are stored. Unfortunately Picasa Web Albums is difficult to find and navigate so a different tack is being tried.

    Most of my Retreat Road photographs (October to June) have been put on Flickr. As we weren't here in September there are no photographs immediately after the first earthquake. Some of the photographs have not appeared on the blog so there will be something new to see.

    The photographs have been uploaded warts and all, editing takes too long, so there will be the occasional sloping horizon and less than perfect exposure. If there is enough interest, pictures from other streets can be put up when there is time. If I've labelled something wrong please let me know.

    The flickr site is