Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.  Back on the 7th of January unless something out of the ordinary occurs before them.This year a Persian Christmas card, from farsinet. Quite fitting really, as the three wise men were Persians..

EQC song

The Press has an article on a song about EQC and an embedded video.  Both funny and true - here..

EQC has changed it’s Apportionment information yet again, and removed an important review provision

Yesterday EQC made major changes to the wording of its web page on apportionment (here). The information now available is less than what was put up on the 4th of December.If you are new to apportionment,  information on the current page will not give you as good a picture of what apportionment is as the earlier material.Of great importance is removal of information from the earlier version on what to do if you didn’t agree with your apportionment assessment:What to do if you don’t agree with how damage has been apportionedWhere EQC hasn't done a physical assessment of damage after each event, we generally work out apportionment by allocating a proportion of the total damage value to each event (rather than allocating specific damage – such as broken tiles – to an event). If you think you've been adversely affected by EQC’s apportionment of damage and you have evidence of damage on certain dates (eg, photographs), you can provide these to EQC and ask us to reconsider your appor…

Southern Response - Build Programme update

Southern Response have published a web page explaining how they intend going about “co-ordinating our repair and rebuild programme including a broad timeframe for when your home will be repaired or rebuilt.”The page is here and covers:the pre-design queue (which is explained) the build queue (which is explained) even spread of builds (over the different technical categories of land) catering for the vulnerable (finished by the middle of 2014) the expected number of repairs and rebuilds for each year until 2016 the possibility of an on-line system so you can keep track of what is happening with your home..

TC3 land geotechnical investigations are completed

EQC have announced that drilling of TC3 land has now been completed. The media release (here) reads:EQC’s geotechnical investigations into green zone Technical Category 3 (TC3) land have been completed – meaning approximately 10,500 Christchurch homes with foundation damage are a major step closer to being able to be repaired or replaced. The geotechnical programme began in March 2012 in the city’s eastern suburbs. It was expected to be completed by March next year – but has been completed early. The geotechnical investigations were required in order to get adequate information for foundation design. They aimed to identify or confirm soil characteristics for homes with foundation damage that are under the $100,000 (+ GST) EQC cap. The drilling was done in 50-metre grids and involved drilling bore holes to take soil samples, as well as cone penetrometer testing (CPT). Investigations were undertaken on 3,500 private properties, as well as roadside berms and reserves. Testing was not nee…

IAG – all repairs and rebuilds to commence in the next two years

IAG have issued a media release announcing, in general terms, the timetable for their repairs and rebuilds.IAG is providing further certainty for earthquake affected customers, confirming when in the next two years all residential property reinstatements will begin – with the last scheduled to start no later than the last quarter of 2014.IAG’s residential rebuild and repair programme involves 1700 rebuilds and 3000 major (overcap) repairs, which the company aims to complete by December 2015.For more information on IAG’s repair and rebuild timetable, the media release can be found here..

Coming from CERA soon - a web page devoted to community issues and questions.

CERA now have a web page to cover community issues and questions. Still in the early stages of development it will be based upon questions “developed by community groups for agencies working on the earthquake recovery to answer. Questions and answers are updated here online and a hard copy version will be available in January 2013.”The page, which has two sets of questions but no answers as yet, is here. .

Are insurance contracts unfair? What the Australians are doing.

The link here leads to an Australian legal website which in February this year published an article Are insurance contracts unfair? The article discusses whether or not insurance contracts are unfair, and if they should come under Australia’s Unfair Contracts legislation. Since it was written there have been developments with insurance contracts now to be covered by a similar approach, but using existing insurance legislation (albeit in a dilute form from what was initially proposed). However it is a good backgrounder on what is happening in Australia. The Insurance Council of Australia’s perspective is here.The Australian developments are important for us, as there is an on-going alignment of legislation between Australia and New Zealand (i.e. we end up doing what Australia has decided upon). In the context of unfair contracts, New Zealand law firm Buddle Findlay recently published an article Aligning trans-Tasman consumer law: New Zealand developments (here), and discus…

Official website for TC3’ers

CERA and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have established a website for those who live on TC3 land.  The website, Canterbury Residential Rebuild, ishere.The site describes itself as:This website summarises relevant terms and information. It links to the organisations responsible for, and involved in, helping to rebuild your home.  The site will be updated with a wider range of residential rebuild content over the coming months.It has information on:Drilling programme Foundation guidelines Geotechnical reports Land assessments The process What do I do? Who does what?And links for people who are:Home owners Tenants Builders, developers, engineers and building consent authorities Insurers Lawyers Realtors.

Update on Church plans from the Catholic Bishop of Christchurch

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch has released a diocese property earthquake update here.The update includes the following:Bishop Barry has provided information to parishes regarding the Diocesan Earthquake Strategy In his letter he states that "Since the earthquakes, the diocese is working on two levels. A Strategy Committee is looking at the overall church and school needs for the diocese over the next 30 to 50 years, while on a more immediate level diocesan staff and professional advisors are looking at all parish properties that may be repaired and/or strengthened. As you will be aware, the extent of repair differs greatly from no damage to demolition."The webpage includes links to three downloadable updates:EQ Action Plan December 2012 Church Strengthening Programme Dec 2012 Diocese Repair and Rebuild Process Dec 2012.

Red Zone deadline extended

Minister Brownlee today announced that the 30 April 2013 deadline for leaving the older Red Zones has been extended by three months. A great thing to have happened, and much appreciated.

The next task, for very early in the new year, will be to bring scrutiny to bear on the sticking points – in many cases insurance issues.

The Minister’s announcement is here.

The full text of the statement reads:

Petition to extend the Red Zone 30 April deadline

Recently Red Zoned residents in the Burwood area have launched a petition to have the 30 April deadline extended. The following is from those organising the petition:Over 80 households in the Burwood red-zone will not have homes ready to move into by the end of April. They have therefore launched a petition to request an extension with the following text. Many red-zoned residents will not be ready to move out of the red-zone by the end of April 2013 for a variety of reasons for which they carry little responsibility. Most commonly, they have been unable to settle with their insurance companies or the homes they are building are not ready because of delays relating to titles for land, consents, shortage of building materials etc. Forcing them to leave in April has a number of potential negative consequences: the acceptance of unfavourable settlements, increased financial losses including the payment of rent, rental accommodation inferior to their present home; moving twice rather than …

Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) provide a “yeah, right” moment

In a media release dated the 11th of December ICNZ have taken the opportunity to reassure us all “ claims that insurers have sought to delay or avoid payments in Christchurch are urban myth”.A page of superficial and un-researched arguments tell us everything that has been experienced or observed is not delaying tactics – it is actually insurance companies working flat out to sort and settle claims as fast as they can.For those of you involved with commercial insurance here is some great news, you are an untold success story:While much focus has been on residential claims, the untold success story is with commercial insurance where more than half of all business insurance claims are now settled.Tucked in at the very end of the media release are a couple of sentences about why premiums are going up and the new way residential property is going to be insured:Recent major global catastrophes and historically poor returns on long-term investments needed to meet new catastrophes are reason…

Earthquake Royal Commission–release of Volumes 5–7 of the Commission’s Report

The Government has released released Volumes 5 to 7 of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission report.  Copies are available online at the Royal Commission’s websitehere. These Volumes cover:

IAG and Vero go for “sum insured” insurance instead of full replacement

Stuff today reported (here) IAG and Vero have announced they are going down the “sum insured” route to replace all “full replacement” house policies. This is very much a nationwide political issue that has arisen out of Canterbury’s earthquake insurance experiences.

While it is a sensible and potentially lucrative business model for insurers and reinsurers, there are major pitfalls for policy holders and the government. Based on Canterbury experiences it is easy to envisage a not too distant future where practically every major damage or loss claim, no matter what the cause, will now be more open to the practices refined by insurers in Canterbury. At every opportunity, where costs might be reduced, policy valuations and the claims being made are likely to be subjected to insurer-friendly assessments (or reassessments) of both the sum insured and the insurance company’s view of the replacement cost.

At this stage the extent and detail of the risk to policy holders isn’t clear (the ne…

Gerry Brownlee and being stuck in the Red Zone

Yesterday’s Press carried an article Red-zoners call for more time by Charlie Gates (here). The basis of the article is that, for some people, circumstances totally beyond their control mean they cannot be out of their Red Zone properties by the 30th of April.Part of the article refers to Minister Brownlee’s view of the situation: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee told Parliament yesterday that it was "unlikely" that red-zone residents would be able to stay in their homes after the deadline had lapsed. "Given that to do that there would have to be maintenance of access and also infrastructure to those homes, it would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis but I would have to say it is unlikely," he said.[note: can’t find this in Hansard so taking the Press on trust]The impression given, and erroneously recorded for posterity in Hansard,  is that because of the need to maintain access and infrastructure to the homes of those who need an extension, it …

AA Insurance changes – important for everyone with house insurance

Stuff (here) has reported that AA Insurance will no longer provide a full replacement policy option – instead they will offer only a “sum assured” policy. Existing policy holders will automatically switch to the sum assured style of policy on the 1st of July next year (if you are an AA customer there is more info at the bottom of this blog entry).

The change to a fixed-sum policy can be expected to occur across all companies as it is becoming a requirement of re-insurers, who do not like having to cover a risk of unknown size.

AA Insurance have a media release here. The release puts a positive spin on the change, claiming faster resolution and greater certainty for policy holders. While this may be true in part, it is clear there will be crucial areas of uncertainty, and the end result will inevitably remain the same – claimants at risk of being denied what they were insured for.

As discussed in the Stuff article, establishing the rebuild value of a property will be difficult and ther…

Info updates: CERA and Southern Response

CERA have released the December issue (N0. 16) of the Greater Christchurch Recovery Update. You can download a copy from here. Issues covered include:2012 – The recovery, Canterbury-style Have your say on transport planning for the central city A brief summary of An Accessible City, the draft Transport Plan Security and safety in the residential red zone over the holidays Support services over the Christmas and New Year period SCIRT’s first full year as the infrastructure rebuild team Land acquisition What EQC is doing to settle land claims Global opportunity to find solutions for Christchurch New resource to assist Cantabrians with financial issues and updates from Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, and Waimakariri District Council Southern Response have released their first annual report.  A copy can be downloaded from here..

EQC–update to changes to the Apportionment FAQ

Monday’s blog (here) mentioned changes to how EQC would make it’s apportionment assessment, and that reference to the customer's apportionment estimate had been removed.Yesterday EQC changed the page again, reinstating that part of the text to the way it was prior to Monday. The two paragraphs (here) now read:If there is no EQC assessment for every claim, then EQC looks at evidence such as the customer's apportionment estimate and the pattern of damage at similar neighbouring properties. If damage from any of the three events had exceeded the customer's cap (usually $100,000 +GST), the repair of the home would be managed by the private insurer.Further evidence that EQC don’t know what they are doing, and the on-going absence of workable quality control?.

Hard bargaining end games

A few weeks ago there was a post on more of the tactics used by hard bargainers (here).Auckland barrister and professional mediator Nigel Dunlop has written the fifth and final article in his series describing hard bargaining tactics. This article describes the games used to put pressure on negotiations to force an unfavourable decision on someone as negotiations seem to be coming to an end. The final instalment is on the NZLawyer online websitehere..

EQC - changes to the Apportionment FAQ

EQC today changed some of the layout of its Apportionment FAQ and added more text (here).Perhaps the most significant change occurs at the end of the explanation of how apportionment works, with the removal of the paragraph (underlining added):If there is no EQC assessment for every claim, then EQC looks at evidence such as the customer's apportionment estimate and the pattern of damage at similar neighbouring properties.and replacing it with:If the damage to your home wasn’t assessed after each event, EQC needs to use a variety of methods to establish how damage should be apportioned. These include comparing the damage with other properties in the area where we know what damage occurred and when it occurred. It also includes information provided by the homeowner.Presumably the “customer’s apportionment estimate” contained in the old version was too inconvenient for EQC to live with, and so it had to be replaced by something that gave them more more wriggle-room.One wonders under …

Earthquake Royal Commission - submission of final report

From the Royal Commission’s website:The Commission completed its work when it delivered the third and final part of its Final Report on 29 November 2012.Any media enquiries about the Commission should be directed to the Department of Internal Affairs.Any media enquiries about the Government's release of the Commission's Final Report should be directed to the Attorney General's office. .

Research: Evacuation procedures in big cities after massive earthquakes

The most recent Bulletin of the Tokyo Institute of Technology contains an article on Japanese research into evacuation procedures in big cities after major earthquakes.Based on the behaviour of individuals immediately after the 11th of March 2011 earthquake, the researchers have been looking at models of how people are likely to behave as they attempt to make their own way home, and the hazards they might encounter. Likely to be very pertinent to Wellington, which would have additional hazards from landslips.From the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s website (here):

EQC - Official Information Act request advice

EQC have posted information to the Rebuild Christchurch website giving guidance on how best to request information from EQC. The page is here.

More Earthquake Case Studies – Insurance and Savings Ombudsman

The Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO) has posted more earthquake case studies on their website here.In each case there was a dispute between the insured and the insurer which was referred to the ISO for investigation and a ruling. The issues covered areScope of Cover (4 cases including some Red Zone issues surrounding value) Temporary Accommodation (3 cases) Loss of Rent Non-disclosure (although not stated it appears that the ISO’s decision hinged on a phone call recorded by the insurance company). Assignment (not permitted to assign a temporary accommodation entitlement to a purchaser as part of an agreement for sale and purchase). Floor Area and under insuranceIn reading the cases and better understanding the role and limitations of the ISO, it is increasingly clear that where there is doubt, or a conflict of versions, the benefit goes in favour of insurers..

Earthquake Royal Commission – California's Safety Assessment Program

The Royal Commission has made available a copy of the California Emergency Management Agency’s Safety Assessment  Program Coordinator Student Manual. It can be downloaded from here.This manual sets out training material for use by SAP (Safety Assessment Program) coordinators to ensure a standardised approach is taken to emergency situations (for California most notably fires and earthquakes). The copy on the Royal Commission’s website was released in January of this year, and contains updates arising from the lessons learnt in the Canterbury earthquakes..

EQC TC3 drilling data

EQC have added a page to their website that gives a brief explanation of what happens to the data obtained from drilling. The page is here..

Southern Response Progress statistics update – Red Zone progress issues

Southern Response have updated their progress statistics to the end of October. The chart is here. The Red Zone statistics make interesting reading and add to concerns that a number of people will not be in a position to leave by the 30th of April 2013.Of Southern Response’s claims 32% are in the Red Zones. All 2,131 in the Red Zones (100%) have had their assessments and costings completed, 98% have had offers, and 87% made decisions based on those offers (numerically this is 233 yet to make decisions, and there are also another 43 yet to receive offers). In the notes with the statistics Southern Response flag this gap as an area of concern.Southern Response also report 49% electing to buy another house, 21% taking a cash offer, 9% as a customer managed rebuild and 8% rebuilding with Southern Response (see the NOTE below about the statistics published in the report). Of those building with Southern Response (164 houses) 21 have been completed. The remaining 143 are made up of 59 under…

Earthquake Royal Commission – more evidence relating to the CTV building has been published

The Royal Commission has published more of the evidence provided for the hearings on the CTV building.The documents can be found here or by going to the document library (here) and searching by putting Madras 249 in the building filter (upper right of the screen).  Unfortunately the search results, for the moment at any rate, are not presented in date order..

Gib Best Practice Guidelines: Wet Areas

If you want to get an idea of what best practice looks like for repairing a bathroom, or having a new one built, there is a Gib best practice guide just out. It may come in handy to see if what you are being offered comes close to being best practice.You can find it here..

EQC work in progress update

EQC have updated their Progress and Updates page with information on:Land damage claims Canterbury Home Repair Programme TC3 drillingThe update is here..

Are insurers trying to shift costs to EQC and elsewhere?

In the most recent EQC Annual Report (here), EQC Chairman Michael Wintringham stated on page 4 that there was an incentive for insurance companies to minimise their own costs by attempting to pass them on to EQC or elsewhere.In this environment, there is an incentive for insurers to reduce their own liabilities by shifting costs to the Crown or to other parties.It would not have been out of place if he had continued to say that not only were there incentives for insurance companies to shift costs elsewhere, but also strong incentives for them to minimise costs by attributing as little value as possible where damage had occurred. The most obvious example is the exercise to turn rebuilds into repairs. Less obvious would be classifying some damage as pre-existing, or proposing repairs that weren’t like-for-like.Insurance website reported today (here) that both VERO and the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) reject Mr Winteringham’s statement and provides a lengt…

Just not coping - a problem relationship with an insurance company

The New Zealand Herald has reported the case of a Christchurch man who threatened to set fire to himself as a protest against the treatment he was receiving from his insurance company (here).The circumstances are complicated, as they often are, and the relationship between the man and his insurer had got to a very bad state. Considering the rough handling a number of us have had from EQC, insurance companies and others it is not a surprise to hear that the relationships deteriorated as much as it did. As all the power resides on one side of discussions and negotiations, an increasing number of people have diminishing respect or tolerance for those inadequate or incompetent (and amoral?) employees of the insurance industries they have the misfortune to be forced to deal with. Sadly these employees are not being sufficiently guided, controlled or mentored and the checks and balances that are supposed to be in place just don’t seem to work until situations become desperate.Perhaps Minist…

FAQ change - How EQC is assessing damage

EQC have made some modifications to the information on how damage assessments are arranged, carried out, and how health and safety considerations influence what they are able to do (EQC page here). Amongst other things EQC now state that the assessor will be accompanied by an estimator with a specific level of qualification (LBP or Licenced Building Practitioner).The revised text reads (coloured bits are the additions):The home assessment processAfter you've lodged your claim, an EQC assessor will phone you to make a time to visit your property and carry out a full assessment.This is a detailed appraisal of the damage to your home. It will be carried out by an assessor and an estimator (licensed building practitioner).You need to be available at the property for the full assessment.We will provide at least 24 hours’ notice (unless a different arrangement has been previously negotiated).Appointments can be re-arranged.The EQC representatives will inspect:every room in your house th…

More about dealing with hard bargainers

Back on the 2nd of August there was a blog item Dealing with hard bargainers, in which the bargaining tactics used by professional, and at times less than scrupulous, negotiators might use (think people working for insurance companies, EQC, ACC, government policy people and cabinet ministers). The blog item was based on articles written by Auckland barrister and professional mediator Nigel Dunlop (here).Nigel Dunlop has written another article about dealing with these sorts of people called Still more hard bargaining tactics.  In the article he covers ten tactics of which he says:The 10 further tactics described below involve a heavy dose of pretence and deception. I am not necessarily advocating their use. As mentioned in my previous articles, the use of tactics should have regard to considerations of ethics and personal style. However, knowledge of the tactics enables defence against their use.1. Representative cloak
2. Phantom player
3. Disguising opinion as fact
4. Feinting
5. Red her…

Avonside Blog update

On Tuesday of last week Blog Central relocated to Kaiapoi.

It was a somewhat fraught experience with Southern Response doing their best, but not able to keep up with the pace of events. The law firm acting on our behalf did a sterling job of prodding Southern Response to complete the paperwork and produce the money. The more sinister part was the thuggish phone call from the CERA Call Centre a few days before settlement making impossible demands on our moving out and threatening prosecution for trespass if I ever set foot back on the land at 57 Cowlishaw Street from the moment of settlement.

We got out in one piece, at a price, and now see why Kaiapoi is so popular with those who live here. 
Paul and I will be seeking a chat with CERA management over their hardened attitude concerning settlement dates and departure, especially in the face of delays and poor communication from insurance companies who seem reluctant to cough up their contribution to the settlement process.

There has t…

Archbishop of Canterbury at Holy Trinity Avonside

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Holy Trinity Avonside this morning to meet parishioners and earthquake affected locals.The first photograph is of Rosalyn Deane from Holy Trinity talking with the Archbishop.The second photograph is of the Archbishop talking with Guyon and Kylie..

Red Cross - Hurricane Sandy appeal

The New Zealand Red Cross is appealing for donations to help those throughout the Caribbean, United States and Canada who have been affected by the hurricane and need relief and recovery assistance.Click here for the Red Cross site..

N Z Red Cross - helping young people get through stress

From the NZ Red Cross website (here):New Zealand Red Cross has identified a gap with regard to young people affected by the Canterbury earthquakes and their access to trauma recovery resources.  In response we have joined forces with Youthline and some of New Zealand's top musicians, athletes and TV personalities to create an online community with advice and support for youth experiencing hard times.You can find out more about this on-line community at the Address the Stress website here.

Fletcher/EQR – identifying their staff

To help avoid confusion, and protect residents from people pretending to be Fletcher/EQR contractors, Fletcher’s have put the following information on their website (here):We have had recent reports that homeowners and other occupants are being telephoned by people falsely representing themselves as accredited contractors, with the apparent purpose of creating opportunities for burglary.  We would like to ensure that you know what to expect when we get in touch with you about your repairs. If you receive an approach that doesn’t stack up, you should treat it with suspicion. This is what happens when we contact you for the first time ... You will be contacted by a Fletcher EQR staff member based in one of our Hubs. The first contact will not be from a contractor. The scoping visit – when we visit you to review the damage to your home and prepare a Scope of Works – always involves a Fletcher EQR staff member (one of our contract supervisors). It will also involve a contractor representa…


In the blog on EQC’s Michael Wintringham’s reply to CanCERN (here), community group REAC was mentioned twice.Residents EQC Action Campaign (REAC) represents those who have been failed by EQC’s two year history of on-going ineptitude.Still in it’s formative stages, REAC is so far endorsed by: Addington Action, Beckenham Neighbourhood Association, CanCERN, CowPats, FIRST Union, Hobgoblin Network, Parklands Recovery Group, St Albans Residents Association, TC3 Residents Group, Travis Country Residents Group, WeCan.You can read more about REAC here..

Earthquake Royal Commission – eight more technical reports on representative city buildings

As with yesterday’s post, these documents are the supporting technical information underpinning the Royal Commission’s examination of the buildings named (click on the building name to go to the report):Christchurch Women's HospitalChristchurch Town Hall - 100 Kilmore StreetInland Revenue Building - 224 Cashel StreetClarendon Tower - 78 Worcester StreetGallery Apartments - 62 Gloucester StreetVictoria Square Apartments - 100 Armagh Street151 Worcester StreetBedford Row car park building - 20 Bedford Row.

Earthquake Royal Commission – technical reports on representative city buildings

From the Royal Commission’s website:
The Royal Commission's Terms of Reference require the examination of and reporting on a representative sample of buildings. The majority of these are reported on in Volume 2 of the Royal Commission's Final Report.The document’s made available yesterday are the supporting technical information underpinning the Royal Commission's examination of the following buildings (click on the building name to go to the report):Craigs Investment Partners House - 90 Armagh StreetWestpac Tower - 166 Cashel StreetChristchurch Civic Building - 53 Hereford StreetChristchurch Central Police Station - 48 Hereford Street.

EQC response to CanCERN letter

The link here is to EQC Chair Michael Wintringham’s response to CanCERN’s request that a new CEO be appointed to EQC.The response was predictable. Given the lack of action to correct the on-going systemic problems exhibited by EQC it was unlikely that the Board of EQC was going to suddenly see the light. The important thing is CanCERN has put the matter on record. A record that remains open.To my mind Wintringham’s response is yet another smoke screen where the realities of EQC’s continuing bad performance is masked by tenuous claims of having made great efforts to improve the lot of those who have claims with EQC. Tenuous claims such as:CanCERN having unparalleled access to EQC senior management (for discussions - yes, results leading to improvements in the quality of service to claimants – no), having introduced a free mediation service (only after having caused great distress to many claimants, available to those few who EQC decide are suited to it, and only if the issues aren’t s…

Time for a new CEO at EQC

Most people who have had dealings with EQC are aware of the organisation’s numerous shortcomings, invariably resulting in personal and family frustration, confusion, delays, stress, and hardship.Two years past the first earthquake and EQC still fails to demonstrate any ability to work with its clients in an open, effective and civilised way. Senior managers have fiddled with different approaches to carrying out their business, always tinkering and seemingly subservient to the needs of overseas reinsurers and indifferent to the needs of New Zealanders. Time for a change at the top.Two days ago CanCERN wrote to Michael Wintringham, Chair of the Board of EQC, requesting that a new CEO be appointed (the text of the letter is below).  The media release and report mentioned in the letter are also below.If you have views on this please make an effort to express them.  Gerry Brownlee, who is the Minister responsible for EQC, knows about Facebook so that would be a good place to start.(NOTE: E…

CERA, its values, and the 30 April deadline

The world of the earthquake-affected is generally aware the Government offer to Red Zoners, and especially the maximum settlement date of 30 April 2013, was premised upon a number of factors that haven't materialised, assumptions that turned out to be unrealistic,  and a lack of foresight by those who set the date and manufactured it's justifications. Since the setting of the date the situation has been exacerbated by more earthquakes and incompetence in critical places. Despite this the Crown Offers drawn up before the obstacles created by EQC, insurers, and the market in general, changed the playing field completely, are the objects of gross intransigence.The biggest issue for those wanting to rebuild is failure of the market to meet the needs of  Red Zoner’s. A primary failure is in making available, on time, suitable sections for those entitled to rebuild. The NZ Herald reported yesterday (here) that the Minister of Finance Bill English told Parliament "housing afford…

Avonside and post-earthquake health issues

The University of Canterbury yesterday published results of research into how people in four suburbs were coping with post-earthquake stress.On the website Rebuild Christchurch (here) the two research projects are described without identifying the suburbs concerned. The New Zealand Herald (here) identified the suburbs as Avonside, Cashmere, Hornby and Mount Pleasant. It is probably no surprise to read these observations in the New Zealand Herald:Clinically significant levels of acute stress were identified across the suburbs, but clinically elevated depression and anxiety were only evident in the most affected suburb - Avonside. Levels of drinking, anxiety and depression were higher in Avonside and Mt Pleasant, compared to the lesser-affected other two suburbs.The following are extracts from the Canterbury University’s post on Rebuild Christchurch:Participants in the more affected community reported greater symptoms of depression than the less affected community a year after the Febru…

House demolitions

Demolition of Susanne’s house at 44 Cowlishaw Street started on Wednesday, and was pretty much completed by Friday. The demolition was dusty, as someone forgot the hose, however the debris removal process was suitably controlled. Click on a photograph to enlarge it.

The Red Zone house demolition statistics for our little part of the world now stand at:
Retreat Road   12 Cowlishaw Street 3 Avonside Drive 2 .

TC3 – Southern Response’s approach

Southern Response have added a brief outline to their website on how they will be responding to claims from those on TC3 land. The outline (here) reads:Southern Response is stepping up its repair and rebuilding activity on properties on technical category 3 land (TC3) as part of its overall Canterbury rebuild strategy. Over the next few weeks we are writing to all of our customers with TC3 homes whose rebuild or repair plans are not already underway, urging them to press ahead with their insurance settlement election.  If our TC3 customers want to rebuild their house we can then get their home into our pre-design queue immediately. We have a number of projects already underway on TC3 land - currently more than 600 properties are in our pre-design and build queues; of those 191 are in design/documentation, seven are currently under construction, and two are completed. Letters will go first to TC3 customers who have received a Decision Pack and not yet advised us of their settlement …

Avon River Spring Festival Labour Weekend – visit the new SCIRT walkway

SCIRT are inviting people to inspect the new walk/cycleway next to the rebuilt part of Fitzgerald Avenue alongside the Avon Loop. There is more information here..

The meaning of Technical Categories

Building & Housing (formerly the Department of Building & Housing) have released information on what the technical categories mean. This will be mainly of interest to those in Green zones, many of whom are struggling to understand what is going on.The link here takes you to a video and transcript with explanations on the categories..

CERA’s Wellbeing Survey

As mentioned earlier (blog entry here) CERA have now extended their Wellbeing survey to all who want to have an input. People are asked to complete the survey only once, however ever person in a household is welcome to have their say.The survey takes about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the level of effort you want to put into it. The survey is here..

Book launch tonight - Selling the Dream

Despite the distractions of living in Orange and Red zones, and having to deal with EQC and other dim-witted & at times dubious organisations, Gail has been working away on two essays for a book Selling the Dream.The following is from the website associated with the book (here):Selling the Dream is the first dedicated and extensive celebration of tourism posters and other publicity that helped promote New Zealand – both locally and to the world – until the 1960s. This was a pivotal period in the history of New Zealand publicity – before television and colour photography changed the publicity landscape forever – creating not only a tourism marketing proposition but a sense of national identity as well. The imagery is some of the finest graphic art ever produced in New Zealand, and as arresting and impressive today as when it was first created.Published by award-winning New Zealand publisher Craig Potton Publishing, the book is a 408-page, large-format, high-end production with clos…

R.I.P. Min

Min, the Avonside Blog’s cat, went to meet his Maker early yesterday evening. The epitome of resilience, he survived five years living homeless in the area until accepting our invitation. Three years on, and after numerous trials and tribulations, enough was enough..

Southern Response - temporary repairs to houses

Southern Response have updated their website with information for those awaiting either rebuilds or repairs, and wishing to stay in their existing damaged property until then. The following is from the new section (here) :What should you do if you need temporary repairs to your house?We are sometimes asked to do temporary repairs to a customer's home to make it more habitable and comfortable, before the main repairs are done, or before the house is rebuilt.  This might cover things like cladding or roofing, insulation, drainage or removal of liquefaction. If you believe your property needs temporary repairs for you to be able to remain living there, please contact us to talk about your situation.  We look at each request individually, taking into account all circumstances. We need to ensure our customers live in weathertight, secure homes that they are able to heat, and that their home is structurally safe to live in.  Temporary Repairs for RebuildsIf your home needs repairs so th…

Holy Trinity Avonside - Parish and Community Fair: Saturday 20 October

Saturday 20 October 10 am to 1pm
Children’s activities
Bouncy castle
Food and Drinks
Trash ‘n treasure
LinensBe surprised at the range of community stalls.
See how our churchyard garden is being developed.

Post-earthquake plasterboard repairs

BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand) have a free two page download called Post-earthquake Plasterboard Repairs.  It is a digital version of the article that appeared in the August/September edition of their publication Build (No 131). The article covers the problems associated with using plasterboard as a bracing element, the type of repairs that might be used, and the result to be expected. A very useful tool to check against what has been specified for your plasterboard repairs. For Red Zoners who have been classified as a repair, comparing the repair method proposed by EQC or an insurer against what the article says may be a useful reality check.  As always, the issue is not about the most economic repair for the insurer, it is about what your insurance policy entitles you to.The article (free) can be downloaded from here. The BRANZ earthquake repair and rebuilding information page is here (some items are free).

Measuring the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes on the residential property market.

Lincoln University are conducting an on-line survey to see how prospective home buyers view the risk associated with land zoning (TC1, TC2, TC3) and the likelihood of flooding, how this affects the price they are willing to pay, areas prospective buyers prefer, and construction preferences.The survey, Residents’ perceptions relating to residential property in Canterbury post the earthquakes is open to all who want to participate and starts here. The survey is for both homeowners and renters. A few questions are detailed however you can leave a question unanswered if you wish. Some questions were unclear when I did it, so left them blank.The following introductory information is from the Lincoln website.Professor Sandy Bond from Lincoln University is currently conducting research to investigate householders’ perceptions towards the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes on the residential property market. The 22 February 2011 Canterbury earthquake had a devastating impact on Christchurc…

Tribute to Avonside

Tribute to Avonside: Service of Thanksgiving Sunday, 31 March 2013 Do you have any photographs of life in Avonside? Do you live in Avonside? Did you or your family live there in the past? Were you married at Holy Trinity Avonside, or baptised there? A photography exhibition is being planned for the 31st of March 2013.

A service of thanksgiving and blessing, will also be given this day at 2pm by Bishop Victoria Matthews.

If you have any photographs or paintings of life in Avonside, including family or church life - wedding photos etc, and are able to donate a copy of the photo, or allow us to copy it, please contact us. Please contact either Rosalyn Deane at or the parish office ph 389-6948 or     Thank you.

EQC – TC3 geotechnical updates

EQC have updated their TC3 geotechnical investigations page here, and their TC3 drilling schedulehere..

EQC - Apportionment explained

EQC have updated their website to provide more detail on what apportionment means, and how it is worked out. From the EQC website. Many Canterbury homes have suffered damage from more than one earthquake. Settling claims where damage has been caused by a number of successive ‘events' is much more complex than settling claims from a single natural disaster. That's because EQC cannot assess the overall damage and settle the claim on that basis. We must attribute – or apportion – the damage to individual events. How apportionment is worked outIf your home has been assessed after each event, apportionment is straightforward – we'll have records of the damage that occurred with each quake. However, because of the number of successive earthquakes and aftershocks that have caused damage and been classed as 'events', in the majority of cases it hasn't been possible to assess the damage each time. Therefore, for the majority of homes, EQC needs to use a variety of met…

Southern Response Progress statistics update

Southern Response have updated their progress statistics to the end of September. The chart is here..

CERA release of the October edition of the Greater Christchurch Recovery Update

CERA have released the October issue of the Greater Christchurch Recovery Update (here). The more or less useful contents cover: Update from the Christchurch central Development Unit Online Wellbeing Survey Port Hills rockroll zoning decisions SCIRT update EQC: Canterbury home repair process CDHB: Christchurch Hospital redevelopment Environment Canterbury: living with demolition dust in Christchurch Community support for Burwood residents and updates from Christchurch City Council, Selwyn district Council, and Waimakariri District Councils

CERA publish Cabinet papers and Ministerial Decisions for Christchurch CBD Recovery

CERA have published the Cabinet paper and Minute mandating CERA to lead and promote the recovery of the Christchurch Central Business District.Lots of detail spread over 38 pages. The papers can be downloaded fromhere..

CERA release of ground land date used for the zoning reviews.

CERA have released the data and maps used as part of the zoning review. They are very detailed and much grief might have been avoided had they been released as part of the review process. From the CERA website (here). These documents contain all the area-wide geotechnical information which was considered by CERA as part of the process for making flat-land zoning decisions, and the subsequent zoning review. These reports include mapping of ground cracking, liquefaction and lateral spreading observations, LiDAR ground elevation and vertical ground movements. At the end of the each report is a summary of the area-wide geotechnical considerations and map citations. They are written in plain English where possible, but do contain technical information where this is necessary to accurately explain the nature of investigations, and the effects of the earthquakes on the land.The documents are available in PDF format and cover these areas (click on the area name to get the document) : Overv…

Antarctic season aerial salute on Friday

From a CCC media release (here):Christchurch will receive a symbolic aerial salute this Friday, as the United States Air Force makes a spectacular arrival the city to mark the opening of the 2012/13 Antarctic Season. The afternoon of Friday 28 September will run with military precision: arriving over the Pacific from Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base, the US Air Force C-17 Globemaster will bank in over New Brighton Pier at approximately 1.05pm, weather permitting. With a flight path that includes Chisnallwood Intermediate School, the C-17 will then make its way across the city at an altitude of 1300 feet. At approximately 1.15pm, over the NZ IceFest site in Hagley Park, personnel on board the C-17 will photograph the word “ICEFEST” on the ground below, as spelled out by a formation of visiting schoolchildren.On Monday 1 October, the C-17 will transport Scott Base and McMurdo Station personnel south to Antarctica, enabling scientific work to begin over the summer – the “Antarctic Season”.

Communicating Earthquake-related Science

The following is from the latest CanCERN newsletter.We have been asked to promote this survey to interested participants. The project, Communicating Earthquake-related Science, is being undertaken as part of the requirements for a University of Otago PhD. The survey looks at how aspects of earthquake-related disasters, and ways of minimising them, are being communicated in the mass media and whether this is serving people’s information needs. The questions asked of participants relate to their opinions about how earthquake-related information, and how to minimise disasters, is communicated. Click here for the information sheet about the survey and here to follow the link to the survey..