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Saturday, 30 June 2012

EQC - Apportionment model under development

According to the Australian website EQC and insurers are working together to develop an apportionment model.

From the article (here), dated 25 June 2012:
New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission (EQC) and insurers are working on a modelling system that will enable them to apportion costs between the Canterbury earthquakes and speed up claims resolution.
The reinsurers who are covering around 90% of private insurers’ costs from the Canterbury earthquakes will have to approve the proposal.
Insurance Council of New Zealand CEO Chris Ryan says insurers and the EQC have analysts working through data from the events to try to apportion costs, and once they have a model they will put it to reinsurers.
“Reinsurers have to be comfortable with the solution,” he said. “If not, it won’t be able to be done.”
The industry has been able to work on the modelling approach following last year’s NZ High Court ruling that decided how liability per event applied to the EQC and private insurers.
If the model has yet to be finished, and approved by reinsurers, it is curious that some apportionment decisions have already been made. As assessments and reassessments are underway, the question arises of whether the model will be built to fit the information gathered, or information will be gathered to fit the model? Or, will it all be redone once the model is complete?

Friday, 29 June 2012

EQC - independent mediation scheme

EQC have announced an independent mediation scheme. It is independent because the scheme will use qualified members of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ).

The scheme starts operating in August. At this stage there is no indication on the number of mediators available, how long the process will take, or any conditions attached to the process. Also not mentioned is whether there will be a prioritising of hearings to ensure those with the greatest need, or under significant time constraints, are dealt with promptly.

From the AMINZ website

The use of the word may on the AMINZ website suggests the scheme will not be available to everyone:
The mediation scheme will be administered by AMINZ. It may be offered to customers dissatisfied with EQCs complaints procedures where there is a good prospect mediation will result in a solution.
If it is to be "offered", how will claimants indicate they would like to receive the offer? Who will decide there is a "good prospect mediation will result in a solution"?

Also from the AMINZ site is a statement of what the scheme will not cover:
Some matters, such as interpretation of legislation and questions relating to apportionment will not be covered.
If prohibition against interpretation of legislation includes definitions of crucial concepts such as "replacement", "reinstatement" and "reasonably sufficient" then a major cause of complaint will be left out of the process. Similarly, excluding apportionment issues will also leave out a potentially major cause of complaint. How will these be handled?

From EQC's website

EQC's media release states:
The essential character of disputes taken to mediation is that there has to be a good prospect they can be resolved by negotiation. They could, for instance, be about valuations or options for remediation where EQC and the customer hold divergent views.
What is entailed by there being "... a good prospect they can be resolved by negotiation." will need explanation. Also needing some explanation will be how the issues in EQC's "too hard" basket will be handled.


At this stage, with the limited amount of information available, the scheme appears to fall short of what is needed to deal with the most important problems. It also fails to deal with the major problem of those who are ill-equipped to organise and present their case.

The EQC media release is here and the AMINZ web page for the EQC mediation scheme here.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

EQC - TC3 drilling plan update

EQC have updated their drilling plan page. There is a series of suburb by suburb drilling programmes that show the anticipated start and end months. So, if you live in Avonside TC3, you can expect drilling to start in August this year and finish sometime in December this year.

There is also information about the steps in the testing programme and how this feeds into the repair process.

As often happens timetables can be affected by circumstances so there may be changes which push the schedule further out. It is commendable of EQC to make the information available. The drilling page is here.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Assessing Gib board and lath and plaster wall and ceiling damage

Winstone Wallboards have produced a very easy to use piece of software called the GIB® Wall and Ceiling Repair Tool. The software is free (28MB download) and doesn't need to be installed. Just click to run it.

It was designed to assist with assessing earthquake damage and shows users the type of damage that may have occurred then lists repair strategies to be used. As it has been developed by the product manufacturer it can be considered both well informed and a "best practice" guide. Ideal to check against your Fletcher/EQR or insurance company's repair intentions.

It is simple to use and has options for:
  • Plasterboard Walls
  • Plasterboard Ceilings
  • Lath and Plaster
There are three options on the main page. Taking walls as an example, click on the Plasterboard Walls tab and a drawing appears showing where damage occurs in a room: in corners, around windows and doors, and with nails and screws. Click on the number next to the problem area and a page pops up with information on the damage. The information provided is:
  • the damage that has occurred (type and likely cause)
  • repair required (to the bracing element and general lining)
  • notes (additional diagnostic information).
On some pages there are colour photographs showing the types of damage. Click on the photograph and an enlargement appears so the damage can be easily seen.

Click the Print button (top right) for a copy of the page, or the Close button (bottom right) to go back to the previous page.

There are versions for Windows, Mac, Android and iPad here, along with other useful guides.

Fletcher/EQR - complaint and compliment feedback page

Fletcher/EQR have a page for those wishing to provide feedback. The page is here.

Information about their complaints procedure is here, and a copy of the customer complaints policy can be downloaded from the same page.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Land zoning review process - Part 3

The zoning review process has major flaws - the absence of due process and transparency.

Neither Minister Brownlee nor Roger Sutton have thought to mention that so far all detailed zoning information has been withheld.

Since last year the Government has refused to make geotechnical information available until all zoning was completed. Is it just a coincidence that the hurriedly introduced review application process closes before the geotechnical information becomes available? Either way  the Government has denied those affected the detail used for making decisions concerning their homes.

It has been said that there is information in the Cabinet Papers, but they are just big picture summaries with no supporting detail at all. As a source of suitable information they are totally inadequate.

So, where is the information that will allow the panel, as Roger Sutton puts it, "... to check that the original zoning is consistent with the criteria agreed by the Government, or to see if there are anomalies with the boundary designations, or if the infrastructure in the specific area would not actually be viable to maintain."? In particular where is the detail concerning the human issues of timeliness, uncertainty, disruption arising from repairs to infrastructure and property, health and welfare? If it is ready and waiting for the review panel why hasn't it been released?

Withholding information means anyone considering a review has no idea of what the significant issues are for them, and must make decisions and put their case without adequate information. Where is the due process in that?

The problem extends beyond this. How can people have faith in a review process which has all the appearances of being rushed (two weeks to make an application, four weeks for the panel to review a likely 1000+ applications and respond to applicants), and there is no opportunity to make a personal submission? The stakes are very high yet the process is rushed and carried out behind closed doors.

How can review applicants be sure that the whole process is nothing more than an exercise in political theatre - appearing to do the right thing to avoid challenges in court?

At the individual level one way of determining the extent to which a thorough and diligent assessment is made is to request full details for the decision on each point considered by the panel, and if criteria were not considered why this was so.

Failure to provide detailed individual decision is going to be grounds for taking the issue out of  CERA's jurisdiction.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Land zoning review process - Part 2

Minister Brownlee's announcement last week of a zoning review process has been criticised for not being particularly clear about who the process is for and what is involved. Roger Sutton's weekly Chief Executive Update published today set out to clarify the situation (here).

Unfortunately both releases appear to have been written by the same team of waffley thinkers so here is a more succinct way of describing the process:
  1. If you live on the flat part of greater Christchurch you will be in either a Red Zone or a Green Zone.
  2. If you live on the hills, you are or were white, and this process does not apply to you. Your turn comes next month with a separate process when all the white areas have been classified to a different colour.
  3. If you are Red you can appeal to be rezoned Green.
  4. If you are Green you can appeal to be rezoned Red.
  5. If you are Green you cannot appeal the technical category of your land: i.e. Green/Blue, Green/Yellow, or Green/Gray.
  6. When you appeal it can only be in terms of the criteria set out by Cabinet, most especially it must have an area-wide focus rather than just your piece of land.
Note that the criteria set out in Roger Sutton's Update is incomplete. The criteria in the Cabinet Minute involves the thickness of the surface crust, lateral spread, and the timeliness, uncertainty, disruption arising from repairs to infrastructure and property, health and welfare. In addition boundary lines are to be drawn on a sensible basis. If the boundary between Red and Green is a road, that makes sense; if the boundary is a neighbour's fence then it indicates the possibility of arbitrary decision making.

For CERA's information on the process see Minister Brownlee's announcement here and Roger Sutton's update here. There is also a previous blog post covering the Cabinet criteria and where to find it here.

Earthquake Royal Commission - CTV Building hearing

The Royal Commission today commenced it's hearing on the collapse of the CTV building.

Statements of evidence from witnesses plus reports, photographs, correspondence and background information have been placed in the Commission's document library here.