Petition for Royal Commission inquiry into shoddy repairs launched video

DAVID WALKER/The Press

More than 300 people turn out at a public meeting in Christchurch to listen to advice and discuss issues relating to their quake-damaged homes.

A petition asking Parliament for a royal commission of inquiry into shoddy quake repairs has been launched.

Insurance lawyer Duncan Webb asked hundreds of homeowners to sign and circulate the petition during a public meeting at Christchurch's transitional cathedral on Thursday.

Defective repairs undertaken by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and private insurers affected thousands of Cantabrians and their families, he said.

A show of hands at a public meeting in Christchurch to see who will support a petition calling for an inquiry into ...
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

A show of hands at a public meeting in Christchurch to see who will support a petition calling for an inquiry into shoddy quake repairs.

"We want Parliament to take notice and to prevent the same thing happening in future."

The petition form will be posted on social media, websites and we will also go to Members of Parliament and Christchurch City Council councillors, who will be asked to make it available for signing.

READ MORE:
EQC 'late, inadequate and frequently defective
*EQC faces court challenge over repair policies
*EQC hiring engineers for court cases
*Survey of Canterbury quake repairs caned by critics and advocates

West Melton homeowner Melanie Tobeck organised a meeting at the transitional cathedral to discuss ongoing issues for ...
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

West Melton homeowner Melanie Tobeck organised a meeting at the transitional cathedral to discuss ongoing issues for home owners.

"The more signatures there are, the more parliament's likely to take it seriously," Webb said.

"We want to make them stand up and recognise it's an ongoing problem."

People just had to sign it and return it to him.

He wanted actual signatures on paper, as it would be "a lot more powerful than an online petition".

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The inquiry would look into EQC, private insurers and Christchurch City Council consenting processes, he said.

Webb aimed to have all copies of the petition back to him by October 10 to send to parliament.

West Melton homeowner Melanie Tobeck organised the meeting at the transitional cathedral to launch the petition and discuss a wide range of issues affecting homeowners post-quake.

Many homeowners with failed repairs did not have a voice, she said.

"We think the problem is far wider than what has been exposed so far and we are desperate for help and support from the New Zealand Government.

"We are asking people to print [the petition] and have others add their signatures to it – a pass it on approach and then to pass to the address on the petition. They will be collated and hand delivered to Parliament."

Tai Tapu homeowners Rob and Rose Spijkerman, who attended the meeting,  said they would "totally and utterly" support an inquiry because "it has to be done".

The couple were at the meeting to learn more, in order to have their case resolved fairly, Rose Spijkerman said.

Five years after their home was first damaged in the 2010 quake, they are still waiting for a resolution. 

"We're a rebuild and [EQC] think we're a $70,000 patch-up job," Rob Spijkerman said.

The experience had been physically and emotionally devastating, he said.

"I've had a mental breakdown and I'm still on anti-depressants – my wife has had two strokes."

The call for an inquiry comes after the Government investigated 101 quake repairs, most of them EQC, and found a third were not compliant with the building code. A further 23 had "minor defects".

The investigation also included about 14 insurer-managed repairs, seven of which were managed by IAG.

Six of the repairs checked were found defective.

The petition will ask Parliament to establish a royal commission to:

– Identify the causes of the defective repairs

– Recommend steps to prevent such defective repairs being carried out in future

– Provide such advice to the EQC, private insurers and territorial authorities to ensure that in future the risk of defective repairs is substantially reduced. 

You can find the petition here, which can be printed out, signed and sent to Webb.

 - Stuff

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