Four years on and many still rattled

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014

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Hundreds of tired, frustrated Cantabrians have marked the fourth anniversary of the September 2010 earthquake standing shoulder to shoulder at Shirley Boys' High School.

TV3 current affairs television show Campbell Live last night broadcast live from the school hall, sharing Christchurch residents' stories of insurance struggles, unresolved cases with the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and four years of uncertainty.

Additional seats had to be brought into the hall to accommodate the crowd.

For some, the live broadcast was a chance to protest their treatment on national television with homemade placards condemning individual insurance companies and the Government. Others just looked exhausted.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton from the Insurance Council did not attend the meeting despite requests from Campbell Live.

Christchurch City councillor Ali Jones, who is enduring her own insurance battle, said the size of the crowd showed the breadth of problems still facing Canterbury.

''I'm seeing a lot of people who aren't here for political reasons,'' she said. ''I'm seeing the elderly, really tired young people with their children - I'm beyond sad.''

Among the crowd were those who said they still did not know whether their home would be a rebuild or a repair. Some reported substandard repairs which had been damaged again by recent aftershocks.

Melanie Tobeck said it had cost $200,000 to repair her West Melton home the first time. Repairs were completed and signed off in June 2013.

Independent contractors had since quoted about $400,000 to fix damage done by the original repairers as well as the initial earthquake damage.

Gail Beedles said she had been stuck with her late father-in-law's house and her EQC case manager would not answer her calls or emails. Her father-in-law died three years ago.

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- The Press

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