The Earthquake Commission changed a newspaper advert after a complaint that it was misleading and tried to show the EQC in a better light.
EQC denied the advert was meant to deceive, and said it showed its role in the Christchurch recovery was city-wide. But it did revise the advert to "better clarify" its position.
The advert, which ran in May, said EQC was repairing homes all over Christchurch. It included a map highlighting the repairs, with text saying: "To date, we've repaired 37,164 of them, as shown in the map above."
The complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority said the map was misleading as the repairs referred to were of varying types, rather than all being substantive.
The map included marked dots in the red zone - residential areas where the land is so badly damaged by earthquakes it is unlikely it can be rebuilt on for a prolonged period - and Technical Category 3 areas - where moderate to significant land damage from liquefaction is possible in future large earthquakes.
"EQC has knowingly published the wrong map in order to mislead the people of Christchurch. The correct map would show that little progress has been made in the east and just about none in the TC3 areas," the complainant said.
EQC said the complaint was right in as much as the map showed work additional to the 37,000 substantive repairs EQC had completed to that point. It also showed urgent repairs and home-heating installations.
"With hindsight, the text should have included reference to these types of repairs as well," EQC said.
"However, I categorically reject the idea that the map used was meant to deceive Cantabrians."
As noted in the text of the advert, 43 per cent of EQC substantive repairs were in the east. Fewer substantive EQC repairs had been done in TC3 and red zone areas because more houses there were cash-settled, over-cap or repair was impractical, EQC said.
"The fact that EQC has done thousands of urgent repairs and home heating installations in houses in TC3 and the red zone is entirely appropriate to our argument that we are working in the east.
"In addition, with 19,000 houses - many of which are not under EQC's managed repair programme - having clean heating devices installed in 2011 and 2012 it demonstrates that EQC's role in the Christchurch recovery is city-wide and goes beyond the distinction between EQC- and private insurer-led repairs."
The Advertising Standards Complaints Board decided EQC's actions settled the matter and no further action was needed.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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