Homeowner finally gets EQC payout

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014
Dot Boyd
KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ

AT LAST: Dot Boyd, an 85-year-old Aranui homeowner, is finally getting attention from EQC about her house claim after her case was highlighted in the media and Parliament.

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Dot Boyd still won't let herself cry. Even in a week that has changed her life, the 85-year-old will not break down.

After living in the same Aranui home that she and her husband built 64 years ago, Boyd had to wait three years until she finally got some answers on her earthquake-damaged home.

"In a week I cannot believe what has happened," she said. "But I won't cry. In three years I have not shed a tear."

For those three years, Boyd trusted the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to help her. She was from a generation where a home, like marriage, was for life. You didn't ask for help, she said.

So for two years she sat and did nothing and thought EQC would figure it out: "I trusted them to do that."

When then MP Lianne Dalziel wrote to EQC last June to ask for assistance, none came. Nor when Dalziel's successor Poto Williams took it up. It took a visit from Labour leader David Cunliffe with media for her case to get traction.

Last week she received a $200,000 payout from EQC and will find out on Friday from her insurer, State, whether her home is a rebuild or repair. "Some good has come out of this," she said.

Boyd has been overwhelmed with support - even including phone calls from old friends that she had lost touch with 25 years ago.

"I know there are hundreds out there in the same position as me. I'm not a person who likes publicity. I'd rather be in the back than in the front row but something is happening now. I just hope it can happen for other people."

EQC has said there were still at least 85 elderly people considered to be "vulnerable", suffering the same plight as Boyd.

When her husband died 20 years ago, Boyd did not think she would be able to battle through. She still carried on after the earthquake, although the winters were tough.

She has lived out of boxes, not knowing whether she was coming or going.

Boyd had offers from people asking her to go live with them but she did not want to leave the house she built brick by brick.

"It's not home and I don't like intruding on other people. It's not a nice feeling."

Boyd said she did not want to complain at the beginning of the saga. She did not want to cause a fuss but now her attitude has changed.

"I would like an apology. Why shouldn't I speak out? I've got nothing to hide. I've got nothing to be ashamed of."

Boyd said she just wanted a bit of comfort for the last few years of her life.

She still grows strawberries and tomatoes and tends to her garden.

But she knows when the tears will come.

"When I have to move out, that will be the start of them," she said. "But I will still have to just keep moving on."

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- The Press

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