Brownlee apologises to Christchurch residents

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 18:00 12/09/2012

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Christchurch earthquake

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Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has apologised for offending Christchurch's TC3 residents after saying he was "sick and tired" of their moaning.

Brownlee responded angrily to a story in today's Press about an online survey of TC3 residents revealed their anger and impatience over the lack of progress in the earthquake recovery.

He accused the survey respondents of "carping and moaning" about their situation, and said complainers were likely those who had time to "buggerise around on Facebook all day".

This afternoon he was more contrite:

"I empathise and sympathise with those people, but I'm also extremely angry at the way some people are characterising the Government as not caring or doing nothing for residents on TC3 land.

"I know [progress] is not fast enough from many frustrated residents, but if we make poor decisions in haste because of this pressure then it will still be our fault in the long run."

He acknowledged some people were living in "uncomfortable conditions" but said authorities were doing everything they could to aid Christchurch's recovery.

"Hundreds of people in insurance companies, the Earthquake Commission, engineering firms and building firms are doing all they can to provide certainty to the estimated 10,000 residents on TC3 land in Christchurch who will need foundation rebuilds or repairs.

"Land is being assessed, homes are being fixed, and every day clear insurance pathways are being identified.

"I know this is not fast enough from many frustrated residents, but if we make poor decisions in haste because of this pressure then it will still be our fault in the long run."

Readers responded angrily to Brownlee's comments today, calling for him to apologise.

The story drew almost 300 comments online.

A spokesman for Brownlee said the minister had "no further comment", before issuing the apology late this afternoon.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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