Complaints roll in over EQC staff

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 17/09/2012

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The Earthquake Commission has received more than 150 complaints from customers about field staff in the past 15 months - but only one resulted in disciplinary action.

Figures obtained by The Press show 155 complaints were made to the EQC over the behaviour of assessors and evaluators from June 2011 to the end of August.

The EQC is refusing to say if there are any repeat offenders, or group the complaints by field officer citing "privacy implications".

Disciplinary action was taken over one complaint made over misconduct. In this case, the field officer was given a final warning.

An EQC spokesman said the complaints covered "a broad range of allegations".

Of those lodged in the past year, six were for misconduct, two for negligence, 22 about the claims process, 23 for the length of time their claim was taking, one for settlement quantum and 51 were recorded as "other".

"In the vast majority of cases they are likely to relate to a disagreement with the assessor about the findings, or the progress of the claim although, without examining each file, it's not possible to be definitive," he said.

No complaints had been referred to police.

The spokesman said grouping complaints by field officer would require examination of each file and "may involve privacy implications".

One Christchurch resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said their first EQC assessment was conducted by a project manager from Brisbane who was "mainly interested in looking at broken china and dinnerware".

The second EQC assessment was led by a former detective who he and his wife had to help use his new iPad, the man said.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson was not available for comment, but in an earlier statement he said all field workers were vetted before they were deployed to assess houses for damage.

After the February quake, all staff and contractors were required to sign a declaration that covered issues such as criminal convictions.

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- The Press

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