Minister has confidence in EQC boss

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 16:10 04/12/2013

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Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has expressed confidence in Earthquake Commission boss Ian Simpson and signalled a report into the commission's systems has no bad news for Simpson.

Brownlee last month ordered a report into EQC's systems after questions were raised about whether thousands of homeowners in dispute over repairs were excluded from its satisfaction surveys.

At the time Brownlee refused to say whether he had confidence in Simpson, amid concerns that the surveys, which reported an 80 per cent satisfaction rate, may have been misleading.

"It's one of those things that I think goes to the heart of confidence and I'm very, very annoyed about it," Brownlee said in November.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie later confirmed that Souella Cumming, a KPMG partner, would conduct the inquiry. It was to ask whether information EQC provided to Brownlee was "fit for purpose", as well as its process for explaining its survey results to the auditor-general.

Brownlee confirmed today he had had received a verbal briefing from Cumming. He expected the full report to be provided to him next week.

Brownlee would not discuss the content of the briefing.

However, asked whether it was bad news for Simpson, he said: "I don't believe so."

Asked if he had confidence in Simpson, Brownlee said "yep".

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