Brownlee hits back after 'political manipulation'

16:00, Mar 04 2014
ruth dyson
CHRISTCHURCH MP: Ruth Dyson.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has labelled Labour MPs "despicable" for organising a photo-opportunity to highlight the plight of an elderly earthquake victim.

In a fiery debate at Parliament yesterday, Brownlee said Labour MPs who had repeatedly claimed to have been helping earthquake victims had lodged just five requests for assistance for their constituents through EAC.

"There has been plenty of tub thumping . . . but only five cases."

dot boyd
STILL WAITING: Dot Boyd

Of those five, two requests had been lodged by new MP Poto Williams, who had only been in the job six months, Brownlee said.

His outburst was sparked by Labour MP Ruth Dyson raising the case of 85-year-old Dot Boyd, who is still waiting on repairs to her Aranui home three years on from the Christchurch earthquake.

Boyd had lived with her possessions packed into cardboard boxes "as if she's living in a refugee camp because of the incompetence and arrogance of EQC and her insurance company", Dyson said.

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WANTING ANSWERS: Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.
UPSET: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

"This is not acceptable in a developed country."

She held Brownlee "entirely responsible", Dyson said.

An angry Brownlee accused Labour of "the most despicable political manipulation of a vulnerable person".

"Did they tell us before they found out that poor woman was in those circumstances? No, they went and organised a photo-op for David Cunliffe and Ms Dyson to turn up there and grandstand on the misery of that woman; that is utterly despicable and typical of the way of those Labour MPs."

The Press