Little downtime for city's repair teams

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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Agencies critical to the Christchurch rebuild will have little time to rest over Christmas.

With the third anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake fast approaching, those under the most scrutiny - insurers and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) - will be off work for the shortest amount of time.

EQC staff finish on December 24 and return January 3.

Fletcher EQR, which runs the Canterbury home repair programme, enjoys a much longer break. Staff start their holiday next Friday and do not return until January 13.

EQR spokesman Barry Akers said the customer contact centre would re-open on January 6 with skeleton staff but, in most cases, repairs would not resume until the following week. Customers can ring the contact centre from January 6 on 341 9900.

Some contractors could restart work on January 6 with agreement from the EQR supervisor, he said.

"People have annual leave entitlements. They've got to take them at some time and that's the best time to take them," Akers said.

Insurer IAG has staff working through, including Christmas Day.

"We do encourage staff to take a break and spend time with family and friends though so will have reduced numbers," spokeswoman Renee Walker said.

Project manager Hawkins will be open every day other than public holidays.

"Hawkins has in the past mirrored the construction/building industry shut-down period but they have opted to have staff work through this year, reflecting the fact there is a lot to do," Walker said.

Southern Response, the region's largest holder of quake claims, will be closed on public holidays only. Most roading and sewer repair sites will be shut down from next Friday, helping to ease congestion around the city before Christmas.

Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Repair Team staff will be back on deck on January 6.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) will close from Christmas Day until January 6. Staff have three "Cera days" to take on December 27, 30 and 31, and have been granted an additional day on January 3. Those needing quake-related assistance can call 0800 777 846.

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- The Nelson Mail

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