TC3 protesters brave rain, wind to state case
Disgruntled green-blue (technical category 3) residents who picketed the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and IAG offices yesterday say they will be ready to rally again on the second anniversary of the September 4, 2010, quake.
Chanting "EQC, IAG, time to help us TC3" and "Fix the worst first", about 120 people braved the rain and wind to vent their anger and frustration at delays in getting their homes repaired and call for more communication about their land.
Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan) spokesman Mike Coleman, who led the protest, said the weather was "a bit like living in your homes - wet, damp, cold, unhealthy".
Holding a picture of an elderly woman, whose face was bruised from repeated falls in her twisted Southshore house, Coleman said her plight was "desperate".
"This woman should have her house fixed next week," he said.
Fendalton resident Carmel Jaggar said TC3 homeowners were caught between insurers and the EQC, which were "not on the same page" and pointed the finger at each other. "We are left in no-man's land . . . paying bills for a mess we have not caused. We have lost patience," she said.
One man said having only 12 rigs for the EQC's TC3 drilling programme, which would determine what repairs were needed, was "pathetic".
Labour earthquake spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel told EQC chief executive Ian Simpson and customer services manager Bruce Emsom, who fronted the crowd, "You guys score zero on communication".
"Listen to the people, provide answers and get on with the job," she said.
Simpson said repairing TC3 homes was a priority but accepted the commission "needed to do better" with its communication.
"We understand the frustration of everyone in TC3. Our own staff are in TC3," he said.
"If we're not talking, it's often because we don't know. We will talk with the leaders of this group again within the week."
Simpson promised land reports would be released "from now", but the task of producing them had only just begun and it would "take time" before they were complete.
"We've got 85,000 land reports to get out," he said.
At insurer IAG's office, the front doors were locked but four representatives appeared after protesters yelled: "We're your customers."
Richmond resident Maria Thackwell told them that residents had trusted their insurers.
"We insured just in case," she said. "Now they sit in their warm buildings.
"Cantabs feel we will be eaten as the next corporate meal."
IAG New Zealand head Jacki Johnson told the crowd that "we do care deeply despite how it may appear".
"We really do want to help you and hear what the issues are," she said. Johnson urged those gathered to fill in forms provided so IAG could follow up with them.
- © Fairfax NZ News
What do you think of Gerry Brownlee's idea for a large water sports park in the red zone?