Another winter of discontent

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014
Peggy Holdthuson
IAIN MCGREGOR

ON EDGE: The thought of another winter in a quake-damaged home is upsetting for 90-year-old Peggy Holdthuson.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Out of hospital with a clean bill of health, Peggy Holdthuson should be relaxing in her New Brighton home.

But the 90-year-old remains on edge at the thought of having to spend another winter in the quake-damaged property her insurers only recently knew existed.

In March, Peggy made a heartfelt plea to her insurers to fix her house before she died. At the time she was in hospital, but still patiently waiting for the childhood home she had lived in since the 1920s, and brought up two daughters in, to be fixed.

Yet, when The Press approached her insurer State Insurance it was unaware the claim had been passed on by the Earthquake Commission (EQC), as the settlement notes had never been received.

State pledged to have contractors on-site right away and Holdthuson said the immediate response to her plight had been good. However, since then she thinks progress may have stalled, as she had not had any correspondence in about three weeks.

State spokeswoman Renee Walker said progress on Peggy's claim had been "constant" since March. Her home had since been deemed a rebuild. "As soon as we received confirmation from EQC, a loss adjuster was appointed," Walker said.

"An assessment was carried out and the home was confirmed uneconomic to repair. A builder has been appointed, plans drawn up and a budget agreed. The next step is to obtain consent and begin the build," she said.

Holdthuson returned home from the hospital about a month ago and said insurance representatives had visited "a few times".

But she had become "nervous" as the days got colder and the bill mounted for her two heat pumps. "I'm a bit worried about the winter," she said.

She hoped to go into a retirement home while her home was rebuilt, as it was "nice and warm". But she still worries she may not live long enough to live in the new house.

"All my life is old. I've got an old car, old home, everything's old - that's why I want a new home," she said.

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- The Press

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