EQC slams numbers accusations

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 13:21 14/08/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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The Earthquake Commission is firing back at claims it is targeting properties with less damage to boost its repair numbers.

Public and private insurance markets have come in for increased criticism in recent weeks as frustrations over the lack of progress boil over.

The Christchurch City Council last week asked the EQC and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee for a please-explain on the commission's priorities.

Cr Tim Carter said the focus on lesser repairs made the commission's progress appear better than it was.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson defended the commission's easy-fix-first approach:

''As you would expect, we are completing lower-value repairs more quickly because more serious damage is over EQC's [$100,000] cap,'' he said.

''Lower-value repairs take less time to complete and there's a lot less preliminary work needed to set up the repair.''

Councillors should know better than to question the delays on badly damaged technical category 3 properties, he said.

''In TC3, [geotechnical] drilling is required to determine the right repairs for foundations,'' he said.

''Councillors should be aware of this as they represent the consenting authority that approves significant repairs.''

The commission was now prioritising vulnerable claimants - aiming to complete 100 such cases a month - and houses with more than $50,000 damage.

This approach followed a geographic pattern, Simpson said, which brought many low-damage cases into play.

''While our target is more-damaged properties, we allocated work to less-damaged houses in the immediate vicinity, particularly when workflows would have left tradespeople idle if the focus had been solely on larger repairs.''

Focusing on the worst quake damage first would draw out the overall repair process, he said.

The EQC has so far completed less than 1500 of the 11,200 cases of more than $50,000 damage on its books.

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