EQC's 'baffling' communication on drilling

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 07:49 07/09/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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A Christchurch residents' advocate has slated the Earthquake Commission's "baffling" communication on geotechnical drilling.

EQC is managing a drilling programme for under-cap properties - those with less than $100,000 damage - and talking with insurance companies about co-operating on the worst-hit land.

The drilling data will be used to fix damaged foundations and design new ones.

EQC Canterbury response manager Reid Stiven said that even though the commission was in talks with insurers about collaborating, over-cap properties were not its responsibility.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB, he reiterated that the commission was drilling only under-cap properties.

"If people have an over-cap claim that requires drilling, talk to your insurer about the time frame," he said.

"We're not taking charge of it. Our programme is the EQC programme for under- cap TC3 [technical category 3] properties with foundation damage. We're not meddling in the insurers' business."

Insurance firms have agreed to buy geotechnical data from the commission.

Many insurers favour collaborative drilling, but no agreement has been reached.

Parklands TC3 Residents' Group spokeswoman Kiri Hider said the departure from the collaborative rhetoric was confusing.

"I'm absolutely baffled. That's a really major announcement and that's the only way they're going to announce it?" she said.

"I just think it's a great example of their horrendous communication."

Hider said she had been to the commission's website and Facebook page for clarification, but got none.

"There are things that are really confusing. I heard that news and I'm no better off now," she said. "If I'm confused, how is everyone else going to understand it?"

Many TC3 residents believed the EQC was drilling on over-cap properties, she said, having been told by their insurers the commission was leading the programme.

Stiven acknowledged that the EQC may have confused people in its communication.

Its deadline for completing TC3 drilling was March, but it had also talked about a second finishing date of March 2014 if it co-operated with insurers and expanded the programme, Stiven said.

"We should have left that out and said our programme will be finished in 2013."

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