City's poor housing is human rights concern

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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A concerted effort needs to be made before the winter to identify every vulnerable household in Christchurch, the Human Rights Commission says.

It is worried that three years after the February 2011 quake there are still hundreds of people in Christchurch stuck in inadequate housing. "We have to find out who these vulnerable people are before the next winter and everything we can [do] to make sure they have adequate shelter," David Rutherford, chief commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, told Christchurch City councillors yesterday.

Rutherford attended a meeting of the council's earthquake recovery committee-of-the-whole to brief councillors on the human rights issues that had arisen in Christchurch as a result of the quakes.

He suggested the council should be leading a massive door-knocking exercise to identify those who needed help.

Rutherford said high levels of psycho-social harm in Christchurch were caused by community dislocation, financial distress, unresolved insurance claims and poor or insecure housing.

"This is New Zealand's greatest human rights challenge," he said.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck, who chaired the meeting, said the council shared the concerns.

She suggested the Human Rights Commission, the council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority meet to work out what needed to be done and who should do it.

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