Key defends quake emergency response to CTV

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Prime Minister John Key has backed the emergency service response to the CTV building collapse, saying they "did everything they possibly could" to save lives.

The comments came in response to the coroner's report on the Canterbury Television building collapse, published yesterday. The report found that the Fire Service and Urban Search and Rescue (Usar) did not contribute to the deaths of eight students trapped under rubble at the CTV site in the aftermath of Christchurch's February 2011 earthquake.

Key sympathised with family members of the victims and members of the emergency services.

"You really feel for the families; they've gone through hell over the last few years and this decision will just be another thing that brings to the surface their pain and suffering. I also feel enormously for the emergency services. I was there on the day. I can still remember the extreme position that was in place, the breadth and depth of what they were having to go through was enormous.

"So, for those rescue services involved, I believe they did everything they possibly could to save the lives of people involved both in the CTV building and in general."

He said the Fire Service was introducing changes in response to the CTV building collapse.

"The second thing is, structurally, in Christchurch we're in far better shape than we were in the past. We're amalgamating various facilities and services together. That gives us a strength there and that's quite a good prototype for changes we might be able to make around the country."

Key said the royal commission into the collapse was rigorous.

"I'm not convinced the royal commission should have gone deeper. I think we've had an important process there when it came to the royal commission. The coroner's report has been the right way to look at these issues."

The coroner had come up with good recommendations and Key expected emergency services would look to take those on board.

"But the extreme nature of what took place there and the severity and scale of those issues taking place in Christchurch on that particular day are something that will always be challenging for emergency services to cope with."

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- The Press

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