Farmers delays slammed

CATE BROUGHTON
Last updated 09:33 27/02/2013
Hazel
Hazel Youngman started the Bring Farmers back to Rangiora Facebook page.

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Rangiora woman Hazel Youngman said it was frustration that led her to set up the Bring Farmers Back to Rangiora Facebook page late last year.

The page has attracted 477 "likes" to date, with many using it to vent their anger. 

"It's taking far too long to be resolved. It's obviously the earthquakes that have made it uninhabitable."

She wants to see some central government action on the issue. 

"Someone else needs to step in."

The owner of the building, Tim Freer, has spoken out about his frustration with the property's insurance claim deadlock. 

He has still not received an offer from Ace Insurance for earthquake damage to the building. 

"It is frustratingly slow." 

An engineering report by Beca - commissioned by Farmers and Mr Freer - concluded the majority of the damage was caused by the earthquake. This, however, is at odds with a report commissioned by Ace. 

The insurer's engineering report concluded a minority of the damage to the building was caused by the earthquake, Mr Freer said.

He had been told Ace Insurance was reviewing its engineering report. Mr Freer said he was very frustrated the process had taken so long, but was doing all he could to resolve it. 

"Obviously, people are interested in the situation and we are hugely concerned about this ourselves and the disruption it has caused for the residents of Rangiora."

Mr Freer said he had met Waimakariri MP Kate Wilkinson to discuss the issue, and wanted to meet Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to see how he might be able to help.

Ms Wilkinson had asked Mr Brownlee to consider intervening to shift the deadlock.

"I think it has got to a stage where businesses are hurting, and for the confidence of the community, we need to see some positive action."

However, she said caution was required before the Government took steps to intervene in private contractual matters.

"I think it is too early to comment about what action he may take, but I can say he is considering solutions and looking at all options to bring back the vitality of the CBDs."

High level talks between the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) and the insurance industry had reaped some results, but there was still more work to be done, she said.

She said Mr Brownlee would be coming back to her with some advice and suggestions.

Farmers chief executive Michael Power said the company would continue to wait to return to the building.

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"There aren't many options in Rangiora for Farmers - so we are prepared to wait, but obviously the sooner the better."

- (Live Matches)

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