Christchurch quake 6 months on: The hard questions

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo / Sarah Ivey

We put the hard questions to five key players instrumental in Christchurch's recovery.

GERRY BROWNLEE
Earthquake Recovery Minister

Question 1: What is your assessment of the progress six months into the recovery from the February 22 quake?

It wouldn't matter how much had been done, there would still be a lot of people thinking it's not moving fast enough, and that's perfectly natural. I don't think we can do things more quickly and I don't think there are too many stones left unturned in trying to get a good result.

Question 2: What are the most pressing needs at this point in the recovery?

The first is to get all of the residential land decisions completed, so that people are able to make decisions and move on with their lives. The second thing would be to ensure that we don't end up being a city full of broken buildings.

We need to get demolition over and done with.

Question 3: Do you think the people of Canterbury have faith in those leading the recovery and are getting the information they need?

I do think that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is well led. I think Roger Sutton is a very good communicator. I'm supporting him in getting as much information out to people as he possibly can.

ROGER SUTTON
Chief executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority

Question 1: What is your assessment of the progress six months into the recovery from the February 22 quake?

There was no instruction manual for what we were faced with and I am immensely proud of the people of Canterbury and what we have achieved so far. We are working together with an absolute determination to rebuild our city and our communities.

Question 2: What are the most pressing needs at this point in the recovery?

More than anything I think people want certainty and a sense that things are moving forward. That's why we are working hard to get the land decisions made. We are also working hard on infrastructure - people are wanting a sense that things are getting "back to normal", and having a flushing toilet and roads you can drive on safely are signs that this is happening.

Question 3: Do you think the people of Canterbury have faith in those leading the recovery and are getting the information they need?

The feedback that I am getting is that people really appreciate the effort and dedication of those leading the recovery. They understand that this is a huge job and that it takes time. And I think most people feel that they are being informed and have the chance to have input.

BOB PARKER
Mayor of Christchurch

Question 1: What is your assessment of the progress six months into the recovery from the February 22 quake?

This event began on September 4, 2010. I am very proud of the way this city, its people and its institutions have responded. The second major event in February took many lives, injured hundreds, and changed the landscape of our lives. Again, this city and its people rose with courage, compassion and a strong belief in our common futures in this place.

Nowhere has an event of this type, scale and duration been faced before.

We have been working and living in unprecedented times.

Question 2: What are the most pressing needs at this point in the recovery?

Clarity for thousands of people over their homes and businesses and the ability to rebuild, repair or move on.

(No response to Question 3.)

TOM McBREARTY
Chair of Cancern - a network of groups representing residents

Question 1: What is your assessment of the progress six months into the recovery from the February 22 quake?

A lot has happened and continues to happen in the rebuild but it can be very difficult to see progress.

Nobody has been very good at communicating the plans and processes for establishing a vision for Canterbury so there is a sense that small steps are being taken but a lack of clarity about where we are going and what it is all going to add up to.

We have a daily count of achievements but are limited in our ability to see real progress because we don't know where we are going.

Question 2: What are the most pressing needs at this point in the recovery?

Vision and security. Without these there is very little reason to stay in Christchurch. People need to know they will have job security and somewhere to live that is safe and what we expect in terms of living conditions and lifestyle.

The reinsurance issue is the elephant in the room that will lead, or not, to this security.

Question 3: Do you think the people of Canterbury have faith in those leading the recovery and are getting the information they need?

An emphatic no. We are still asking the same questions that have been asked by some since September. The leaders need to be more prepared to explain where we are at, what holds things up, what we can expect moving forward.

There seems to be an assumption that the community cannot handle the truth and they continue to dumb down all communication to the point where it is pretty much useless.

The leaders have yet to utilise the greatest resource of the recovery which is the voice, ideas and expertise of the various communities.

CLAYTON COSGROVE
Christchurch-based MP and Labour Party spokesman

Question 1: What is your assessment of the progress six months into the recovery from the February 22 quake?

It is important to go back to the September earthquake, which struck almost 12 months ago now, and if you asked those in the worst-affected areas what their assessment of progress would be then I don't think you could say it has been swift. While the recovery is a huge task for any Government, the communication with the worst-affected residents has left a lot to be desired.

Question 2: What are the most pressing needs at this point in the recovery?

Ensuring that affected residents have access to critical information in a timely fashion, as well as low-cost or no-cost independent legal advice so that those people can make informed decisions about their futures.

Question 3: Do you think the people of Canterbury have faith in those leading the recovery and are getting the information they need?

Labour was pleased with the appointment of Roger Sutton to lead Cera, but we are disappointed Cera was established as an arm of the Government rather than as a semi-autonomous Crown agency to avoid political interference and bureaucracy. So far we have been frustrated with the lack of community engagement.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 26 Dec 2014 15:46:09 Processing Time: 320ms