$750k quake catering bill criticised

Usar team working in the aftermath of February's Christchurch earthquake. Usar's $750,000 bill for catering has been critised by the Fire Service. Photo / APN
Usar team working in the aftermath of February's Christchurch earthquake. Usar's $750,000 bill for catering has been critised by the Fire Service. Photo / APN

A Fire Service report on emergency services response to Christchurch's earthquake in February has criticised Urban Search and Rescue's (Usar) "open-chequebook mentality" which it says led to a $750,000 catering bill.

The internal Fire Service report, released this week, said there was a perception that USAR's catering was of a "superior quality" to the rest of the Fire Service who were fed by the Defence Force at no cost, Fairfax Media reported.

The spending was not authorised and Usar's spending on a wide range of goods and service had been "loose".

The report said the rest of the Fire Service felt "disenfranchised" when Usar took over the central-city red zone on the second day after the February 22 quake which killed 181 people.

"It must not be overlooked that 95 per cent of rescues were achieved with existing skills prior to Usar arrival."

- NZPA

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