Frustration and anger overflow in Christchurch


After five years there are still thousands of Christchurch people waiting for insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission to pay up so they can get their houses rebuilt or repaired. Many have died waiting.

This weekend I attended a protest rally where the anger and frustration of quake survivors was palpable.

I don’t pretend to know the fine details but the experiences of a huge percentage of people are of the government working closely with EQC and the insurance industry to screw over Christchurch earthquake victims and deny them justice in a timely manner.

There appears to be a deliberate strategy to stretch out payment of liabilities over a ten year period. This suits the big insurers who hold on to their money for longer and also suits the government’s Earthquake Commission for the same reason.

It’s a “capital strike” (a refusal of big business to pay out money) – as opposed to a strike by workers and it was clear most people see the local Press newspaper siding with the government and big business against earthquake victims. (Imagine the screaming headlines if city workers went on strike for even a few days, let alone five years)

The messages of anger and frustration are best summed up in the placards:

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  1. Obviously the 10 year plan is like a tap of growth National can turn on and off to suit, to cover their arses when other parts of the economy go soft.

    But it leaves so many questions. How many people are effected by this, how many buildings, how extensive are these problems? I ask because no figures are anywhere to be found, its like its a good news story only city but clearly there are problems and yet the reporting is so bad who knows? Can anyone assist?

    And if it is bad why did Nationals vote go up at the last election?

    • There are two distinct issues – the insurance claims on public and private buildings in the city and the residential claims.

      The people at this demo are people who have been unable to get their house insurance claim sorted. There could be quite a few reasons for this, ranging from EQC incompetence through to insurers playing hard ball …and I can assure you that’s exactly what they do.

      I believe there are about 4600 unsettled claims and a number in the process of settlement. These days the insurance companies generally enforce a cash settlement on the insured. This is creating it’s own problems.

      The Companies can say that they have completed a large percentage of the repairs because the most complex claims have been left until last. These are proving difficult to resolve and the stress of all of it has become to much for many. The government has now cut much needed mental health funding to Canterbury to add insult to injury.

      Meanwhile Stonewood homes in Christchurch just went into receivership.
      Could this mean the residential rebuild is stalling??

      The unrestrained good news from Christchurch isn’t that good for many of us living here.

    • The worst damaged parts of Christchurch were in the Labour voting areas of eastern and southern Christchurch. National was more concerned about the less severely damaged wealthy National voting areas of western Christchurch.
      I remember one television news item where an elderly gentleman in a minor damaged street was telling the reporter he was disgusted because there was an army of people standing around doing nothing when they should have been over the other side of the city where they were needed.

    • Because Labour are gutless and still have the back stabbers King, Mallard, Goff (who should leave now that he has announced he is standing for the mayoralty in auckland) and others pulling the strings. I vote Green.

    • Because the elite got their homes and roads fixed first and am sure they all voted National. There are not many of the elite set who have not got jobs, still with broken homes and still being lied to by EQC, insurers and this corrupt Government.. There are plenty of statistics for you to peruse, but mostly those that respond as you have give us the “we are over Christchurch and their problems” I challenge you to find anyone in Fendalton or Merivale who still have ongoing issues.

  2. Did anybody else notice how radical and dangerous those holding the placards looked? They were clearly terrorists, probably rent-a-mob, and most of them probably didn’t understand what they were protesting about anyway…

    • Steve King – what a pathetic, deliberately inflammatory, spiteful remark. Are you based in John Key’s office?

      • He’s being sarcastic. The people in the photos are obviously not like that, but the government will try and spin it that way.

        It’s a bit sad that, from the down votes, it looks like 2 out of 3 readers didn’t get it.

    • Funny, your comments sounds exactly the same for your comments about the anti TPPA protests.
      Well Mr Cut-and-paste, did you actually think about what you were writing, or were you just going through the motions after you received your latest ex-gratia payment from the National Party?

  3. I don’t think there was any money available for insurance payouts its all spent on big salaries and advertising to draw in new customers not unlike a ponzi scheme and insurers are meeting their obligations from current premiums after keeping themselves in the manner they are used too.

  4. I just wonder how politicians, EQC, and insurance company heads can sleep at night – while a large amount of Christchurch people STILL suffer the ongoing effects of an earthquake that was FIVE YEARS ago!
    This alone should be good enough reason not to vote the ‘sit on hands’ National government back in – actually that and Pike river – also shameful. At election time, if not before, lest we not forget!

  5. Those who have died still need to get their payout, even if it is only in fines. Needless to say, the delay itself should be compensated for: on top of the original damage.

  6. The mayor isn’t an innocent party either. In particular, the East feel let down very badly by her, with regard to the coastal hazards policy

  7. We are governed by corrupt, looting fascists.

    Would you expect anything other than deceit, exploitation and profiteering?

  8. I believe that in general people didn’t vote labour as they had no confidence in there ability to govern themselves – they were too busy waving dead kippers about and scrapping amongst themselves.
    They had very little visible presence in Chch

  9. There seems to be a larger story at play here.
    Quite simply large insurance companies, with billions of dollars of assets, are dodging their responsibilities.
    They have by in aided by a government who’s sympathies lie with them rather than the citizenry.

  10. To Martyn, I know you are very busy right now with your new show.
    Please have an open mind when you read this.
    The people in Christchurch are frustrated and angry, justifiably, but the media, and I mean most all media, are denying the access to the truths about what really caused and who is really responsible for the earthquakes. On your show recently, Martyn, you had on a guest who spoke about the twin towers being bombed down by terrorists and that has always been a trumped up lie as it is now clearly confirmed and documented that it was an ” inside job ” demolition and not a bombing or caused by a plane flying into a tower. Do more research. The truths about who caused 9/ 11 are avoided by all media, TDB included, just as looking into the real culprits and those involved in the man-made event in Christchurch. Links are not put up and this comment will not go through as usual. Everyone deserves the real truths behind these two horrific events and then the folks in Christchurch can go after compensation and ( hopefully ) the crooks can be put in prison.

    Now quickly delete this one as well because you (?) are, like most, who believe the stories they have been told rather than looking more deeply. These two events should be getting massive coverage right now instead of killing off the messengers and calling us all ” Conspiracy Theorists ” – which we are not. There were conspiracies, sure enough, and all the victims of each event have not been served the truths nor have they been served justice.

    Why is it that most media just go along with the song and dance fed to them by governments not worth trusting?

    Maybe Martyn – you could spend a few minutes, with an open mind, researching this and looking at my links submitted to you. The people of Christchurch, at the very least, deserve someone in their corner because clearly the govt; the media; insurance companies etc. are not their allies. They are understandably furious and angry and so are all the victims and their families of the 9 / 11 disaster and I guarantee you Martyn, someday in the future the truths about these two horrific events will come out and be confirmed and you may just remember my comments, way back when, trying to get you to stand up for the unbiased truths in the media. You have a rare platform and I hope it just keeps getting better.
    I am very far from the nutter and conspiracy idiot you may think of me.

  11. Many who were insured by AAMI would have been completely in the lurch if the govt, aka taxpayers, hadn’t bailed them out. Many have done OK by this arrangement (speaking for self).

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