News in Brief: Hundreds ask for quake repair reviews

by Mina Martin 27 Jul 2016

News in Brief: Hundreds ask for quake repair reviews

Hundreds ask for quake repair reviews
A landmark legal settlement that ruled the Earthquake Commission (EQC) had to repair quake-damaged houses to ‘when new,’ and not pre-earthquake, standard has led to a growing workload for the commission, it has been reported.

The EQC has been receiving about 20 calls a day from people wanting their quake repairs reviewed; and has been called by 900 since the court ruling two months ago, reported RNZ News.

Following a legal settlement between EQC and a group of 98 claimants, called the EQC Action Group, EQC Fix was established. The independent public justice project aimed to ensure that the interests of homeowners were protected.

Melanie Burke, spokesperson of EQC Fix, told RNZ News she was not surprised that close to 900 contacted the commission asking for their repairs to be checked.

"What's starting to happen is [that] more people [are] becom[ing] aware of what to look for − perhaps they've moved back into their homes after having them repaired.

"The more that we help people in the community understand what those issues are, we'll just see that grow."

Burke stressed the importance of making sure foundation repairs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were done properly.

"There was a chap I'd spoken to who had a sale fall through recently, that was an EQC repaired home, because of identification of additional damage.

"So I think what people need to become aware of is as market awareness increases around this issue that there is the risk of homes being devalued."
 
Lloyd’s ratings revised
AM Best has revised the outlooks to stable from positive and affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a+” of Lloyd’s.

The ratings agency said: “The rating affirmations reflect Lloyd’s strong and stable risk-adjusted capitalisation, excellent business profile and recent strong underwriting performance.

“The revision of the outlooks to stable from positive reflects AM Best’s view that an upgrade of the ratings in the short term is unlikely, owing to pressure on Lloyd’s competitive position and prospective financial performance in an increasingly difficult operating environment.”
 
Govt urged to act on rising sea levels
The Green Party has reminded the Government of its responsibility to address the problem of rising sea levels caused by climate change following a massive coastal inundation in Kapiti and Waitara.

High tides and stormy weather at the weekend significantly damaged sea defences and roads around Kapiti, and has threatened exposed coastal properties in Waitara, Taranaki.

The Green Party said the lack of clear strategy from the Government has left residents to fend for themselves against growing risk of rising sea levels.

"There is no clear strategy from [the] central government on how to assist low-lying coastal areas that are threatened by rising sea levels. The people who live in those communities are being left on their own to deal with the problem," said Eugenie Sage, Green Party environment spokesperson.

The party highlighted the urgency in addressing the risks posed by climate change.

"We know that sea level rise is happening right now. Thousands of homes, roads, and other local infrastructure are potentially at risk over the coming decades from coastal erosion and storm surges.”

"New Zealanders can't afford for the National Government to keep its head in the sand about the real impacts of climate change.”

The party has also identified the role the Government should play in helping communities deal with rising sea levels.

"The Government needs to provide councils with clear national direction, guidance, and resources on how to respond to rising seas as this becomes an even bigger issue into the future.”

"Both Christchurch and Kapiti councils have tried to address the issue, but a lack of robust evidence and guidance from central government meant their efforts went nowhere. Dunedin City Council has been left to deal with the challenges in South Dunedin on its own.”

"The Government should be leading a national discussion on how councils, local communities, and stakeholders such as the insurance industry can prepare and respond to rising seas and a changing world and how central government can best assist.”

 
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