Six months on from the government announcement of a public inquiry into the Earthquake Commission (EQC), the appointed inquiry chair has outlined that she is encouraged by the quality of submissions they have received.
The public inquiry into the EQC was established and tasked with making findings and recommendations as it relates to the operations, policies and service of EQC, following the Canterbury earthquakes and other natural disasters around New Zealand in recent years. As of May 20, the inquiry said it had received formal written submissions alongside more than 200 comments via social media. Public forums have also begun.
Now, Inquiry chair Dame Silvia Cartwright has stated that there are clear themes coming through. People said they want to see more empathy, transparency, relevant expertise, quality assurance around assessments and repairs, and greater timeliness with claims from EQC.
“It’s obvious in the stories from people that many are still living with the lasting impacts on them and their families,” Cartwright said. “People have been prepared to detail their experiences – which clearly haven’t been easy for some – and still focus in on specific changes they feel are needed in how EQC responds and handles insurance claims after disasters.
“Some people have seen positive gains over time depending on who manages the claim, but that is still a contentious area,” she added.
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Cartwright is urging the public to participate and have their say on EQC’s policies, operations and services into the future.
“Anyone who has experiences with EQC and views on change, but hasn’t shared them with the Inquiry yet, I would urge them to take the time to do so,” she added. “These can be confidential if they wish. It is important we hear from people with a range of experiences – good, bad or otherwise.”
Submissions close on May 26. Cartwright expects to report her findings and recommendations to the Governor-General by the end of 2019, and they can then be considered by the government.