Quake commission apologises to residents

11:03 pm on 21 September 2012

The Earthquake Commission has apologised to quake-hit Christchurch residents, saying it is not working well enough and there are no excuses.

About 200 residents attended a meeting on Friday organised to give elderly quake victims in particular a chance to confront the commission.

They gathered at a church in the quake-battered suburb of Parklands to put questions to EQC chief executive Ian Simpson and customer services manager Bruce Emson.

Positive Ageing Ambassador and meeting organiser John Patterson says for many elderly residents, their homes are their only assets and now the fate of their property is in the hands of EQC and insurers, they feel their freedom has been lost.

Others told Mr Simpson and Mr Emson they are tired of getting poor information from the EQC call centre helpline, and waiting weeks for replies to emails.

Parklands resident Ron Bevon told the group that he feels helpless dealing with EQC when it will not reply to emails.

Mr Bevon says he waited nearly three months for a non-automated reply to an email he sent on behalf of a friend.

Christchurch city councillor Peter Beck says residents have lost confidence in the EQC's ability to process claims because it is not communicating what is happening.

Mr Emson apologised to the gathering, saying the commission is not working well enough and there are no excuses.

"EQC has about a thousand people at the moment and we're not working well enough for you. I freely acknowledge that and I apologise. We're doing our damnedest and we will do it better. That I promise you. But I can tell you that people are doing their best every day. It's not good enough and it's not an excuse."