Scripted calls confuse quake residents, says MP

7:50 am on 21 October 2010

Some politicians in Canterbury say many of their constituents are now confused about the future of their quake-damaged land.

The Earthquake Commission has been calling more than 1200 homeowners to tell them whether they can rebuild on their properties.

But the politicians say the brief phone calls are scripted, and have raised more questions than they have answered.

The Labour MP for Waimakariri, Clayton Cosgrove, says his office has been inundated with complaints from those affected.

"They're under enough stress as it is because they've had a major trauma in their lives and you need to provide high-quality high-level information and then you need a person who's qualified to unpack that for people and sit with them and answer these questions."

Christchurch Central Labour MP Brendon Burns and Waimakariri District councillor Neville Atkinson say they've received similar complaints.

However, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the Government has conveyed clear and sound information that people can rely on, and it is now for private insurers to step in and work out programmes with individual households.

He told Morning Report was thought important that those whose properties had the greatest damage should get a phone call rather than be given information first through the media.

Report being made public

During the past two days, people whose houses are on land damaged by the earthquake have been contacted by Earthquake Commission and Government representatives.

The full report on the land was being sent to them by courier overnight on Wednesday, and is to be publicly released on Thursday.

The 1200 homeowners who've been told their land can be stabilised and their houses rebuilt will get the maximum Earthquake Commission payout of $100,000 plus GST, topped up by their private insurance.

The 16 property owners who were advised it is not cost-effective to repair their sections will also receive the maximum payout for their houses, and get some money for their sections based on the pre-earthquake market value for a minimum sized lot under the local council's district plan.