Category Archives: Cancern

Default category. Anything which is not given another category will be categorised with ‘Cancern’.

Red zoners get to have a say

After a very long time, red zoners have finally been given a chance to share some information about how it was for them. CERA, through research company Neilsen are currently trying to contact all who were red zoned and accepted the offer to invite them to take part in their survey.

Invitations went out via email on 14 October but so far we haven’t heard of too many people who have actually received it. CERA is using their database but email addresses like street addresses have changed over the last four and a half years so we need word of mouth to get the message out there.

CanCERN is pretty annoyed at the promotion approach CERA has chosen to get the survey out which is limited to the use of their database and the hope that a few community leaders still have some old red zone contacts. Considering the massive CERA communications budget and the glossy stories that get delivered into letterboxes monthly, they didn’t feel that spending some of that money to try to get the word out through other channels was worth it.

The survey period is very short and people only have until 15 November to respond to the survey so if you know of someone who would like to know about this, please pass the message on now. If you need a copy you can participate by ringing Neilsen on  0800 400 402.

Lawrence Roberts, ex Avonside red zoner has done a lot of thinking about how why this survey is so important and how some may feel about actually doing it. In his blog Survey of former residential red zone owners who accepted Crown offers, Lawrence writes,

'If you are cautious about taking part in case it resurrects stresses and demons best left buried, Neilsen offer the following advice in the first part of the survey:
We hope that you will find the survey experience positive, but we understand that many former property owners may find the issues it covers difficult and taking part may bring back mixed emotions. If you find this to be the case we encourage you to consider calling the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 or to contact a trusted friend. You are free to stop the survey at any time.
Should your caution be motivated by cynicism or mistrust you won’t be alone. Never the less give thought to at least looking at the survey. If you don’t have your say, your views won’t be in the mix.'

A few community leaders including Lawrence and CanCERN were invited to attend a workshop as Neilsen was putting the survey together. The advice from all leaders was definitely informed by the experiences of those of us who either worked with red zoners or were red zoned and in many cases, both. Some changes were made but true to the top down recovery we have had to date, some decisions of how the survey has been constructed and the questions asked or not asked have been led very much by the needs of both CERA or researchers. However, there is enough in it to make the survey worth considering and at the moment, it’s as good as it gets. Lawrence explains,

'The survey is structured in an unusual way that may, or may not, fully and accurately capture the issues and experiences of Red Zoners. There are two parts for some participants to fill in, and one for others. Each part has a wide range of questions.  It may be you will find the questions don’t address issues that were, or still are, important. This can be saved up for the final part of the survey where there is (at least in the draft I have seen courtesy of Neilsen and CERA) an open-ended question:
Finally, please add any comments or suggestions you would like to make, particularly any suggestions about what more could be done to help people in the future if their properties are in the worst affected areas following a natural disaster.
Take the opportunity to say what you have to say, there may never be another chance. Were there stresses that the survey overlooks  (e.g. being in the limbo of an Orange zoning, having to relocate while the Ministry of Education was restructuring schools)? Were there services that just weren’t up to it and so you didn’t use them  (e.g. a medical centre or other health service you thought incapable or unwilling to give the help needed?)  Anything else? Mention it now; include the things that worked, as knowing what worked is as important as knowing what failed.'

As per usual the internet has won the day and there is no hard copy option available so if you know of someone who needs access to a computer or support to complete the form, please give them a hand or send them to the In the Know Hub at Eastgate Mall. The wonderful community hosts there can help.

The following is CERA’s release intended for those who haven’t been contacted about the survey:

CERA is conducting a voluntary, confidential online survey of former residential red zone property owners who accepted Crown offers for purchase of their properties. The survey is intended to help the Government, local authorities and communities in responding to any similar situations that might come up in the future. CERA has contacted former property owners (or people who acted on their behalf) directly, but some people’s contact details have changed in the past couple of years. If you’re a former residential red zone property owner who accepted a Crown offer for purchase of your property and haven’t received your invitation to participate, please contact Nielsen, the independent research company carrying out the survey on CERA’s behalf: 0800 400 402.

Home of the Taniwha – The Big Picture (guest post)

Eyes East is a collaboration of three parties – Eastern Vision, CTV and Rebuild Christchurch to inform, educate and engage communities about ideas for the recovery of the east Christchurch flat land suburbs.

In the seventh and final episode of Eyes East which screened on CTV on 5 November, all the community values and aspirations for the flatlands of east Christchurch are viewed as an over-arching integrated whole.  The challenges, future entities, processes and opportunities for the regeneration of the east are explored.  This episode and the rest of the series can be viewed on demand on

Guest post – Evan Smith. View the original on Rebuild Christchurch here.


The red zone lands mean so many different things to so many different people.

Our trauma, our angst, our home.  Our backyard, our neighbourhood.  Our opportunity, safety buffer, hope, sanctuary.

Our vision, our river park.

Our one chance to get it right: our stunning legacy for future generations…

This is no more so than in the eastern flatland suburbs of Christchurch.

Like a slithery Taniwha snaking through the heart of the east, the memory, the emotion, and the promise lie in wait – only occasionally stirring.

But woe betide anyone who seeks to poke it with a stick, or grasp it with both hands and oust it from its place of rest.  The beast can spring into life with a ferocity that could devour the seemingly all-powerful.

We got a faint glimpse of that this week.

“The Government hopes to recoup money from Christchurch’s red zone by leasing or selling land for private sector development,” said an article in The Press on Tuesday.  The Government was considering “options that offered a ‘financial return for the Crown’ for the future use of the land”.

There was an immediate backlash: accusations of government – and council – subterfuge, lies, collusion with insurers and money men.  Loss adjustment!  Land-banking!  Exploitation!  Deceit!

The voluntary offer, which was far from voluntary for most, the ‘fair deal’ that made losers out of many, the lack of first right of refusal, the plight of those who stuck it out and haven’t moved on for whatever reason, the lack of transparency or clear timeframes for decision-making, but above all the erosion of trust and confidence in political and commercial process all erupted abruptly.

“It would break my heart if houses were to ever be built back where our beloved … family home was red-zoned in Dallington…”

“A massive sit-in on any land they try to build on … as they have conned people out of their homes…”

All these sentiments were stirred up when the Taniwha writhed for just a moment.

If there is any hint that anybody, whether public or private, profits – or is perceived to profit  – out of the misery of those who were red-zoned or left behind in the adjacent TC3 zones, then the Taniwha will rise with a vengeance that time will not dull.

Yes, there may be need for new and affordable housing in the east that can help offset costs, but let’s be innovative in how that may be achieved without encroaching again on lands best left alone.

Leave the Taniwha in peace. Let the lands return to what they want to be: a green and blue floodplain space that nurtures and protects the adjoining communities – and the wellbeing of the entire city.

Evan Smith

Ex-Red Zoner


Breakthrough – a really good overview of what we do

Breakthrough is a free service we run with Southern Response customers whose claims are not making the kind of progress they need. There are a whole raft of reasons why progress can be slow but with some additional support many homeowners are able to progress in a way that leaves them feeling more confident.

It’s a facilitation service rather than an advocacy service. We don’t negotiate for a specific claim outcome because we’re not lawyers, quantity surveyors or engineers. We are, however, able to facilitate a constructive discussion where homeowners can have the conversation they need to have with the right people at Southern Response. There is one collective aim – to understand where the claim is at from the homeowner’s perspective and what needs to happen for the claim to progress to the next stage.

Who can it help?

Absolutely anyone who is a Southern Response customer. Because Breakthrough is about trying to get things progressing where they have slowed down you can be anywhere in the process from having a first site meeting to being in the midst of repairs or a rebuild. Breakthrough has helped homeowners who:

  • thought the only option left was to head to court,
  • had stopped talking to Southern Response,
  • thought they should wait for others to get through first,
  • had just gone over cap after a long wait with EQC

How does it work?

There are a few ways to get involved:

  • You reach out to us – Anyone who is a Southern Response customer can give us a call and ask us to facilitate a discussion.
  • We reach out to you – Southern Response has asked us to contact customers whose claims are progressing slower than they expected, so we may phone or email you.
  • You are referred – Another earthquake support service or your claims specialist may refer you if they think we can be of help.

This meeting is about us listening to you. Through listening, we can help you figure out what you really want to say, where you think you are stuck, and how you think progress can be made. This meeting normally takes an hour or two and happens in a place where you are comfortable.

We write up notes based on our conversation which also form the agenda for the facilitated meeting with Southern Response. You check they are accurate and make any changes you want to. If you want to go ahead with a facilitated meeting we ask you to sign a consent form so that we can send the notes off to the Southern Response manager we think is best to help with your claim. Click here to see what the ‘homeowner meeting’ notes look like.

Once Southern Response have read the notes we give them a week to gather everything they need to make sure they can answer your questions and address your concerns. Before the facilitated meeting we check the staff are ready and let you know that everything is on track for a productive meeting.

We have this meeting where you feel most comfortable, e.g. the CanCERN office, your home, or another neutral meeting space. We work hard to set the right tone and reinforce that the meeting is led by the homeowner’s needs. Sometimes people are really nervous about the meeting and expect it to be a battle but most walk out feeling like it was one of the best meetings they’ve had in the last five years.

At the end of every facilitated meeting we write up another set of notes that include what actions were agreed to, who is responsible to ensure they happen, and how long they will take to be completed. Click here to see what the ‘facilitated meeting’ notes look like.

Part of our role is to check up and make sure everyone is on track to complete actions on time. If there are delays, we figure out why they have occurred and make sure everything is communicated back to homeowner. Further down the track if you need Breakthrough again, we will help.

What does it cost?

Breakthrough is completely free for the homeowner. Southern Response is independently contracting us to run the service. This type of independent contract is fairly standard for facilitation industry-wide. You could liken it to the way Southern Response sometimes pays for the cost of an independent quantity surveyor’s report, for example.

What now?

Email, call or text CanCERN’s Breakthrough Project Manager:

Marcus Irvine
027 304 8092

From CERA to beyond – Transition Recovery Plan

Hi everyone, Leanne here.

Yesterday the Minister released the Transition Recovery Plan. This outlines how Central Government will transition roles and responsibilities for long-term arrangements as the focus moves largely from recovery to regeneration. It also confirms decisions about new legislation which is considered necessary to support recovery and regeneration over the next five years.

If you would like to see how your feedback on the Draft Transition Recovery Plan had an impact on this version, read the Summary of submissions to Draft Transition Plan.

If you’re looking for acknowledgement that not everyone is beyond the recovery stage, you will only see it in small nods. This is a relatively upbeat document and it’s focused far more on the central city regeneration and how overall leadership will transition from Central Government to Local Government over time. That said, neither Central nor Local Government are under any illusion as to the reality of broken homes, roads, and people. The Advisory Board has made sure that focus remains front and centre and we are expecting inheriting agencies to be able to articulate clearly their role in the provision of support for people still struggling. If you want to understand who will be responsible for ensuring homes and people are repaired, look to Appendix 1: New central government arrangements.

Regenerate Christchurch is the new lead entity and it’s purpose is to ‘support a vibrant, thriving Christchurch with economic, social and lifestyle opportunities for residents, businesses, visitors, investors and developers’. It is not the group that will focus on what is left of the residential rebuild and insurance issues nor the more specific social issues which come about after a protracted disaster recovery. MBIE and MoH have been charged with that role and there is as yet very little visibility of what that really looks like.

Regenerate Christchurch is however the entity which will try to speed up momentum in the CBD rebuild and will be responsible for the future Red Zone engagement in Christchurch. The Crown and CCC have collaborated in the design of this entity and the idea is that over the next five years there will be less and less Crown influence. The Mayor is pretty happy with this approach so we need to trust that she has addressed previous issues in the set up of Regenerate Christchurch.

People will still question though, “is Regenerate Christchurch just CERA in drag? CCDU in drag? Is the Minister still calling all the shots?” In my honest opinion which has been largely informed through my role on the Advisory Board, I believe not. I’m not staking my life on it because let’s face it, when push comes to shove the Crown always has the biggest stick. However, I am confident of a few things:

  1. The Crown actually wants out of the driving seat. They have to stay to ensure their ongoing financial investment is looked after but they certainly don’t want to be creating new roles for themselves.
  2. The dialogue between Minister Brownlee, Mayor Lianne Dalziel, and Chief Executives John Ombler and Karleen Edwards has improved and is focused. Open dialogue leads to all kinds of great planning and accountability and we are already reaping the rewards of this new way of working.
  3. The Crown actually don’t like to use the special powers but local authorities are very clear where momentum will be challenged if we do not have the ability to resolve extraordinary issues related to recovery and regeneration. We in the community have also identified long standing and unresolved issues which could be best addressed by the careful use of legislation.
  4. There has been a massive process shift in terms of who can instigate Regeneration Plans and the role the Minister has which essentially means that if the local authorities commit to meaningful community engagement, we are in a better position to lead local decisions.

The things that make me nervous and which are not well articulated in this Plan are the following:

  1. Future Use Residential Red Zone decisions. Like the way CERA has done it or not, there are some key people in CERA who understand that the Red Zone is as much a part of our social recovery and wellbeing as it is a Crown asset. To lose this thinking at this stage is a frightening concept.
  2.  The Plan doesn’t give any real indication what MoH and MBIE have actually been asked to do in terms of leading the residential and psychosocial recovery. MBIE don’t have a very visible local role and MoH have not been here in a leadership role as MSD has taken on the role. Uncertainty is uncomfortable and those who work in this space are feeling a little anxious.
  3. The section on DPMC’s monitoring and reporting also leaves me a little cold. Although it’s good to see that there will be some coordination of this, nothing in what is written demonstrates a greater commitment to the monitoring being used for anything more than reporting. Where’s the commitment to using the data to identify and resolve issues? CERA has monitored and reported on residential insurance progress stats for a long time. That doesn’t mean better progress has been made.

Next steps in moving from CERA to beyond are mostly legislative now. Select Committee submissions on the new legislation will be called for and it is likely to be a very short time frame with which to submit. Christmas is fast approaching and everything needs to be passed through Government and ready to go by April 2016.

A final personal opinion; the direction I believe is the right one. The Crown will see through the commitment to support this recovery but will move more and more out of the leadership role so that the local leadership can step up. Collaboration and leadership are the key focuses and we haven’t had enough of either to date so we are well overdue for a step-change in that area. The residential recovery has mostly taken a ‘leave it to market’ approach. We haven’t agreed that this was the right approach and we can only hope that a more specific solutions focus will be applied to what’s left. The community sector is strong and passionate about supporting the social wellbeing of Cantabrians so as long as they are in turn well supported, they will lead the way. The future use of the Red Zone is a nail-biting ‘wait and see’ area and we can only strenuously advocate that the powers that be remember the people.

Breakthrough – an update


What is it again?
Breakthrough is a service we run with Southern Response customers whose claims are stuck for any number of reasons. Sometimes they’re not even stuck, but with some additional support they are able to progress in a way that leaves the homeowner feeling more confident. It’s a facilitation service rather than an advocacy service. We don’t negotiate for a specific claim outcome because we’re not lawyers, quantity surveyors or engineers.

We are, however, able to facilitate a safe discussion where homeowners can have the conversation they need to have with the right people at Southern Response. The meetings are safe because we remove the ‘us and them’ approach. There is one collective aim – to understand where the claim is at from the homeowner’s perspective and what needs to happen for the claim to progress to the next stage. With any Breakthrough meeting we make sure there are action points at the end that are agreed by everyone; this ensures homeowners always have some progress going forward.

Breakthrough has been running since the end of last year and has relied on homeowners coming to us for help. The feedback we have received from homeowners revealed, it’s been working well – every person involved has made progress of some kind.

So what’s the latest?
CanCERN’s extremely generous philanthropic funding from the Todd, Tindall, and Hugh Green Foundations is coming to an end after nearly five years. What that means is we have been left with a choice: stop Breakthrough altogether, or continue the programme via an independent contract with Southern Response. The results have spoken for themselves and the need for independent facilitation in the insurance settlement area is more apparent than ever. This is why we have chosen the latter and have a short term contract which allows us to target our support more directly.

Why is Southern Response contracting Breakthrough?
Southern Response wants their customers to have the support they need to work through their claims. They have always encouraged homeowners to seek independent support from services such and Earthquake Support Coordinators and Residential Advisory Service. Breakthrough is an additional support they are keen for their customers to use if it can be helpful.

Is there a conflict of interest?
Some might perceive it that way, but for us, the service we are providing hasn’t changed as a result of the contracting situation. The homeowner shares as much or as little information with us as they choose, we facilitate the meeting based on what it is they need to discuss, and the information shared with Southern Response is all validated by the homeowner. Impartiality and transparency are key. This kind of funding arrangement is also pretty common for independent facilitation industry-wide.

Want to know more?
Give Marcus Irvine a yell on 027 304 8092 or send him a quick email at



Tidal barrier to mitigate coastal hazards?

Below is an update from the city council about the tidal barrier option being considered:

Good afternoon,

You may have heard the Tidal Barrier being discussed at recent community meetings on coastal hazards, so we thought the information below may be of interest to you and your communities.

The barrier is just one of a number of flood management options the Land Drainage Recovery Programme (LDRP) and Council Strategy and Planning Group are investigating as flood mitigation measures for Christchurch.

We just wanted to give you the heads-up about a staff report on the Tidal Barrier Pre-feasibility study that will be considered by the Council’s Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee at a meeting on Thursday 8 October.

The purpose of the pre-feasibility study was to understand whether a tidal barrier was worthy of further consideration and if the Council would be justified in conducting a full feasibility assessment.

The staff report recommendation is that the Committee recommend to the Council:

–       That a full feasibility study on a tidal barrier does not process at this stage under the Land Drainage Recovery Programme.

–       That the information in the pre-feasibility report on a tidal barrier be considered as one of the engineering options for flood protection in the development of the Council’s Three Waters Strategy.

–       That it continue to work closely with CERA on the options for flood plain management as part of the technical work on the future use of the Residential Red Zone.

The Committee will make a recommendation which is due to go to the full Council for its decision on Thursday 29 October 2015.

The report that will go to the committee on Thursday is now up online. To view the report click here, select 8 October ITE Committee meeting, and go to page 89.

ILV explained + an update

It’s been a wait and a half, but we have finally had some movement on Increased Liquefaction Vulnerability (ILV). EQC is about to finalise its ILV policy and has said it will start sending letters out to homeowners about whether they qualify from the end of this month.

We’ve been hearing a bit of confusion out there in the community about ILV, so thought we’d cover off a few points that might help clear the air. This post isn’t about opinion or saying what we think EQC should be doing; it’s about explaining what EQC are doing, because, one the policy is finalised, unless things are changed by the courts, this is how ILV will be dealt with whether we like it or not.

If you’re interested in seeing EQC’s fact page on ILV, click here.

What is/isn’t it?
ILV is all about future risk, i.e. Is a property more vulnerable to liquefaction now than it was before the earthquakes? The key word here is ‘vulnerable’. If your property was slightly vulnerable to liquefaction before the earthquakes and it is still slightly vulnerable then there is no increase in vulnerability. But if your property was slightly vulnerable beforehand and is now very vulnerable then obviously there has been an increase. At its most basic, this is the gist of ILV.

Where it gets confusing is when people start thinking about all the silt that came up on their properties in the quakes – it seems odd, but the number of trailer loads you carted off your property doesn’t necessarily relate to ILV.  The property may well have been very vulnerable to liquefaction beforehand and remains just as vulnerable now.

Another other key point to remember is that ILV is based on an ‘up to 100 year earthquake event’. To put that in context, the February earthquake was a one in 500 year event. What this means is that to qualify for ILV, a property has to be more vulnerable to liquefaction in a future earthquake with the severity of a 100 year event or less.

How do I qualify for ILV?
To qualify for ILV a property has to pass through two ‘gates’. The first gate is based on engineering and the second is based on valuation.

The picture below shows the different sources of information that make up Tonkin & Taylor’s engineering assessments for ILV.


Time frames
EQC is dealing with ILV in two stages. The first stage is to let all homeowners with ILV ‘potential’ know whether they qualify or not. Letters with this information are going out from the end of October and will include a cover letter, ILV fact sheet, and the engineering report for the property done by Tonkin & Taylor.

The second stage is also a letter that will be sent out throughout 2016 to all homeowners who qualify for ILV land damage. In this letter will be the dollar figure EQC has attributed to ILV for your property. The reason this second letter can’t be sent out sooner is because EQC has to wait for the ILV policy to be finalised before it can start calculating individual payouts for each property.

How does EQC work out the ILV cash payment?
As with Increased Flooding Vulnerability (IFV), EQC is planning to settle ILV claims in two ways. The first is based on Diminution of Value (DOV), i.e. the loss of market value to a property. This has nothing to do with any drop in rateable value your property might have had – EQC is basing its DOV payments on the assessments of the independent valuers it has employed. The excerpt below (taken from the IFV policy) shows that EQC’s valuers are being peer reviewed; we are assuming the same applies for ILV:

“The assessments of the Diminution of Value will be made in accordance with the methodology, practices, and procedures described in the paper “Diminution of Value Methodology for Increased Flooding Vulnerability” (April 2014) endorsed by the DoV Expert Valuation Panel nominated by the New Zealand Institute of Valuers and the Property Institute of New Zealand to provide an independent expert peer review of the work undertaken by the independent EQC valuers.”

The other way ILV claims could be settled is via a cash payment based on the cost of remediating the land. EQC says this method will only be used where ‘feasible’, which basically means the site needs to be bare and have enough room for large equipment to get on and remediate the land. We understand that there will be more ILV properties settled via this method than for IFV.

Can I appeal?
There is an appeal process and anyone can enter into it provided they have some new information to offer EQC, e.g. technical reports.

Community meetings
EQC is planning to run several community meetings in the coming months and early next year to better explain ILV land damage. At these meetings, homeowners will be able to hear from EQC and ask questions face to face. We will be advertising these meetings once dates are confirmed.

In the Know Hub seminar videos

In the Know Hub is still running seminars and recording them for those who can’t make the sessions. The topics are diverse and the feedback from those who attend is that the seminars and question time after are helpful. If you have suggestions for seminar topics please let us know.

If you haven’t caught up with recent seminar uploads, check them out here.

If you’ve got free time next Thursday 22 October, head to the Hub at Eastgate to find out more about Deed of Assignment – a legal perspective on the implications of these contracts. Sessions are 1pm-2pm and repeated at 6pm-7pm.

This seminar will cover:

  • What a basic Deed of Assignment is
  • How they are used in relation to earthquake claims
  • What homeowners should consider before they sign a deed

Presenter: John Goddard, independent  solicitor