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The Star 21 Viewpoint Local News Now Time to resolve EQC claims ONE OF the most frustrating things for Earthquake Commission claimants over the last few years has been the high number of “re-repairs” – fix up jobs on EQC repairs that mean people have to go through the whole process again. Imagine waiting years to get your house fixed after the earthquake, going through the long process, only to find the repairs aren’t up to scratch and having to go through it all again. For people stuck in that situation it can feel like groundhog day. This scenario has been the reality for too many people in Canterbury – over 16,000 people have had to call EQC back. The issues involved can be quite serious – inadequate scopes of work that mean the entire repair strategy is wrong or even major structural issues that have been missed. This was something I was very vocal about in opposition, urging the previous National Government to take the issue seriously. Sadly, those warnings look to have been ignored and it emerged last week that over $270 million has had to be spent fixing up botched repairs – far more than the $70 million they told us would be required. That’s simply not good enough and reinforces the need to get the resolving 2600 or so outstanding EQC claims sorted so people can move on with their lives. That’s why I’ve appointed an independent ministerial adviser to help speed up the resolution of these claims. It’s also very important to underscore for people that all EQC repairs are guaranteed by the Crown – if they aren’t up to scratch, EQC and the Crown will Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi put them right. No one has to worry that there won’t be enough money for them to get what they are fairly entitled to. That’s why last week I’ve asked Treasury to urgently forecast the remaining liability to the Crown. It’s important we can offer taxpayers a clear understanding of the actual costs of these issues. This issue will also form part of our independent inquiry into EQC so that we can learn the lessons of what’s gone wrong here to ensure we are better prepared for any future disasters. •Megan Woods is the Minister of Greater Christchurch Regeneration EVER wondered what your member of parliament does on the three days a week Parliament “sits” in Wellington? Although, the media tends to focus on question time because that’s the theatre of Parliament and the opportunity for the opposition to quiz the Government and hold them to account, question time is only one hour a day. The other seven hours of Parliament’s sitting time are taken up with making law. Parliament writes the legislation that runs the country. Although Parliament makes laws, it’s the judiciary, the judges and the courts, who interpret and apply them. And because we live in a democracy, every New Zealander has the opportunity to help make those laws. If you think we need a new law or a law change you can visit your MP and ask them to help you make that happen. They can either, contact the ministers and put your idea forward, or every MP can write their own Members Bill. It goes into LAW-MAKING: Ross Bell from the NZ Drug Foundation making a submission to the Health Select Committee on the Medicinal Cannabis Amendment Bill. a ballot, and if it drawn, is debated by Parliament. Some of New Zealand’s most interesting and controversial laws have come from a Members Bill. Louisa Wall’s Bill legalising same-sex marriage was passed in 2013 and presently David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill (concerning euthanasia) is going through the process. Thursday April 12 2018 Nicky Wagner Fire rages, homes at risk Your chance to make the law And that’s another chance for you to have your say. Every piece of legislation goes through the Select Committee process and is tested by a cross-party group of MPs, expert advisers and the public. If you feel strongly about something you can make a written submission to the Select Committee and you may even want to come and talk to the committee. Either way your evidence and ideas will be included in the process. Parliament is all about representing the interests of the people of New Zealand so it’s important that as many of us as possible engage with the process to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. •Got an idea for a law change? Email me at nicky.wagner@ parliament.govt.nz •Nicky Wagner is a National list MP based in Christchurch Central FREE installation* SALE INVEST in the best! ® Classic GE Series HIGH WALL HEAT PUMP HIGH WALL HEAT PUMP FLOOR CONSOLE HIGH WALL HEAT PUMP FH50 6.0kW Heat Pump KJ50 5.8kW Heat Pump GE25 3.0kW Heat Pump EF50 5.8kW Heat Pump $3,299* $3,499* $2,149* $3,099* $1,999* Mitsubishi Electric Heat Pumps are super energy efficient and whisper quiet. Let us help you find the right solution for your home! Only $249* Add *includes cost of back-to-back install only, conditions apply We are your local heat pump specialists. Call for your free consultation and quote. 0800 324 678 www.dcis.co.nz