New Zealand Law Society - Dame Silvia’s Inquiry report into EQC released

Dame Silvia’s Inquiry report into EQC released

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The report of the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission (EQC) has recommended that claimants should be dealt with respectfully, fairly and professionally and with a sensitivity to the post-disaster pressures they might be facing.

“EQC’s operational practices must put the needs of claimants first and at the centre of what it does and ensure people get what they are entitled to,” the report says.

The inquiry into EQC was chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.

It also suggests reviewing housing stock in Christchurch.

“In Canterbury there is a real sense of uncertainty about the quality of the repair work done on homes and in some instances, whether the contracted work has been done,” it says.

In her foreward, Dame Silvia says that while the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry are focused on the operational practices of EQC and the outcomes of claims for people, it is impossible to consider these issues in isolation.

“That being the case, this report touches on a range of related issues and my impressions developed from these, which may be of use to the Government or other interested parties,” she says.

The Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, Grant Robertson, says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters.

“Dame Silvia’s report documents those experiences and makes recommendations so New Zealand can be better prepared for future large natural events.

“The report includes a number of recommendations for both wider government and specifically EQC. We’ll take some time to carefully consider each recommendation and will release our responses as soon as we can.

“Many of the recommendations will require legislative change and will be included in a full review of the EQC Act, set to be undertaken next year,” Mr Robertson says.