Labour’s response plan for Christchurch flooding

Written By: - Date published: 6:57 pm, May 10th, 2014 - 22 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags:


Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Executive Wing

9 May 2014

Prime Minister


No-one could have foreseen what Cantabrians have and are still facing. This is made worse by the recent floods and landslips caused by flooding. Many residents are reaching breaking point.

The most important factor is the wellbeing of residents. We can do more to support them. We simply must act now and act together.

I believe all political parties should work in partnership with local authorities to offer immediate and enduring solutions and give confidence and certainty to the residents so that they can plan their lives and their futures. We recognise that those whose lives are in disarray need progress and certainty as soon as possible, while fair solutions that ensure beyond the next few months are also needed. We make the following suggestions which we would like to discuss further with you for the benefit of those affected.


There is a need to extend the temporary housing support for earthquake and flood effected residents. The Temporary Accommodation Support payment should cover all those displaced by flooding and flood-related landslip issues. There is an urgent need for more temporary accommodation.

Buy-out offer

We know that for some, returning to their homes will not be possible for some time. The only fair resolution is a buy-out option from central government. This should be made with urgency.

EQC/Insurance companies

The government needs to exercise leadership and direction of EQC and have direct engagement with insurance companies. Individual residents cannot be left to deal with these organisations on their own. The Residential Advisory service should be extended and resourced to deal with flooding cases. Support is needed for financial advice, counselling and advocacy, particularly for vulnerable people.

Immediate Solutions – Armed Forces

The resources of the Councils are stretched. Central Government could better support them and local residents. A secondment of resources from the Armed Forces would be appropriate and would provide immense reassurance and practical relief.

Clarification on roles and responsibilities

Cantabrians don’t need boundary battles. They need clarity over roles and responsibilities. An integrated unit dealing with the flooding issues comprising Councils, Health Board, EQC, insurance representatives, SCIRT, MfE and CERA should be established.

Clear guidance regarding building consents for properties in flood-prone areas must be provided. Statutory powers could be given in the implementation of the Natural Environment Recovery Programme.


The Health Board needs to be resourced to support public health issues such as mould, toxic silt, sewerage and related health risks. The advice of your Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, has said that there are many ongoing mental health issues faced by Cantabrians.

Orders in Council

Labour will support Orders in Council to fast-track on remediation, provide certainty for residents and real progress on resolution.

A Flood Taskforce has been established and will report to Council soon. I believe that the points in this letter will be consistent with the taskforce findings and recommendations. However, I commit to genuine partnership with the Councils and working with your government to progress the recommendations.

This is a test for all of us. On behalf of Labour, we want to walk this journey with you, for the wellbeing of the people of Christchurch.

David Cunliffe
Labour Leader

22 comments on “Labour’s response plan for Christchurch flooding”

  1. Sacha 1

    Now that’s real leadership.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    I think, as usual, National and Key will dither and take his own time to respond with spinful excuses and long winded justifications, especially because the suggestion has come from Labour.

  3. Redzone 3

    Good set of recs from Labour.

    Nats trying to wipe its hands of chch and it’s ongoing quake related flood issues as fast as they can and simultaneously playing the blame game.
    People here who are effected by the monthly 1 in 100 yr floods feel absolutely and utterly desperate. This on top of a Cera controlled rebuild that is a myth – if it wasn’t so devastating for so many it would be a joke.
    GE will be pay back time particularly in chch central and with luck the fall of the other bully- brownlie -the minister of destruction.

  4. Weepu's beard 4

    The so called swing voters will be confused by this. It’s the sort of cross party leadership they’ve always wanted from Labour, but once John Key laughs at the letter in parliament and tells them all why none of it is possible they will revert to type.

  5. Ad 5

    Wow! Not treating either citizens or local government with contempt! The last people to do that were, let’s see, the Labour government with its LGA reforms of 2002.

    The letter is a useful forecast of the kind of partnership between central and local government that could happen, if the government were changed.

    Go hard, DC.

  6. Pete 6

    As a simple matter of politics, how can the Nats hope to win the election if they don’t do anything for Christchurch? It seems like they’re pissing on the Cantabs’ legs and telling them it’s raining.

    • I recall Key declaring loudly in Parliament that the citizens of Christchurch are thankful they’ve had a National government dealing with the quake damage instead of a Labour government.

      One of the Cantabrians in my office nearly exploded when she heard that.

  7. Sacha 7

    This is a similar move to the one Key pulled off with Clark in 2008 over the anti-thrashing law changes.

  8. blue leopard 8

    LOL National are going to hate this!!

    a red rag to a bull[y]?

    Who ever thought up this idea needs to be kept on (not least to deal with National’s response).

    Good ideas and hope it helps those in Chch 🙂

  9. Philj 9

    Christchurch has been badly let down by this Government. TVNZ should have a one hour per week night broadcast on tv showing the whole country that we are supporting them all the way. Christchurch has largely been forgotten by the MSM and Auckland TV in particular.( excepting the exceptional work of Campbell and the team at TV3. TVNZ. .. shame on you.

  10. red blooded 10

    A strong and effective statement. The way NACT are dumping on the council at present is inexcusable (& wouldn’t be happening if buddy boy Bob was still at the helm). I hope it will be proofread and corrected before being released, though. Presumably “flood effected residents” refers to flood affected residents, and in saying they are looking for “fair solutions that ensure beyond the next few months” they mean to say “endure”.

    Picky, maybe, but these little things should be tidied up before they are mocked.

  11. Grumpy 11

    Is this Dalziel’s policy in disguise? While Christchurch residents wait in vain for their local Mayor and Council to come up with a policy – any policy, it seems she has just passed the job to Cunliffe. Is this just the gifting of Christchurch to a future Labour government?

    • mac1 11.1

      Grumpy, the letter says “I believe all political parties should work in partnership with local authorities to offer immediate and enduring solutions and give confidence and certainty to the residents so that they can plan their lives and their futures.”

      If that is the gift of Lianne Dalziel, to facilitate cross party co-operation with Christchurch local authorities, then indeed she will have done well and wisely for the interests of Christchurch, and for all of us with family and friends still living there.

      The same must be said for David Cunliffe, whose name after all sits at the bottom of the letter as the author.

  12. ianmac 12

    If National act on even one of David’s suggestions they are in trouble politically.
    If National do not act on even one of David’s suggestions they are in trouble politically.
    How sad John.

  13. Philj 13

    Ah… lovely clear day in a pg free zone. Lurvely….

  14. Armchair Critic 14

    With all the powers available under the CERA Act, it’s difficult not to conclude that National just don’t want to fix the problem.
    There are solutions, they can be implemented, National lack the will to do it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

      Alan Greenspan.

  15. jh 15

    “No-one could have foreseen what Cantabrians have and are still facing”
    Actually geologists knew there was a possibilty of a blind fault under the gravels of the Canterbury plain and we had liquifaction maps but minimal overlay of streets.
    What about the Alpine fault and effect on roads, bridges, storage lakes (filling with gravels)?
    Overlaid on the earthquake is 20 years of deliberate population pressure on a city whose job description was “a distribution centre for the farmland on the Canterbury Plain”.

  16. jh 16

    It’s business as usual in Christchurch. The City Council is reviewing the Urban Plan and they want to intensify particular areas as has been done around Westfield Mall (blocks of flats around old houses -cars on lawns etc). The houses built for lower paid working people (railway workshops) point to a more caring (focused) time compared to the present where infill with students and other renters ocupy vege gardens. One man was driven mad by students for 3 years before a residents group took action on his behalf.
    In Singapore the State owns 80% of the land and the do timely redevelopment with flair . Susan Krumdiek and her group have the right idea . When the Canterbury Settlement was settled the Assn owned all the land, but where would we be as just like the old beach and estuarine flat beneath half the city we have these people .

  17. Treetop 17

    EQC from day one should have had nothing to do with the contents component of an insurance claim. This railroaded what the priority was, a non drafty home, free of growing mold and land which did not flood or sink. Had there have been some sort of points system like when an operation is being booked, many people may have been spared the mounting stress of living in a dwelling, which a home cannot be made from it.

    A home is a place where a person should be able to relax, not something that confronts a person on awakening or retiring for the night feeling unsettled month after month, then year after year.

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