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EQC’s staff cuts show disregard for quake victims

The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.

“There are still thousands of claims outstanding six years later from the Canterbury earthquakes for remedial work and an estimated 50,000 more to come in as a result of the massive Kaikoura earthquake,” says Dr Woods.

“The EQC’s irresponsible move to slash its workforce from 868 to 458 will be cold comfort for Cantabrians this Christmas. This is a lack of commitment to Canterbury and a lack of commitment to the people who are currently suffering.

“This is a reckless move by the Government, creating more uncertainty for people who have suffered enough. For goodness sake, people have had their lives upended by the earthquakes and now will face even longer timeframes to get their homes fixed properly.

“With many employment contracts set to expire on 30 December there are really only a few more weeks of current staffing levels left.

“Labour is calling for an immediate pause on this job-slashing exercise, to allow time to finish the job for Cantabrians and reassess the impact of the Kaikoura earthquake on EQC’s workload.

“EQC must find out exactly what is required so that we don’t leave New Zealanders high and dry again. If we repeat what happened in Canterbury it will be 2022 and there will still be outstanding claims in Kaikoura,” says Dr Woods.