Southern Response to Step in on EQC Botched Repairs
“We now have clear evidence that failed EQC repairs are a major issue.”
That from Christchurch lawyer Dr Duncan Webb after documents released under the Official Information Act show that Southern Response is to step in and take over EQC’s botched repairs of AMI insured houses.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the two government entities discloses that EQC has approximately 11500 claims relating to botched repairs – and 2500 of those relate to Southern Response claims.
“This proves the obvious – that there needs to be an inquiry in to EQC” says Webb, who is also the Labour Candidate for Christchurch Central.
“There is no system to find and fix these serious building defects” he says. “EQC expects homeowners to find the defects themselves, which are often hidden, and then take photos and measurements of the defects”. “EQC has a moral obligation to find the botched repairs and fix them – not to foist the job of locating and assessing dodgy building work onto homeowners”.
Dr Webb, an earthquake insurance lawyer who has worked closely with earthquake claimants for the last 6 years, says the agreement concedes that EQC will have to pay to remedy any building defects over and above the EQC cover – a cost that was never anticipated by the EQC Act.
“This is likely to run into many millions of dollars which the taxpayer will be expected to stump up,” says Webb.
EQC, the government and ministers have consistently opposed an inquiry saying that “the number of repairs under the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP) that were found to need remediation, is in line with, or better than, rates for new builds in the wider building sector”. Dr Webb says this document shows that to be wrong, and woefully so.
“The defects are many and serious” he says. “And there are hundreds if not thousands of people who think their house is repaired properly and it isn’t. What’s EQC doing about those? EQC is failing in its moral and legal duty to ensure that no homeowner is left with failed repairs”.
“The government is ignoring this growing problem. Every we shine a light on this issue, it is larger, costlier and more concerning than before. It’s time to recognise that there are very serious problems with the EQC repair programme. It has clearly been
mismanaged and now homeowners are being fobbed off and left with unsound homes. That is totally unacceptable and an inquiry must be started as soon as possible.”