Home' Northern Outlook : December 8th 2012 Contents 4 NORTHERN OUTLOOK, DECEMBER 8, 2012
quake story comments
THE EARTHQUAKE Commission
(EQC) has complained about a story
published in the Northern Outlook
on October 31, under the heading
Couple s journey to hell: Housing
nightmare continues .
The article dealt with the experi-
ence of a Pines Beach couple, the
Petersons, placed in the residential
red zone, meaning their land had
been deemed uninhabitable and a
government offer made for the pur-
chase of their house and land.
EQC says the article was mislead-
ing because it omitted critical facts,
and was also unbalanced.
It began by referring to a drawn-
out battle with the Earthquake Com-
mission , before going on to describe
how an EQC settlement offer for
building damage was well below
the offer made by the couple s pri-
vate insurer. The consequence of
this, the article contended, was that
the couple was forced to take out a
mortgage as they were $50,000 short
of the true cost of repairs .
EQC says this was purely the con-
sequences of decisions made by the
Petersons , not the result of battles
The critical omission in the article
was in failing to alert readers to the
fact that the Petersons had two
options in deciding how to proceed
with their insurance claim. All Red
Zone homeowners are given two
options by the Canterbury Earth-
quake Recovery Authority -- Option 1
involves selling both land and build-
ing to the Crown at its 2007 valu-
ation. Option 1 generally works best
for homeowners whose house is
deemed repairable (that is, not a
total loss), as it crystallises their pos-
ition and frees them to buy or build
elsewhere, which would appear to be
what the Petersons want to do.
From the article, it is clear that
the Petersons rejected this option in
favour of Option 2, in which they
sold their land to the Crown at the
2007 valuation, but chose to pursue
their insurance claim(s) for building
damage. One might surmise the
reason for this decision was a calcu-
lation that they would be able to acti-
vate their full replacement insurance
policy, but the reality is that this was
The inference that EQC was to
blame for this assumption on their
part can t be supported, as there is
no evidence EQC ever indicated their
house was anything other than an
under cap settlement, meaning
their private insurance policy would
not come into play.
EQC also complained about the
lack of balance in the article. There
was reference to the true cost of
repairs being some $50,000 -- or
about 50 per cent -- higher than that
paid by EQC, with the clear impli-
cation that EQC was in error in
determining the value of damage.
We were never approached for
comment, nor were we asked to
explain any discrepancy in the value
of damage. Had we been approached,
we would have been more than
happy to explain that differences in
the kinds of cover provided by EQC
and private insurers can lead to
markedly different valuations.
The Northern Outlook accepts the
article contained inaccuracies and
Booze bus to blitz country roads
By RACHEL MACDONALD
THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK: Bar mats and coasters are among resources being supplied to Waimakariri pubs over the Christmas season to remind clientele to consider how they're going to get home.
Often they go to a lot of trouble to
get favourite alcoholic drinks for
their guests, but the sober driver
tends to be treated as an after-
Plan a safe ride home before starting to drink, says council
IF YOU think you have got less
chance of being breath-tested
driving home on the back roads
after the company Christmas
party, think again.
Canterbury road safety co-
ordinators have joined resources
to launch a campaign targeting
rural drink drivers, and police
have already engaged in more
random patrols on minor
The booze bus will be deployed
more widely in rural areas as well
over the holiday period.
Waimakariri District Council
road safety co-ordinator Chris
Neason says that statistics show
most of the region s fatal and
serious injury crashes happen on
Between July 2007 and June
2012, there were 172 crashes
involving alcohol in the Waima-
These resulted in seven
fatalities, 26 serious injuries and
58 minor injuries.
It is sad to say that in many
cases when drivers are affected by
alcohol, they tend to drive faster
and fail to wear seat belts.
This mix usually plays out in
tragedy, she said.
The new campaign looks light-
hearted at first glance.
However, the objective of the
visuals is to catch attention,
which is then backed up by the
key messages and our call for
Having a few drinks?
Plan a safe ride home.
Alcohol is quickly absorbed by
the body, but takes much longer to
Even if you feel okay the morn-
ing after a big night out, you may
still be over the legal limit.
And that trusty cup of coffee
isn t going to make you sober -- it
will just make you a wide-awake
We encourage people to work
out how they re going to get home
before they even start drinking.
Given that in a rural environment
there is limited or no public trans-
port available, we re suggesting
people choose a sober driver,
share designated driver duties, or
Our local hotels and taverns
also do a great job with host res-
ponsibility, with almost all offer-
ing courtesy van facilities.
She said that private hosts
could be a bit more creative in
catering to designated drivers too.
Often they go to a lot of trouble
to get favourite alcoholic drinks
for their guests, but the sober
driver tends to be treated as an
We need to look after them
with exotic fruit drinks, for exam-
ple, or non-alcoholic cocktails and
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