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Improving the Canterbury response

On this page you’ll find information on independent work to review and improve the response to the Canterbury earthquakes and improve readiness for future events. 

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Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission

The final report and recommendations “to improve EQC’s readiness to respond to future events” are expected to be completed by the end of March 2020.

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On 13 November 2018 the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission (the Public Inquiry) was announced by the Minister for EQC, the Hon. Dr Megan Woods. Dame Silvia Cartwright leads the Public Inquiry, which will present its main report to the Governor General by the end of March 2020. 

The Public Inquiry has a particular focus on EQC’s response to the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, but it will also address experiences with EQC right across New Zealand. That includes reviewing how EQC responded differently to other events such as the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016, and what can be learned from those comparisons. The final report and recommendations “to improve EQC’s readiness to respond to future events” are expected to be completed by the end of March 2020. 

You can find out more about the Public Inquiry on its website including the Terms of Reference, updates on the Inquiry progress, and how to be involved in the public forums. 

Confidentiality of former staff and contractors

EQC wishes to ensure former staff and contractors can speak freely and fully to the Public Inquiry if they would like to participate.

To ensure this can happen, EQC has agreed to waive any confidentiality or other obligations of former staff and contractors that might inhibit free communication with the Public Inquiry.

The waiver applies only to submissions to or discussions with the Public Inquiry.

 Confidentiality waiver for former staff and contractors participating in Public Inquiry

Where any former staff member or contractor of EQC wishes to participate in the Public Inquiry, EQC agrees to waive any applicable confidentiality obligation and/or any other clause that might inhibit free communication with the Public Inquiry, for relevant information disclosed to the Public Inquiry. This waiver applies only to disclosures to the Public Inquiry, and in all other respects the confidentiality obligations continue to apply.

Confidentiality of settlement agreements in the context of the Public Inquiry into EQC

EQC wishes to ensure that claimants can speak freely and fully to the Public Inquiry.

EQC’s settlement agreements are intended to be the final resolution of a dispute, so EQC has a number of claims settlements that include confidentiality clauses. Approximately 500 such agreements have been reached through EQC’s mediation scheme, the litigation process, and through the internal complaints process. As well as a general confidentiality clause, and a clause limiting a claimant’s ability to make public comment about EQC’s employees, some settlements contained clauses limiting the claimant’s ability to raise a dispute through other channels, although these types of clauses were discontinued in 2018.

EQC has agreed to waive any confidentiality obligations, and any other limitations in settlement agreements that might inhibit free communication with the Public Inquiry. The waiver for claimants applies only to submissions to or discussions with the Public Inquiry.

The claimant’s privacy and requests for their own confidentiality will be taken into consideration by the Public Inquiry as outlined in the Inquiry Minute 2 PDF (582 KB).

EQC will continue to honour the confidentiality clauses it has in all claims settlements.

EQC cannot waive any confidentiality obligations a claimant may have to a third party, such as a private insurer. 

 Confidentiality Waiver

Where any person has signed a confidential settlement with EQC, EQC agrees to waive any applicable confidentiality obligation and/or any other clause that might inhibit free communication with the Public Inquiry, for relevant information disclosed to the Public Inquiry.

Contact Us

The Chair of EQC Sir Michael Cullen, and the Chief Executive, Sid Miller, are supported by an EQC Public Inquiry team, led by Benesia Smith MNZM. They are assisted by legal counsel Simon Mount QC.

If you want to contact EQC regarding the Public Inquiry, you can email us at publicinquiryresponse@eqc.govt.nz

Any media queries should go to media@eqc.govt.nz

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Claimant Reference Group

We are working with customers and claimant advocates to find the best solutions for outstanding and future claims.

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A 2018 Independent Ministerial Advisory Report recommended EQC establish a Claimant Reference Group (CRG), comprised of claimants and community representative advocates who are paid for their time and expertise, and who meet EQC senior management regularly. 

Following this recommendation, the CRG was designed in partnership between EQC and a group of claimant representatives to deliver on the brief outlined in the Independent Ministerial Advisor report. 

The CRG was subsequently established and met for the first time in October 2018. 

The CRG has been established with the purpose of “improving the EQC experience of current and future claimants, with an immediate focus on the Christchurch experience”. The CRG will achieve this by focusing their efforts on “ensuring EQC is actively resolving the most important issues openly and transparently with claimants”. 

The CRG is responsible for: 

  • generating ideas about areas EQC can improve 

  • testing EQC improvements 

  • liaising with EQC to monitor and communicate progress. 

The CRG meets regularly as a group (at least monthly) engaging with EQC senior management and other experts as required in order to develop and communicate its advice.

Members

The current members of the CRG were invited to participate in the group based on their expertise, and previous advocacy for the voice and rights of claimants. The members of the CRG represent a variety of interests from the Canterbury community and have been appointed for an extended term until 31st March 2020.. Members of the CRG are reimbursed for their time in line with the Cabinet Fees Framework

Membership of the CRG

Meeting minutes and agendas

November 28 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 286KB)

November 25 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 272KB)

October 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 277KB)

September 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 291KB)

August 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 305KB)

November 2018 to June 2019 meeting agendas (PDF, 9.5MB)

October 2018 to July 2019 meeting minutes (PDF, 7.2MB)

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