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Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission

Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission

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 will lead the Public Inquiry, which will report to the Governor General.

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 the year.

The Public Inquiry is holding public forums, where people can share their experience of EQC with the Inquiry and their views of how to improve it in future.

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.

Former or current EQC staff may also have questions about being involved in the Public Inquiry. The Inquiry is proposing to hold small group meetings with former staff during June.  Please contact the Inquiry at info@eqcinquiry.govt.nz to indicate your interest and to receive an invitation to participate. 

Alternatively, if you have questions for EQC or you want to ensure we have your most up to date contact information, please email us at publicinquiryresponse@eqc.govt.nz

Watch this space! Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

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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