The Kaikoura Earthquake has been an unwelcome reminder of the sheer power and unpredictability of geological forces and of New Zealand’s vulnerability to these.
The earthquake has also highlighted yet again the resilience of New Zealanders in the face of natural disaster.
At EQC, it’s also reminded us that every natural disaster affects communities in different ways.So while we have learned a number of lessons from Canterbury 2010-2011, our response to the Kaikoura Earthquakes will be different.
One of the key things we learned from Canterbury is that we should have put more time early on into building relationships with customers, community groups, local government, and government agencies and insurers.
We are heeding that lesson as we plan our response to Kaikoura. We’ve had staff on the ground in Kaikoura, Ward and Waiau to help customers lodge their claims and answer EQC related questions. The information our people are picking up from those areas is being fed back into our planning.
The work we are doing now will mean that in 2017 we will be putting in place the team we need to deliver a response tailored to the needs of customers impacted by the Kaikoura Earthquake. This team will be part of the new structure we have developed to also carry on the remaining work in Canterbury in 2017.
While we are working very hard on responding to Kaikoura, we also know we have to keep focussed on resolving the final Canterbury claims.
I’m stepping down as EQC’s chief executive at the end of this year. I want to thank people of Canterbury for the support we have received, and at times for your patience. I acknowledge we didn’t always get everything right but we have learned from that. I also want to acknowledge the EQC staff who worked very hard to support the Canterbury recovery.
Looking ahead, it’s clear 2017 will be another year of challenges. I’m confident that EQC will rise to meet those challenges.
Pictured: Ian Simpson talking with Fire Service Chief Executive/National Commander Paul Baxter while in Waiau, recently.