You are here

Public Inquiry

The Ministers responsible for the Earthquake Commission and for Greater Christchurch Regeneration have released their response to Dame Silvia Cartwright’s Report on the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission.

EQC has embraced Dame Syliva’s findings and is well advanced in implementing all recommendations to make improvements across the organisation.

This page provides information on the Public Inquiry, and you can find links to the full report on the right.

Release of the report April 2020

After 16 months of analysis, public feedback and research the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission delivered its report to the Governor-General on 27 March 2020.

The Governor-General handed the report to the Minister responsible for the Earthquake Commission and Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration for consideration.  The two Ministers presented the report to the House of Representatives on 9 April 2020 – which then meant it became publicly available for all New Zealanders. Read the Ministers’ press release on the beehive.govt.nz website here.

The Inquiry’s report acknowledged that EQC staff had done the best they could in difficult circumstances, even if New Zealanders didn’t always see it that way. However it also found that EQC was poorly prepared, was rapidly overwhelmed and as a result the public bore the burden of those shortcomings.

The report was welcomed by the EQC Chair Sir Michael Cullen, who said it clearly laid out the challenges faced by EQC in responding to the most complex and damaging earthquake sequence that has occurred since it was founded in the 1940s.

He said the report’s recommendations provided a good foundation for EQC is turn its attention to making EQC as effective as possible and to improve the service to citizens in the event of a disaster.  It was important now that the EQC finalises its operating model and creating the systems to support that aim.  You can read a copy of Sir Michael’s press release here.

You can read the Inquiry’s report and also the summary of public feedback to the Inquiry 'What we heard’ on the EQC Inquiry website.

In addition to the Inquiry’s documents, EQC provided a significant amount of information to the Public Inquiry over the course of the Inquiry, particularly in the form of 18 briefings (over 1000 pages in total).

Close to 600 individual documents have informed these briefings, along with discussions with a number of current and former EQC staff, Chief Executives, Board Members and other relevant subject matter experts.

We are working hard to make all these documents available for public release in the coming weeks.

Most documents provided to the Public Inquiry by EQC will be able to be found in this section.

Sections, sentences or words in these documents may have had information redacted (that is, blacked out).  Where information has been redacted, the relevant section of the Official Information Act 1982 has been provided so that the reason for the redaction can be understood.

The Government’s response to the public inquiry, August 2020

The Ministers responsible for the Earthquake Commission and for Greater Christchurch Regeneration released their response to Dame Silvia’s Report in August 2020.

Read the Ministers’ press release on the beehive.govt.nz website

EQC Chairperson Mary-Jane Daly noted that EQC has worked closely with Government agencies to respond to the recommendations and feedback contained in the report and is well advanced in this work.

You can read EQC’s media release here

The report highlights the challenges faced by EQC in responding to the Canterbury earthquakes, the most complex and damaging earthquake sequence in recent times. It contains 70 recommendations for improvements, and 45 of those are the responsibility of EQC.

EQC’s response has included:

  • improving customer experience as a key focus for EQC. We have implemented more efficient claims processes and are building stronger partnerships with other agencies to provide them with a more streamlined response to natural disasters. You might have seen this in action following the Northland floods last month.
  • on-going work to better support communities through our new Resilience Strategy for Natural Hazard Risk Reduction, including by giving them access to leading EQC-funded disaster research to help local communities prepare for the next earthquake, flood or volcanic eruption.
  • making on-going improvements to our internal systems as well as building more capacity and expertise
  • continuing to work with Government to seek greater clarity on our role, which was Dame Silvia’s first recommendation, and  working closely with Government agencies to set out exactly who does what when another disaster strikes.

EQC will commission an independent audit to provide assurance the recommendations are being implemented.

Page last updated: