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What's wrong with the Christchurch rebuilding programme?


Fix It Christchurch Rebuild 

89-year-old Christchurch resident Noel Chambers is shivering inside his temporarily boarded-up home in one of the coldest winters on record, upset that the Earthquake Commission has told him he will need to find $80,000 himself for the long-overdue repairs.

We don't think that's right, and we've gone to the Commerce Commission about it.

[Screenshots courtesy of the TV3 on Demand video:]


Mr Chambers is one of many earthquake victims who have become frustrated with the time taken by Fletcher Construction, the only contractor appointed by the Earthquake Commission, to complete repairs on his home of thirty years.

Fix It Christchurch Rebuild After six months of waiting, he and his daughter Chris finally decided to exercise their right to "opt out" of the Fletcher Construction process and appoint an alternative contractor, in this case Fix It Building Services.

But then the EQC announced a change which means that instead of "opt out" contractors being paid directly by the Commission, the homeowner must now pay the contractor first, then seek reimbursement from the Commission. This would make opting out impossible, as he would need to borrow the $80,000 required to pay for the work.

"The only reason I can see for the EQC delaying payment is to discourage people from opting out and protect Fletcher's profit," he said in a Campbell Live interview.  

Fix It Christchurch Rebuild"We can't understand the logic behind it," Fix It Building Services' Managing Director Russell Poole said on the same Campbell Live programme. "There certainly seems to be a total lack of empathy for the homeowners and their choice. They're stopping choice for the homeowner, they're making it very difficult if not impossible for some of these owners to take their legal right of opting out of the process, and it certainly looks very much like an element of protectionism, about using a dominant position to control the market." He also noted of the EQC that "as an organisation, they haven't got the best track record for speedy payment".

Sceptical that the new payment system will work as intended, and concerned about the effect of what appears to be anti-competitiveness on the building industry in Christchurch, Fix It Building Services has lodged a formal complaint with the Commerce Commission against EQC and Fletchers.  Let's hope for the sake of disadvantaged Christchurch homeowners that there's a happy ending to this story.

We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, what about Mr Chambers' plight?

The good news for him is that Fix It has announced that their customers will never be required to pay Fix It Building Services any money out of their own pocket for repairs before the funds have been released by the EQC.

Fix It Book a Quote 

Click this button or ring 0800 CAN FIX any time of the day or night to request how to Opt Out - we are happy to help!