12 Jul 2013

MP takes over request for quake info

7:35 pm on 12 July 2013

The Labour Party is taking over a request under the Official Information Act so a Christchurch community group won't have to pay thousand of dollars to get the material.

Labour's newly-appointed Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove says he will ask EQC for it instead.

Clayton Cosgrove.

Clayton Cosgrove. Photo: RNZ

The Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network of Canterbury (WECAN) sought information from the commission on why urgent claims by elderly residents after the devastating February 2011 quake were being delayed.

The commission proposed to charge $24,000 for the service.

Mr Cosgrove said on Friday the Ombudsman has ruled that MPs are entitled to official information requests free of charge and he will re-lodge the request with EQC as soon as possible.

"It's called freedom of information and the way to get the recovery going faster and more progress and solutions is to be freer with information. A community group with no money shouldn't be charged $24,000 or one dollar."

WECAN spokesperson Sarah O'Brian says after 40 months, policies to protect the elderly have still not been put in place and many are now dying before their claims are resolved.

Ms O'Brian says the group is thrilled to be getting support from a local MP.