10 Aug 2016

EQC to cut more than 500 staff

6:24 pm on 10 August 2016

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has proposed cutting the number of staff in its offices nationwide by more than half by the start of next year.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson

Ian Simpson Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

EQC is consulting with staff on the changes, which would see the commission shrink from about 900 to 383 roles nationwide by January 2017.

The proposal for the new structure impacts hundreds of EQC people on fixed-term employment agreements to December 2016, and those on contracts for service.

Most of the jobs would go in Canterbury, with 242 fewer positions becoming available, leaving 115 staff in the region.

There would also be 71 fewer roles in Hamilton and 172 fewer in Wellington.

EQC chief executive Ian Simpson said work in Canterbury was entering its final phase.

"We are maintaining the resources this year to get through the vast majority of the work that we need to complete."

Mr Simpson said it was aiming to have 67,900 managed home repairs completed, the 99,000 residential building claims scheduled for cash settlements paid and nearly all green zone land claims settled by the end of the year.

"What remains to be done in 2017 is to continue resolving remedial requests on properties where we have managed a repair, and resolving claims for drains damaged by the earthquakes."

But Labour Party Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods said the job in Canterbury was far from done.

"This is a case of the government giving up on Christchurch. This is not the time for them to be retreating, we're coming up to sixth anniversary of the earthquakes, and there are still homeowners that are waiting for their homes to be fixed. This means there are still families waiting to get on with their lives."

Ms Woods said the proposed changes would result in people waiting longer to get their homes repaired.

Mr Simpson said the commission would be providing support for staff.

"There will be quite a bit of uncertainty for our teams obviously as we go through this period, and we're putting a range of support in place including CV writing skills and career planning tools to help people think about what they might want to move onto next," Mr Simpson said.

The new structure was expected to be finalised by late September.

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