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Did you say “Harden Up Canterbury”?

  • February 3rd, 2011

Newstalk ZB Canterbury contacted me yesterday over Monday's post, asking if I was saying "harden up Canterbury".  The journalist said that no public figure had been willing to express publicly the kinds of thoughts I'd recorded, but it had made her think because she was still waiting for someone to deal with their cracked chimney.

That was exactly the kind of  situation I'm worried about. Chimneys are simple to pull down. I took down 2 of them from our current house years ago when I found the mortar crumbling. One gave us extra space. The other was replaced with a flue by a plumber. Cheap, easy and as I recall no consents needed.

She recorded  a balanced discussion.  I explained that I was not blaming Christchurch people. Instead I was speculating that the EQC scheme was destructive. The vast load of compensating for minor damage that almost everyone could bear as just one of life's reverses, seemed to be delaying help for those who'd suffered serious losses for which insurance was really needed. But worse, its availability and the deadening need for local authority consents was bogging thousands of otherwise resilient people in a passive mindset of waiting when they would have otherwise sorted themselves out quickly. I mentioned the Thais who were renowned for gettting back to business as usual largely themselves after their genuinely tragic losses to the tsunami a few years ago. 

She recorded  a balanced discussion. I'd be glad to hear from any  Christchurch person who hears it, how much of the interview is broadcast. I fear that it might be played selectively, to whip up resentment at daring not to ooze undiscriminating compassion for all, the needy and the undeserving alike.

[Thursday afternoon – to avoid doubt – I did not say "harden up Canterbury". I told Newstalk ZB that clearly. I told them that the issue was whether  the EQC terms should be revised, with the regulation that delays building work.accompanies  ]


  • ben
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 9:28 am

Stephen, you can get it yourself, if you know the day and time, the Newstalk ZB web site keeps archived recordings for Christchurch here:

  • nasska
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 9:29 am

Have you considered that one of the reasons people are not doing minor repairs is that they are scared of the consequences?  If they fill cracks or repaint they are just as likely to have some future unrelated claim refused by their slimy underhand insurance company because of non professional work done today.

  • Chuck Bird
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 9:31 am

" I'd be glad to hear from any  Christchurch person who hears it, how much of the interview is broadcast. I fear that it might be played selectively, to whip up resentment at daring not to ooze undiscriminating compassion for all, the needy and the undeserving alike."
Stephen, I am in Auckland and heard something like "Stephen Franks, ex ACT MP says, "Harden up Canterbury". 
Perhaps you could inform NewstalkZB that you are no longer a ACT member and that you stood for National in the last election.

  • phil
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 10:41 am

Well done Stephen Franks pat on the back you can remove your own chimney do you want a medal or a chest to pin it on.
All people with Insurance are entitled to make a claim when an insurable event happens we pay our insurance companies to cover these eventualities it is then assessed a a amount agreeded upon that is how it works.
In an earthquake what looks minor has turned out to be major as the crack was symptom of a bigger issue which would have caused personal injury.
These repairs are not planned and may be financially difficult for some people to complete, however most home owners have taken insurance to assist with this finacila burden and may like myself have been isured for over 20 years paid the premiums and never made a claim however it is there just in case precisly what has happend and takes the finacial strain off people
Our insurance is not a political issue as EQC is an issurance company seperate from any government coffers and they make a premium demand on ech houshold insurance poicy and assiciate risks. We down here as a result of the quake will be getting an increase in our premiums and as time goes on will actrually have paid back to the insurance compnay through premiums the amount of our claim
Quite frankly all this has nothing to do with you and why are you making comments you have not been through what has happened down here all I see this is you trying to boast your own image, you are obviously finacially able to pay for damages to your house and it is up to you to decide if you claim against your insurance policy or not. You will stir resentment

  • Raudaan
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 12:13 pm

I have been paying  insurance premiums for 35 years, and have never made a claim – until the Canterbury earthquake. For 35 years EQC have been receiving payments from me, and now is paying for the repairs to my earthquake damaged house. Stephen Franks, why on earth do you think you can tell Cantabrians to "harden up" and do the repairs themselves?! Next time your house is hit by a bus, or  your car is damaged in an accident, or heaven forbid have your home damaged in an earthquake/cyclone/flood/fire please, please tell your insurance company 'no, you can keep the money; I'll fix it myself'. Yeah, right!

  • Sandra Linton
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 1:32 pm

I think Cantabrians have hardened up – look at the number of aftershocks we have endured. My house is munted and yet I still smile and laugh and try to get on with life. Gosh, maybe I (an older person)  should be up trying to repair the roof and the walls falling down let alone the plumbing, ceiling falling down, cracks in the floor, walls and doors etc and so on.  Maybe I just don't have the knowledge, ability or courage to do this. But then there are time constraints as I am caring for my girl who is terminally ill. She is more important than the destruction around us. Your comment is distasteful and  uncalled for and a person in your position should know better.

  • catherine rutherford
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 10:43 pm

where were you in the days after sept 4th ? not in Chch thats for sure, who was sitting around then waiting for the insurance company to open ? not the guys working 12 hr round-the-clock-shifts to restore power, water and drains, or the supermarkets open within hours, the garages that stayed open, the students getting together to clear silt,  businesses taking in other businesses so they wouldn't have to close. thats the reality of what  happened, so please do not say we have to harden up.  we were told after the quake not to just paper over the cracks, so people are being responsible and making sure their houses are assessed by people who have been trained (so they tell us !)

  • Lindsay Addie
  • February 5th, 2011
  • 11:09 am

Stephen Franks,
Your advise is to 'harden up', well my advise to you is to wise up. For goodness sake, my house has 20,000 worth of damage, that includes a very large hole in the roof from a chinmey collapse, other damage is both inside which is mostly many cracks in the walls, one in my bedroom gets longer each time there is another big aftershock, there is other external damage like smashed windows (one needs a builder to do a lot of work). I have relatives whose houses are going to have to demolished and totally rebulit. The CBD has extensive damage where many small business owners have had to relocate or simply cannot run their business anymore through no fault of their own.
We have learnt to harden up, and don't need dopey, half – baked advice such as yours. I challenge you to show you face down here and knock on some doors of homes and visit businesses who are finding it tough and explain yourself to them and tell them why they should harden up.


Grow a brain Stephen.
The real issue is your mates with the 67% building code responsible for the mounting death toll.
Yeah let's play Russian Roulette. How about this? For every 100 drink drivers in danger of causing death on the roads we throw their names into a hat and 33% get off scott free.
So fix up your shoddy dangerous earthquake prone building but don't bother fixing it properly. Fix it up to only 67%. Hey we don't want it to cost too much do we? And don't put a sign on the outside of your shoddy deathtrap saying "This is STILL a Russian Roulettle building. Enter at your own RISK"

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