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Why politicians do not risk “telling like it is”

  • February 3rd, 2011

 Newstalk ZB has an unscrupulously selective and misleading account of my blog comments and discussion with their journalist. Perhaps that's why they've not linked to this blog, despite having got the story from it.

I'm not surprised. It leaves them more free to make up the story.  But it is a good illustration of why our elected politicians must be so mealy-mouthed.


My job does not depend on whether media will  quote selectively to create claims and controversy where there was none, and to ignore the real points.  No MP would dare go into the territory I went into for that reason.


Here is a reaction typical of what our leaders now have to fear. The reaction is not unreasonable, given the misleading broadcast she would have heard.


"There was not much of your interview played on Newstalk ZB. 


Not surprising.


"Your comments were highly offensive.  But not only this, they were ignorant and ill-informed.

Sufficient to say that many, many people are living in (literally) frightening houses and face a void of information, support and help". 

Are you up for a house swap?"


 And my response:


I have no doubt that many people are living in frightening houses. I'm sure that more of the EQC effort should be for such people. But I strongly suspect that my informants are right, that one of the best ways to deliver that would be to cut out having to deal with the relatively trivial losses. That is the normal principle that makes insurance affordable. The higher the deductible the lower the premium, in a win/win trade-off, because the administrative cost of dealing with small claims can be the same as for dealing with big ones.

I can't be a persuasive judge on whether I'm ignorant and ill-informed since I was reporting comments I heard from a range of Christchurch people. As they were commenting on their own direct experience they seemed to me to be valid. Of course they might not be representative, but the thing that interested me most was the journalist comment that no one was willing to explore such issues publicly.


 There is a problem for our democracy when everyone in authority is too scared of being accused of lack of compassion. There is no robust and useful debate if one side can be silenced with "how about a house swap" (and other variants of the claim- "you can't speak unless you have shared our suffering").


That kind of reasoning results in one handed clapping on a whole range of issues for New Zealand. We have an entire Parliament of people bidding for votes with money they will then borrow from countries poorer than us. Almost no one dares argue for sensible things – like cutting the cost of ACC by allowing people lower premiums in return for carrying minor claims or the first week of wages themselves, or higher national super in return for a later start date, or better benefits in return for more rigorous work search conditions etc etc. 


Update:  Friday, 4 February:  CTV in Canterbury have done a pretty balanced item on this:


  • Phil
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 3:55 pm

Well  your informanats tell you from Christchurch is a load of bull you represent nobody in Christchurch your legal prctice is obviously dodgy as you leap up on you pedastill with out facts heaven help your clients.
This has nothing to do with you in your fat cat office in Wellington it is between Christchurch people and our insurers. This has nothing to dowithACC or anything else this is a private insurance process that we as individuals have decided to take out and pay for and consequently use
This is not a debate nor up for debate but if you want a debate come down here and see me personally and other Christchurch people face to face

  • David White
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 5:10 pm

Double-hand clap to Stephen for not being afraid to tell it like it is. Keep it up.

Phil, you have completely missed the point of this blog post. Besides, did you negotiate the conditions of your insurance with the EQC? I thought not.
I question the need for the EQC. Is it doing the job for which it was established?

  • Phil
  • February 3rd, 2011
  • 7:11 pm

double hand slap to you both this is not how it is did we get the opportunity not have to pay EQC it is fixed ninto our premiums
You are as a big as idioot as Franks I hope you don't have to suffer what we went through but if yoyu do you will be glad of the insurance process that is in place that we pay for as a part of our volentary Insurance Policy


A fiction of wealth is built off these variations for argument and in such general terms subscribers are as vulnerable to the size and (such) frequency of the earthquake as a fallible body is to cancer. Not in danger of being affected I would hope that the insuring schemes are built as best able to measure premiums and thresholds albeit with room to improve but you cannot avoid that a clap is so bound whether it is against another hand or not. The people say the hand of God not the hands of God as we also say a clap of thunder.
I do not see that the system can possibly secure against something as unpredictable as the hand of God and the politicians who are constrained for expression against the fear of mob exception less public compassion and wanting flesh is if there is a demonstrable lack of social commitment invested into the security of the general public. To be similarly callous your observations on how the system could work are equally passionless and on such a basis I would agree then to swap my homelessness for your position if you were then in proper effect to challenge the principle of my observation.



Soften up Christchurch
I live in Christchurch and had moderate damage to my house in the earthquake, and I am interested in  the process of claims since.
I have no moral attitude whatsoever, in fact I say if the underwriters will wear it well then lets go.  
I can back up the following examples , try me :
 relative of mine was assessed by AQC adjustors and  Gerry Brownlie appeared at their house as a show case for tv3.
They were  told not to worry about anything and were given compensation for existing internal faults .
The man asked if he could quote for his own repair work and was given the go ahead, claiming $5000 [ reported in Press ]  for what was upgrade work..
Two of seven my friends who I visit regularly claimed for TV and Electronic equipment [ with wide standing bases ] falling over and breaking.  These claims are paid out on the basis of claim without any evidence.
One friend decided that she wanted a new back door, [ wear and tear ] so she rang EQC with me in the room , and received go ahead for new door. I had painted her door to try to upgrade it less than one month previously. She also received compensation for window blinds. Window blinds? How can window blinds get damaged by earthquake. Who cares.
Most everybody is claiming for cracks in painting, and anybody with any nouse is finding ways to maximise claims.
The word is out, my brother is sick of his house, it is beside the Avon, worth two million dollars, he does have damage but  he says that either the EQC or Medical assurance can build him a new house.  Suck that. There is more much more,this is a first response.
My question is how long before the underwriters say no, and send out their own assessors ,

  • piopio
  • February 7th, 2011
  • 7:06 am

Any chance of rewriting your comment in English so the rest of us have some idea of what you are talking about?

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