I came home from work yesterday utterly exhausted and still without the answers to the questions I am being asked. I have visited so many people, whose lives are now in such a state of limbo – and I have done a lot of hugging of people who just don’t know what the future holds. I went back to Pacific Park, Bexley, yesterday morning - only 5-6 streets from where I live – just to see how everyone was. Orion got their power on after I called them the night before, so at least the ones who were still there had some warmth and light, and the water was on as well.
The problem for these people and many others where there are pockets of major damage is that they don’t know what’s going on. And I have found it difficult to get information. As local MPs we have not been given direct access to someone who can find answers to our constituent’s questions. This is a flaw in our civil defence processes that I would like to see addressed – I am not saying that MPs should get special treatment – I just think people who represent others need to be able to get answers. I have been trying to get priority EQC assessments for Pacific Park, Brooklands and the ones off Kingsford Street – so that they can make decisions. The news release from civil defence this morning suggests this may be happening, but I don’t know if I can rely on it.
Civil Defence have over-ridden a press release put out by the Minister of Education at 3.30pm yesterday. This actually isn’t good enough. The public is reliant on news reports and when they hear mixed messages they don’t know what the answer is. It’s an important issue – the Ministry says schools are out until Monday – Civil Defence says they are out today and beyond that, it is case by case for each Board of Trustees. Parents do not need this level of uncertainty and I know people are very busy, but the problem has been created in Wellington. I have contacted both Minister’s offices and Civil Defence says theirs is the correct position and the Minister of Education’s office hasn’t rung me back – even though I called an hour ago. So my message to Wellington is “get your act together” and let us know what’s going on!