Scathing EQC inquiry finds commission ill-equipped for Chch quake response

The scathing report was released on Thursday.
The scathing report was released on Thursday. Photo credit: Getty

A scathing inquiry into the Earthquake Commission (EQC) has found a culture of bullying and favouritism. 

The inquiry was published on Thursday - more than a year after a request from then-responsible minister Megan Woods. 

In the report, it was highlighted EQC was ill-equipped for the extensive response needed following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Inquiry chair Dame Silvia Cartwright says this caused unacceptable delays to people's recovery.

The feedback makes for grim reading - many saying they felt dismissed, belittled, and concerned about lost paperwork.

In turn - some EQC staff said they felt undermined by managers and painted a bleak picture of chaotic work environments.

"Many of the recommendations will require legislative change and will be included in a full review of the EQC Act, set to be undertaken next year," said current EQC Minister Grant Robertson.

Among a swathe of recommendations, the inquiry says increasing or removing the current cap on payments should be considered. 

The damning report and its vast recommendations will now be tabled in Parliament. Woods, now the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister, said the report reflects challenges and frustrations people felt.

She said the Government has taken steps in Canterbury including the setting up of dispute resolution channels.

"The people of Canterbury were very open with the inquiry and their stories have been heard.

"We’ll be looking closely at people’s experiences with EQC, issues around repair work of homes and quality assurance of work carried out."

EQC chair Sir Michael Cullen said the report lays out the challenges faced by the commission.

"It makes some serious criticisms of the way in which that response was carried out which too often added to the trauma felt by the residents of Greater Christchurch.

"In November last year I made an unqualified apology for those failings and I repeat that apology today. We did not do as well as we should. 

"This has left a legacy of mistrust and hurt that we must continue to address and remedy."