Our regular Friday morning “all pollies” briefing featured both the National Controllers, John Hamilton and Steve Brazier, plus Katrina Bach (pron Baytch) the head of the Department of Building and Housing.
John spent half an hour answering a number of our questions. Cordon reductions, better access for people living and working in the red zone – if you’re a CBD dweller you’ll know about ERNI, the next text alert system. It updates residents and elected members on cordons and access and such – it’s a great system.
Katrina explained to us the role of DBH in the temporary accommodation project that will be ongoing. DBH have had a number of campervans, and do until the end of August. They are contingency accommodation, designed as a stepping stone for people who have come out of their own homes or the private rental market (ie not Housing NZ – they are looking after their own tenants). DBH has identified five sites where little temporary villages are going to be installed. I don’t know yet where they are but we were assured the eastern suburbs have been top of mind in this, so that communities can be kept intact.
DBH has adopted a respond-to-needs approach. Katrina’s explanation to us is that they are clear there will be a need for temporary housing. At this stage they have absolutely no idea how much. When they do, they will deliver it. End of story. She made the point too that the only thing she’s certain of is that they will never have the right amount – there will too much or too little. But we’ll cope – we’ll get through.
The folks on the hills haven’t been in touch with DBH yet. Katrina has asked us to pass on these contacts and get our networks (that means you, please) to help spread the word that if you know of anyone in need of temporary accommodation, they should check out http://www.quakeaccommodation.govt.nz or phone DBH on 0800 67 32 27. There are alternative points of entry through the Fletchers hubs, Red Cross, WINZ etc – the point is don’t struggle alone. There is accommodation if you need it, there will be subsidies if you need it, and if the sums aren’t right then DBH has an eye on that too. Interestingly, they monitor private rental and we were told that contrary to media reports there is not a rents spike – but they are watching it closely. If you know of someone price gouging I’m sure they’d love to hear from you too. (Katrina also made the point that the temporary housing will help keep the rental market “honest”.)
I came out of there feeling very reassured that people who need homes are going to have them. And it was such a beautiful day, and I had my bike, and there were so many unlovely chores to do at home, that after I did my weekly voicing of instore commercials (HI KEEGAN YOU WERE AWESOME!) I just kept on riding.
Out to Brighton. Back through Bexley. Then Dyers Road, Ferrymead, home. 38 ks today or thereabouts.
You have to be careful riding in Brighton and Bexley. There are moments where there isn’t a whole of tarmac under your wheels. I’ve gleefully abandoned the road rules when it suits. If there is a wide footpath and I think it’s safer, I ride slowly on it. (I can hear the handcuffs at the door!) A bit of common courtesy when you approach pedestrians, and a bit of applied common sense, and it’s not hard to get around.
I rode on grass on the edge of Dyers Road too. Probably in breach of a least a dozen bylaws, but trucks and cyclists aren’t always a pretty combination.
So now, a quick shower, then it’s pink and sparkly time at Pomeroys I think. Can’t keep a good woman down.