We are living in extraordinary times and while everyone is rightly focused at present on getting through the COVID-19 pandemic, I still felt it important to provide this final update to those with an interest in the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission.
In the last few days I have handed over my findings and recommendations, in the form of the Report of the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission, to New Zealand’s Governor-General. I also presented a companion document to the Inquiry report that summarises what people told the Inquiry. These two documents have subsequently been passed from the Governor-General to the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, as is the required process.
My work in producing the Inquiry report and companion summary was largely complete when New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic began to escalate, and as such I was determined to see it through and meet the requirement for the Inquiry to report by the end of March.
It will now be for the appropriate Minister to present the Inquiry report to the House of Representatives when able; consider my findings and recommendations; and determine what actions to take to improve the work of EQC and the future outcomes for claimants. I acknowledge that the Government is presently facing enormous responsibilities and demands in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic response and this may impact upon its ability to respond to my recommendations.
The public release of the Report of the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission, and its companion summary, is also a matter for the Government. However, once these documents are publicly released I will advise you and I expect the documents will be available on the Inquiry website – eqcinquiry.govt.nz (external link)- for people to view.
I want to once again thank all of those who have participated in or supported this Inquiry. Your input has been crucial to this process.
Finally, I want to pass on my best wishes to everyone as we together face this challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Do everything you can to keep yourselves and those close to you safe, and we will find our way through this.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.
Dame Silvia Cartwright
Chair of the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission