Blogger releases suppressed EQC material
By 3 News online staff / NZN
Information about thousands of Christchurch earthquake claims has been made available online, despite a High Court order earlier in the week.
A blogger has posted a link to the material which was inadvertently sent out by the Earthquake Commission last month.
The blogger says the source of the leak has removed everyone's address for privacy reasons, along with other identifying personal information, but that all other information is intact.
The information, which gives details of 83,000 Canterbury earthquake claims, was mistakenly emailed to a Christchurch business, Earthquake Services.
The link was made despite a High Court injunction against releasing the spreadsheet, but the blogger says he wasn't in breach of the order.
"Whilst I was prepared to defy the High Court, it proved unnecessary. The original source of the leak is overseas and happily leaked everything."
Leanne Curtis, spokesperson for the Canterbury Communities Earthquake Recovery Network says claimants are "really happy" the information has been released.
"They're very appreciative that the information's gone up," she said on Firstline this morning.
"These are people who have been asking for details of their own claims and have really struggled to get this information, so the fact that any information's gone out that they perceive may be helpful – or that they actually own – they see as a very good thing."
- VIDEO: Leanne Curtis on Firstline
Ms Curtis says the document might not be of much use to individual claimants, but it's the first piece of evidence they've had to use against EQC.
"It certainly does raise some questions – questions that have been raised for years now about how things work, and the costing of things and you know, the use of contractors and all of that stuff. It's just that those questions have been asked without any real proof, because they couldn't get their information.
"So I think now that the document is possibly going to be more useful to ask some global questions, rather than directly helpful to the individual."
She says people won't care for EQC's argument that the document contains commercially sensitive information.
"I can see where they're coming from – the insurers have the same sort of stance in terms of releasing costings that they have as well, and I think it certainly will pose some questions in that area. However, Cantabrians have fought against this excuse of 'commercial sensitivity' to be able to get what is their own information, so the people themselves won't be concerned about that at all."
The person who leaked the document had promised not to release the document if EQC agreed to have a televised public debate on the issue.
"I don't think it was ever realistic that [EQC chief executive] Ian Simpson would come on and debate this, but the sentiment of this 'let's put this out in public and understand things properly' would absolutely be repeated by many, many people."
EQC spokesman Richard Braddell told Fairfax Media the commission is considering its legal options and the matter has been referred to police and the High Court.
NZN / 3 News