INDEPENDENT NEWS

‘Bizarre’ delay in Christchurch heating programme

Published: Mon 25 Jul 2011 11:09 AM
‘Bizarre’ delay in Christchurch heating programme
The Government’s decision to delay Phase Two of Christchurch’s heating programme for two months is bizarre and unbelievable, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove.
“It’s snowing heavily down here. It’s freezing cold. Yet I have been advised by a large heat pump installer that the Government has put the winter heating programme on hold until virtually the end of August and given no reason. The decision leaves me completely baffled,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“The installer has shown me a letter he wrote to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee toward the end of June. He has received no response to the letter. He has since sent him a copy of the same letter. He got no response to that either. I emailed Mr Brownlee on Friday. I haven’t received a response either.”
Clayton Cosgrove said the installer’s letter was in response to an official communication thanking him and other suppliers for their “tremendous effort” achieving the installation of all emergency heat pumps by the end of June.
“But the same letter also told the installer that Phase Two of the winter heating programme was being delayed for two months. Two months in the middle of winter! I just can’t understand it.
“The installer has pointed out to Mr Brownlee that the industry was geared up for the programme, with many companies taking on more staff. But some, he said, will now struggle to survive, and will have to put off staff.
“I agree with the installer that surely there must be a way that Phase Two can proceed with greater urgency --- particularly as no reason has been given for the delay in the first place,” Clayton Cosgrove said.
“As the installer says to Mr Brownlee, ‘many older people and families (are) still living in near third world conditions with only one heat pump in a freezing climate. Many people have had their 20Kw long burner or fire replaced with a 5-9 Kw heat pump and they need more than the one heat pump to keep warm for the colder months ahead’.
“As the snow falls, and the region battles freezing temperatures, Mr Brownlee must revisit this extraordinary decision and explain what he was thinking of in the first place.”

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