Red zoners get to have a say

After a very long time, red zoners have finally been given a chance to share some information about how it was for them. CERA, through research company Neilsen are currently trying to contact all who were red zoned and accepted the offer to invite them to take part in their survey.

Invitations went out via email on 14 October but so far we haven’t heard of too many people who have actually received it. CERA is using their database but email addresses like street addresses have changed over the last four and a half years so we need word of mouth to get the message out there.

CanCERN is pretty annoyed at the promotion approach CERA has chosen to get the survey out which is limited to the use of their database and the hope that a few community leaders still have some old red zone contacts. Considering the massive CERA communications budget and the glossy stories that get delivered into letterboxes monthly, they didn’t feel that spending some of that money to try to get the word out through other channels was worth it.

The survey period is very short and people only have until 15 November to respond to the survey so if you know of someone who would like to know about this, please pass the message on now. If you need a copy you can participate by ringing Neilsen on  0800 400 402.

Lawrence Roberts, ex Avonside red zoner has done a lot of thinking about how why this survey is so important and how some may feel about actually doing it. In his blog Survey of former residential red zone owners who accepted Crown offers, Lawrence writes,

'If you are cautious about taking part in case it resurrects stresses and demons best left buried, Neilsen offer the following advice in the first part of the survey:
We hope that you will find the survey experience positive, but we understand that many former property owners may find the issues it covers difficult and taking part may bring back mixed emotions. If you find this to be the case we encourage you to consider calling the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 or to contact a trusted friend. You are free to stop the survey at any time.
Should your caution be motivated by cynicism or mistrust you won’t be alone. Never the less give thought to at least looking at the survey. If you don’t have your say, your views won’t be in the mix.'

A few community leaders including Lawrence and CanCERN were invited to attend a workshop as Neilsen was putting the survey together. The advice from all leaders was definitely informed by the experiences of those of us who either worked with red zoners or were red zoned and in many cases, both. Some changes were made but true to the top down recovery we have had to date, some decisions of how the survey has been constructed and the questions asked or not asked have been led very much by the needs of both CERA or researchers. However, there is enough in it to make the survey worth considering and at the moment, it’s as good as it gets. Lawrence explains,

'The survey is structured in an unusual way that may, or may not, fully and accurately capture the issues and experiences of Red Zoners. There are two parts for some participants to fill in, and one for others. Each part has a wide range of questions.  It may be you will find the questions don’t address issues that were, or still are, important. This can be saved up for the final part of the survey where there is (at least in the draft I have seen courtesy of Neilsen and CERA) an open-ended question:
Finally, please add any comments or suggestions you would like to make, particularly any suggestions about what more could be done to help people in the future if their properties are in the worst affected areas following a natural disaster.
Take the opportunity to say what you have to say, there may never be another chance. Were there stresses that the survey overlooks  (e.g. being in the limbo of an Orange zoning, having to relocate while the Ministry of Education was restructuring schools)? Were there services that just weren’t up to it and so you didn’t use them  (e.g. a medical centre or other health service you thought incapable or unwilling to give the help needed?)  Anything else? Mention it now; include the things that worked, as knowing what worked is as important as knowing what failed.'

As per usual the internet has won the day and there is no hard copy option available so if you know of someone who needs access to a computer or support to complete the form, please give them a hand or send them to the In the Know Hub at Eastgate Mall. The wonderful community hosts there can help.

The following is CERA’s release intended for those who haven’t been contacted about the survey:

CERA is conducting a voluntary, confidential online survey of former residential red zone property owners who accepted Crown offers for purchase of their properties. The survey is intended to help the Government, local authorities and communities in responding to any similar situations that might come up in the future. CERA has contacted former property owners (or people who acted on their behalf) directly, but some people’s contact details have changed in the past couple of years. If you’re a former residential red zone property owner who accepted a Crown offer for purchase of your property and haven’t received your invitation to participate, please contact Nielsen, the independent research company carrying out the survey on CERA’s behalf: 0800 400 402.