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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
for people considering a move to Christchurch - recent video of the 'red zone'


Fresh footage from the red zone
Video shows untouched shops still in CBD

13/03/2013
Press video journalist Daniel Tobin has filmed fresh footage from the central Christchurch red zone.

Today's stark footage shows clothing still on mannequins in Cashel St, a dusty coffee shop and an office untouched since February 22, 2011.

Empty lots have replaced sites that once hosted busy shops.

The footage covers Hereford St, Manchester St, Poplar St, Lichfield St, Colombo St, High St and Bedford Row.

The central city remains off-limits to residents.

The red zone, renamed the rebuild zone by politicians, is expected to be reopened by June, although many areas will remain fenced off.

Video
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The Christchurch Press has a separate section for news related to the earthquake and rebuild:

Christchurch Earthquake

Many people/property owners are still awaiting insurance settlements, 2+ years after the major quake, cannot even begin plans/finance for their new houses.
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this man says it straight!!

Rebuild delays stretch patience
13/03/2013


KEEP OUT: The central city red zone remains closed to the public more than two years after the February 2011 quake.


Victoria University School of Government associate professor and public management expert Bill Ryan said New Zealand does not have a great track record in deadline-setting.

"The ability to envisage what needs to be done, map it all out, think about how long it's going to take. . . the capacity to do [that] in New Zealand is not high. We're not terribly good at it."
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Christchurch trades news

It's a man's world among skilled migrant workers

18/03/2013


Samantha Forsyth, a decorator from Yorkshire, is one of the few migrant women working on the Christchurch rebuild.

WOMAN TRADIE USED TO BEING ODD ONE OUT

Samantha Forsyth is used to being a minority in the male-dominated decorating trade.


As a migrant woman working on the Christchurch rebuild, she is in the most extreme of minorities.

Immigration figures show just 51 women have migrated to the city for rebuild-related professions since July last year.

Forsyth, a decorator from Yorkshire, England, moved to Christchurch 10 months after she was lured by a recruitment advertisement.

She had been weighing up starting her own business, but instead opted to travel after more than 10 years in the trade.

"I saw this job and thought, ‘Why not?' It's making your mark in history and doing some good in this world, isn't it?"

Forsyth had encountered the "odd bad egg" in England, questioning her place on the work site. Most were shocked she could plaster and paint.

In Christchurch, there had been no problems.

"When I work on a building site back home, it's like the Queen's just walked past.

"They still get shocked now. Here, it's like nothing. I'm just one of them really."

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Fifteen times more foreign men than women have migrated to help rebuild earthquake-hit Christchurch.


Latest immigration figures show 846 visas have been issued to skilled workers since July last year, including carpenters (129), quantity surveyors (86) and painters (78). Of those, 6 per cent were female.

British and Irish women make up more than half (27), followed by Filipinos (8) and Americans (6).

Fifteen times more foreign men than women have migrated to help rebuild earthquake-hit Christchurch.


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Since Christmas, 127 new migrants have been granted skill-shortage visas. Irish numbers, once among the strongest, appeared to have waned with six arriving in the past two months.

Filipino workers make up more than half the newcomers this year.

Bell said the migration of Irish tradesmen to Christchurch was unlikely to slow.

"The building trade over there has absolutely collapsed and that's to our benefit because we can get the really good, skilled and experienced workers to come over here."

full article
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cautionary tale about use of recruitment agencies.

Rebuild jobs scam exposed

24/03/2013

A Christchurch businessman posing as a recruiter of Filipino workers has exposed the fees some pay to work in New Zealand.

The businessman, who asked not to be named, has provided a recording he made of a licensed immigration adviser, explaining how he could "clip the ticket" on the fee paid by Filipino workers coming to Christchurch.

Filipino workers are becoming a major part of the Christchurch rebuild and can pay up to $10,000, often borrowed at high interest rates, to pay for immigration processing, securing employment, and airfares. Many use the services of ANZSIIS Consulting Ltd, a licensed immigration agent based in Auckland and Manila.

The businessman, who recruits and employs some Filipino workers, recorded a conversation with ANZSIIS director Rosemarie Scholes as he believed Filipino workers were being ripped off. Scholes, originally from the Philippines, was in Christchurch this month.

In the recording, he asked Scholes how much he could get from the workers if they paid an upfront fee of $10,000.

"We want to be clipping the ticket," he said.

Scholes replied the company could expect about $3000 to $4000, "plus you are putting them in a place [accommodation] where they pay you", she said.

She outlined how another Christchurch company (not named for legal reasons) was taking a cut of $2000 from the fee.

Asked by the businessman how he could hide his cut, Scholes said the fee could be labelled as an "agency fee" and paid to a separate company. She would also charge the workers about $2000.

"Any money handed over is between us. No matter what happens [you] will not get caught," she said, adding the system was lucrative enough for him to retire.

"We're helping these people at the same time as they are paying us. It's a win-win situation," Scholes said.

She named other Christchurch clients she dealt with, saying she was contracted to supply about 200 Filipino workers this year. She could also arrange loans for workers who could not afford the fees, with interest amounting to about $2000 on a loan of $10,000 over six months.

Scholes, in a statement, said she believed the businessman was a recruitment agent and therefore entitled to a fee.

"We were talking about a hypothetical situation and the recruitment fee was included in that as I believed they were looking for superior workers such as engineers.

"I referred to them not being caught as there was nothing illegal about them charging a recruitment fee. It is up to them how they report it in terms of their overall income. I reiterate there would be no benefit to me in the increased fee and this is an unfortunate situation where I feel I have been misled and misrepresented over an issue that might relate more to concerns about direct employers than immigration consultants."

The fees her company charged migrants are as follows:

  • ANZSIIS fee $2019
  • Philippines Overseas Employment Agency $1800
  • Air ticket $1300
  • Medical certification $300-$400
  • Other documentation $200
  • Marketing Agent NZ Dream $1300

In other documentation she listed the fee charged by the New Zealand embassy for visa processing as $400 when the actual fee, according to Immigration NZ, is $270.

The Philippines embassy in Wellington said the fee charged by the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (not agency) was about $40, not the $1800 stated by ANZSIIS. Scholes said her POEA figure referred to the fee charged by private agencies and the documentation she provided was a draft agreement but she charged the correct fee on actual agreements.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Christchurch housing situation: April 2013

Grim news with winter approaching

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More than 7000 could be homeless in Christchurch

Friday Apr 5, 2013

The manager of Christchurch's Tenants Protection Association says she's not surprised by new figures that show there could be more than 7000 people classified as homeless in the city.

A new report by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates there could be between 5510 and 7405 people classified as homeless in Christchurch, more than double the figure before the sequence of serious earthquakes that began in late 2010.

The association's Helen Gatonyi said more people were living in "rabbity old holes" that are cold, damp, mould-ridden and unsafe.

"When you're talking about homeless it's not just a rough sleeper, it's not just the people you see on the street - it's all of those people who are living in insecure tenancies, that are living in overcrowded situations, couch-surfing, in cars - they are deemed to be homeless.

"Many of these people don't have many choices."

The report is the first time the accommodation shortage has been quantified.

It says about 17,000 homes were red-zoned or deemed uninhabitable as a result of the quakes.

It documents a steep rise in rental prices and a jump in Housing New Zealand waiting lists, a lack of low-cost housing for low-income earners, and a steep rise in house prices.

Average rental prices have risen 31 per cent and the number of so-called affordable rental properties (under $300 a week) has fallen 60 per cent since the quakes.

more

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A copy of the Housing Pressures in Christchurch report is available at www.dbh.govt.nz/nz-housing-research.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
more on above - rental increases in Christchurch

source

The MBIE report found rent prices have risen more sharply than house prices and at a faster rate than in other New Zealand regions, including Auckland.

In February this year, the average weekly rent was $384, which is a 31 per cent increase on the pre-quake month of August 2010, when the average was $293.

Suburbs such as St Albans, Papanui and Merivale have seen rent increases of 39 per cent.

Rent prices in Bishopdale and Burnside have risen 32 per cent.

Rental inflation in northeast and eastern suburbs was below the Christchurch average but both areas still had "significant increases" of 22 per cent, the report found.
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For comparison with other cities/regions in New Zealand, refer to: Market Rent 1 October 2012 - 31 March 2013

Market rent is described (in the Residential Tenancies Act) as what a willing landlord might reasonably expect to receive, and a willing tenant might reasonably expect to pay for the tenancy, in comparison with rent levels for similar properties in similar areas.

Market rent is a useful guide when you are deciding what the rent will be. It needs to be comparable to the rent charged for other properties of a similar type, size and location.
 
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