The earthquake & war damage commission
Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering
I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak this morning about the Earthquake & War Damage Commission. The invitation to do so was originally extended to our Chairman, Ian McLean, but subsequent to his acceptance he has found it necessary to ask that I take his place. Throughout this paper there will be expressions of opinion. These reflect my own personal view and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Commission or indeed that of other Commissioners. As an introduction may I remind you
... on may I remind you of the occasion when a somewhat illiterate Irish peasant was appearing before a High Court judge in relation to a civil claim. His counsel was in full flight when the judge interrupted and asked "Mr Brown. Has your client never heard of the dictum........ "de minimus non curat lex"?" "Quite the contrary Your Honour", responded Mr Brown, "I am advised by my client that it is the principal topic of conversation in the small village where my client lives." I cannot say the same about the affairs of the Earthquake & War Damage Commission. The affairs of the Commission - now more frequently referred to as EQC - are certainly not generally the principal topic of conversation except on rare occasions. It is possibly the least understood of all government agencies. That may be, but EQC nevertheless has, since its beginnings, had a significant role in offering a measure of security to property owners who suffer loss as a result of natural disaster, and should there at some future date be a major seismic or volcanic event, EQC will be one of the principal sources of finance for reconstruction.