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Leaked EQC spreadsheet back online for public download

UPDATE / April 14: The anonymous EQC Truths blogger has posted two new links to the leaked Earth Quake Commission client spreadsheet. Both work.

One of the two links is for a Google Docs file - meaning Google's Auckland office might expect a call from EQC, or perhaps police investigating a police complaint laid by EQC, on Monday morning.

A High Court injunction (see below) prevents distribution of the spreadsheet's contents of Christchurch quake claims.

Yesterday the spreadsheet went offline. EQC Truths claimed it wasn't a case of cold feet after EQC pressure, but apparent technical difficulties.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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Leaked EQC spreadsheet made available for public download - then taken down as EQC bites back

UPDATE / April 13: After being available via an offshore site for around 24 hours, the leaked EQC spreadsheet is offline.

Yesterday, EQC called the spreadsheet posting a breach of the High Court injunction that prevents original recipient Bryan Staples and the anonymous blogger behind the "EQC Truths" website from distributing information it contains.

It also called the posting a breach of its clients' privacy.

In a new post on EQC Truths, the blogger implies it its not EQC pressure but a technical error that has taken the spreadsheet offline.

"I have heard that the link containing the information is down and I presume the leaker will realise this, repost it, and send me the new link," he writes.

 "In the meantime, someone else did provide this link," he adds. The link that follows fails to load any page, however.  Assuming another person posted the link, it would mean at least four are now involved in distributing information from the file (the apparent crew being Mr Staples, the EQC Truths blogger, the mystery overseas person who posted the spreadsheet on an overseas blog, and the new protagonist who has provided the latest spreadsheet link).

EQC: contractors might jack up quotes
NBR phoned EQC, but it had nothing to add beyond its statement, which says while it considers the posting a breach of the injunction, the file contains little information not already known to its clients.

EQC has been sending all the cost estimate information to customers who request it after the contract for repairs to their house has been awarded or who have been cash settled. For customers still awaiting repairs, EQC can provide all information of the sort in the spreadsheet except cost estimates, the statement says.

“The spreadsheet contains no information that has a direct impact on customers’ entitlements. Homes will be repaired to the proper standard, regardless of the information in the spreadsheet,” EQC CEO Ian Simpson says in the statement.

“Our concern was, and remains, that the information about our estimates of repair costs allows contractors tendering for repair work to quote at the estimate level, rather than providing their most competitive market price. If this were to happen on a widespread basis, it would increase the overall cost of the Canterbury repair to the taxpayer.”

Bryan Staples sees a different motivation for keeping the information private He says the agency does not want low-ball settlement offers made public.

Earlier, Mr Staples told NBR he had taken notes on the spreadsheet before deleting it. He checked 10 of his clients' claims. Six had been offered payouts of under $15,000 he said, but on the spreadsheet were assessed at $30,000+.


April 12: The anonymous "EQC Truths" blogger is promoting a link to an off-shore website, where anyone can download a copy of a leaked EQC spreadsheet containing details of 65,000 claims.

The link to the spreadsheet began to circulate on social media shortly after 7 o'clock last night. The spreadsheet is still available for download this morning.

EQC says the spreadsheet was sent in error to claims advocate Bryan Staples.

The man behind "EQC Truths" told NBR Online he had also been sent a copy of the spreadsheet.

He believed the leak was deliberate. The original leaker had now made the spreadsheet available to all-comers by placing it on an offshore site, and was overseas himself.

New threat
The blogger wrote last night, "Tonight’s post shows EQC that I punctually follow through on what I promise."

He also issued a threat.

"I have written correspondence showing that EQC disciplined an employee for trying to raise concerns with Gerry Brownlee," he wrote.

The correspondence was "damning," wrote the blogger, who says he is an ex EQC employee. He would release it in the next few days unless EQC enters what he calls a "constructive discussion" about "The resignation of senior people, the dismantling of the Fletchers managed repair programme, the nepotism, misallocation and waste of resources, and much more."

In an email response to an NBR question, the EQC Truths blogger said, "I do have the Gerry Brownlee e-mails and a slew of other things in my possession." He refused to talk by phone.

Police complaint
On March 27, EQC laid a complaint with police, saying Mr Staples had signed a statutory declaration pledging to delete the spreadsheet, but was no threatening to retrieve it and approach media if claims relating to his clients were not settled. Mr Staples said his comments to EQC were being quoted out of context.

On April 8, EQC won a High Court injunction preventing Mr Staples and the EQC Truths blogger from distributing any information from the spreadsheet.

The agency told NBR it did not know the name or address of the man behind EQC Truths, but had sent a copy of the injunction to the email address listed on his website.

The EQC Truths blogger told NBR he had not received the injunction. A full inbox meant some messages were bouncing (and EQC confirmed to NBR it had received bounce messages and did not know if the document had been received). Nevertheless, he would abide by the injunction and stop his practice of sending people information from the spreadsheet on specific claims by request (people had to first provide photo ID and other details, with Mr Staples recommended as a conduit).

However, his pledge to stop distributing information is now academic, given the whole spreadsheet is now so easily available online.

NBR has asked police for comment.

EQC had no immediate comment but said it would later this morning [UPDATE: Late this afternoon, EQC was still in the process of preparing a statement.]


RAW DATA: EQC response

EQC issued the following response at 4.55pm today:

EQC media statement: breach of High Court injunction

12 April 2013

EQC is unhappy about the deliberate release of its confidential information, but EQC chief executive Ian Simpson says however the bulk of the information contained is already known to the customers whose repairs are complete or underway.

The spreadsheet relates to 83,000 EQC customers in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme, as it stood in September 2012.

Mr Simpson says the High Court today confirmed that the orders still stood and the police were being kept abreast of the latest developments.

However, while the release of addresses and claim numbers was a concern due to the wilful breach of those customers’ privacy, most of the information released would have been the subject of conversation between the homeowner and the contract site supervisor when homes were being scoped for repairs.

“Information such as start dates for work, if they have been decided, or whether a house was one of the 144 houses awaiting testing for asbestos, will already be known by customers.

“The spreadsheet contains no information that has a direct impact on customers’ entitlements. Homes will be repaired to the proper standard, regardless of the information in the spreadsheet,” Mr Simpson said.

“Our concern was, and remains, that the information about our estimates of repair costs allows contractors tendering for repair work to quote at the estimate level, rather than providing their most competitive market price. If this were to happen on a widespread basis, it would increase the overall cost of the Canterbury repair to the taxpayer.”

EQC has been sending all the cost estimate information to customers who request it after the contract for repairs to their house has been awarded or who have been cash settled. For customers still awaiting repairs, EQC can provide all information of the sort in the spreadsheet except cost estimates.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions
45

With every passing day it is looking less and less likely that the original release of information to Staples was accidental.

EQC, closely followed by CERA, are proving time and again to be rotten to the core. Right from the first earthquake, insurers started ducking for cover and delude themselves into believing they are an ethical business. These leaks will be just the start as the average Kiwi doesn't tolerate anything other than a fair go, and EQC is known to be a failure.

A PM with spine would have Gerry's resignation letter on his desk by 5 pm today.

I totally agree. John Key is losing credibility by the day. GB needs to go, so does Ian Simpson and probably Rodger Sutton. Their efforts to lead the recovery in Christchurch have been a disgrace to date.

It doesn't have all claims but it has a full street address for each claim number for which it has data.

Why should I care? I think I represent the views of most New Zealanders! The media seems to have nothing else to report. This morning, my morning programme was hijacked by the guy who was the first to receive these information. The rightful thing to do is to destroy it, not braa-out to the whole world. This guy is just as guilty, if not more so, than the ignorant leaker. The media is making him a hero. The rest of the world is laughing at New Zealanders for being hypocrites and paranoid.

Completely agree. I live in Chch, am probably on the EQC leak data and couldn't give a tinker's cuss. EQC and CERA have been OK to deal with - not great, not bad, but I deal in a straight-forward manner and have got straight-forward answers (Southern Response is another matter!!).
But the media fixation on this matter, a phone call from John Key, 88 fools who were spied on illegally since 2003 (Labour matter as much as Nats) is so boring and amateur. None of this is news of any significance and has eroded my faith in the media considerably. Buffoons and amateurs.

I do care as my name might be in there after my house and 95% of our possessions were destroyed by the quake, but I'm not making a song and dance about it. Maybe it is easy for people who have not affected by it to say you don't care... Just a thought.

Well, EQC don't cover possessions anyway...

Actually, EQC cover contents up to $20,000. After that your insurer covers the rest.
It would be good to speak from knowledge rather than engaging mouth before the brain has started up.

God, it's not about the privacy. It's about the fraud. EQC have been paying people out at rates that are miles below what they themselves believe repair costs are, and they have been keeping it secret from claimants. I think the police should be investigating the EQC because this is a colossal abuse of power.

You get your earthquake damaged home inspected independently and are given a quote for $35,000.

You put in a claim to EQC for that $35,000.

They send their Fletchers inspectors to look at your home, who come back with a new figure of $15,000 to $30,000, depending on certain things that can't be known until repairs are under way.

EQC turn around and say they will give you $15,000 for the repairs, even though they believe themselves the repair costs could be $30,000.

So what happens when the repairs are complete, you move back into your home and a week later you get a bill for $25,000? Where does the other $10,000 come from?

It is embarrassing how us Kiwis mouth off and make major judgements about people and events when we have only heard one side of the story. There is a proverb that says "One man's case seems right until another comes against it". We should wait until the EQC explains their side, surely.

Another thing, the media report one side and every Kiwi is pretty sceptical about the media - but they still act on what the media reports. That is inconsistent. The day the media starts reporting the news and stops interpreting it for us, we will be able to make better judgements and not run off half cocked as the biased media does. But their bais always seems to be toward the negativity - never toward truth.

It's a matter of truth and what's right. I bet if you had been ripped off then you would care. About bloody time someone got some backbone and stood up for the TRUTH. Honesty how could anyone do a job like that and sleep at night knowing they are ripping people off! I'd love for the person who did leak it to contact me, they are the sort of person if associate with any day of the week!'

Do you even live in CHCH? If you were treated like so many have been by EQC and their useless Insurance companies, i don't think you would even be saying what you have said. Loose your house and get told its a repair in a red zone and your insurance pays you nothing then maybe you have the right to say something. Go visit the street where your house is and sit and cry as you see all the houses slowly being taken away or destroyed because the government decided you are red zone. I think so many people have no idea of really how some people have been affected by all this and yes so many have be shafted. We deserve to have our own information from EQC regarding our claims and it should not be an issue.

These leakers are the lowest of the low. Dirty scumbags, and morally bankrupt.

Where can I find this information?

See #5 above

I have been trying to find it too but have no idea what the offshore website is.

Good on the blogger!

New Zealand may return to being a Western-style democracy yet.

... rather than Beijing's rubbish dump

The days of telling porkies and corruption are over due to the new technology. When are the people in positions of power who have no tech knowledge going to wake up?
Hardly a day goes by around the world when we read in the news about another story of someone being caught out.
It's a new age people ... get used to it.

It is heartbreaking to speak almost daily with fellow Cantabs, those normal neighbour-next-door people who are being driven to despair by their interactions or lack thereof with the likes of EQC and insurance companies. The powerlessness that these people are feeling as a result of where they find themselves two years on from a natural disaster is just not on in a first world country. If this leak gives them some some sense of justice, some sense of control and power to the little man, then screw the ethics of it. Normally, I would not agree with this kind of whistle-blowing activity, but quite frankly, I am fed up with the lies, deception, crap systems, lack of information and general bollocks that Cantabs are having to put up with.. and I don't even have a personal beef with EQC. Go bloggers go! Spread that nasty spreadsheet far and wide.

Where do I go to view it - I want to check my property.

can some one email me so that I can fine out about my house THEDUGOUT@gmail.com

I, too, would very much appreciate knowing the link to this "leak" via colandbruce@xnet.co.nz

http://www.filedropper.com/eqcdata

Download the file. Open in a compatible XLS app.
Open the SCOR sheet. Go to Cell B2. Turn off filtering and "Select All".
Go to the last data containing cell (98432) bottom right cell. Right click and select "Show Details"
Another sheet opens containing all the available data. Sort the information by selecting the Data Menu, then Sort, and sort by Street Name, and then add another sort field and sort by Street Number.

We are on the list and have had a third claim written off by EQC with no payout. They estimate the damage from that event at 145,028!

Remember when there was a court ruling that each major earthquake event was to be treated as an insurable event in its own right (or something like that)? I think it's possible EQC may have found this almost impossible to deal with under the system they initially created, as well as unreasonable in some respects, and if so I think that it is probably responsible for gradually creating (more) chaos or difficulty for EQC and confusion for us. (EQC also seem to have misinterpreted damage, and made inadvertent errors in records probably due to pressure and poor training etc.) By the time we realised we were in for earthquakes for the foreseeable future, now over thank goodness, EQC had organised that we would make a new claim for our property for each Major new event, even though it was for the same insurance policy and property. After repeated major earthquakes, when people in EQC and private insurers had time to look at claims for a particular address, they might realise the effective cap for the private policy had been well exceeded! If so, I think the private insurance policy terms would have been met and that the policy might have legitimately been ended there, or at the end of the relevant premium period. But data from every event and approach taken by EQC (and insurers) under the court ruling would have to be left in the system, and methods found to cope with it (as well as possible future data to boot). Perhaps that's how/why apportionment started, and it might even be sheeted back to unreasonable results due to that court decision. Maybe, Barnaby, that 145,028 amount was scaled back to nil because the full value of your own private insurance company's policy on your property had already been met by previous events.
I'd like to see all this clarified.

Please can someone email me the site that has this information. I want to have a look at my own property. This is criminal - EQC short changing people!!! What a great Government we have - yer right! farrall@xtra.co.nz

Unbelievable! EQC ain't doing it for media attention. He is on a crusade to show us what they have not allowed us to see. Authorities wouldn't even acknowledge his correspondence. Many in CHCH no longer feel they are fighting a battle alone - have given us some justice!

Where can I find the off shore website? The ones I have tried have been shut down

If you find out can you post it please. I have been trying since the outset but have no idea how to find it

Remember John Key and Gerry Brownlee's promise: "No-one will be worse off in Christchurch because of the earthquake." It got them the vote in 2011, but what will happen next year?

The media and the public who are not affected by the earthquake really need to get over themselves!

It may be that some home owners don't really care about their hallway being cracked in a few places and instead of being fixed by the EQC costing $30k by some spreadsheet they prefer to take the $15k cash and pay toward their mortgage or buy their new car and they fix the house themselves as a handyman.

I think the blogger and all these loud voices screaming foul play need to get over themselves.

Absolute rubbish! Surely we are responsible for our own decisions instead of some whining Ozzie telling us we have been robbed.

Remember guys, EQC is owned by the NZ taxpayers!!

Corruption stems from commercial conflict of interest. Now look what we are all experiencing with what is going on in Christchurch.
The ridiculous excuses made by the EQC management buffoons is unbelievable.
I have endured over 2 years of this nonsense going on and I thank the person who released this information.

First rule of business for insurance companies is pay the least you can get away with. If the amount is large drag it out as long as you can. We seem to be under the misapprehension that a Govt owned insurance company with have better ethics.
ACC has been doing the same stuff for years especially when they had no money. Maybe EQC has no dough and they are trying to meet claims from premiums paid since the quake and don't want us to know where all the money accumulated over the years has gone.

Come on New Zealand, wake up. If you're not from Chch it doesn't affect you, but be warned when the next big one hits - ie, Wellington. You will all be in the same boat. This shouldn't be just Chch dealing with this. All of NZ should take a close look at their insurance policies.

The corruption stinks worse than the liquifaction!

This leak was deliberate and I believe all correspondence from mail to email was covered by the act - i.e., if you are not the intended recipient it is illegal to act on information received or pass on such information. All this low life has done is extend the time for settlements. This has nothing to do with the government. It was set up by individuals with a personal agenda. Name them and shame them.

You are right, I suspect the leak was deliberate. Deliberately released by senior staff in EQC so that they would have yet another justification for slowing down their repair and payment response still further.

Simpson, Stiven et al should hang their heads in shame for their pitiful performacne to date.

Please can someone email me the site that has this information. I want to have a look at my own property. natrom05@gmail.com

Please send me the link wsclewis@gmail.com

More than happy for the whole world to see my EQC file.
Who cares if someone knows the estimated cost of my repairs.
All repair quotes should be checked/audited by someone qualified.
EQC should have been more accurate in the collection of information at the outset.
Information, no matter how it comes to light, should be viewed objectively.
It would seem in this instance that EQC have treated some claimants unfairly and instead of bitching about privacy breaches, they should move forward in a positive and transparent manner.
What reason could EQC have for not paying people what they are entitled to? Who issued the directive to underpay those affected claimants?
It would seem fraudulent at best, to my mind.
Come on Mr Key, sort this shambles out as this Brownlee muppet is steering your EQC ship into dangerous waters.
You did say "that no one would be worse off", didn't you?
Sounds like a Tui ad to me!

Not being that internet savvy I am unable to find the website so I can help my folks out to see if their properpty is one of the ones listed. Could some kind soul PLEASE email the appropriate website? johanna@thetutorsgroup.com Thank you!!