The man in the photo above is Wayne Hurrell. This week he 'wrote' an opinion piece for The Press extolling the virtues of the insurance industry. But The Press neglected to mention that Hurrell works for the insurance industry.
The Press newspaper is certainly taking its government cheerleading job seriously.
Never a day seems to go by when the newspaper hasn't found another way to show Gerry Brownlee, Roger Sutton, CERA, the Earthquake Commission and all their cronies in a 'positive' light. It has well and truly taken on board the advice of Canterbury Employers' Chambers of Commerce CEO, Pete Townsend, to 'drown naysayers in positivity'.
In recent days The Press has featured 'feel good' stories about Gerry Brownlee and Roger Sutton, designed to portray them as 'good blokes' - so we should just stop hating them, OK?
But The Press has really outdid itself this week with an opinion piece it has published by Wayne Hurrell.
According to the newspaper: 'Wayne Hurrell is married man with young daughters whose house is on TC3 land. The family had a joint review between their insurance company and the EQC in May 2012. Their house will be repaired, with ownership of the earthquake claim yet to be determined between EQC and the insurer.'
The Press says that Hurrell , 'is urging Cantabrians who have to rebuild or repair to embrace the process and be proactive. He says that families will reap the rewards.'
The article reads suspiciously like a PR piece and there must be legitimate doubts about whether Hurrell actually wrote this column.
According to Hurrell:
'This article is to promote the positive options available to you to progress the rebuild or repair of your house. The insurance companies offer various options, with some offering more options than others. However, they all have one thing in common, they repair or replace what you had before the earthquakes. This is what insurance is all about and why we have paid for it over the years. '
Well there are thousands of Christchurch people who have not had - and are still not having - a good experience with arrogant and intransigent insurance companies. It has been a nightmare that has lasted over two years - there have been no 'positive options' to pursue.
But according to our man Wayne all people need to do is 'have your insurance company build you a brand new house.'
Yes, these are the same insurance companies that are still haggling over the cost of repairs - over two years after the big quake. These are the same insurance companies that have tried to claim that damage to some homes was not the result of the earthquakes.
But writes Hurrell: 'Insurance is designed to give you back what you had. For the vast majority of us, what we will get back will be better than what we had before. Grab the bull by the horns and get on with it. '
No one could be this stupid intentionally so there must be another reason why Hurrell is so positive and gung ho about the insurance industry.
The answer is that he is employed by the insurance industry.
What The Press chose not to mention is that Hurrell is a project manager with Southern Response, the government owned organisation that deals with the quake-related insurance claims of AMI policyholders in Christchurch and Canterbury.
So the newspaper has been exposed colluding with the insurance industry to present a false picture of what is happening in Christchurch.
Some of the responses of readers on The Press website include:
'Is this the same Wayne Hurrell who works for Southern Response , who put me and my family through hell? We were in the red zone and he was my pod contact, held up my OIA request to the maximum 20 working days, and dealt with my claim, which resulted in an offer eight weeks before the government red zone offer expired.'
And another reader comments:
'He is currently my project manager with Southern Response, we are only in the early stages but even our lawyer already knows of him!
This 'opinion' piece is just cynical propaganda on behalf of the deservedly reviled insurance companies and The Press deserves to be hauled over the coals for publishing this rubbish. It has attempted to deceive its readers and that is simply unacceptable.