Hunger-striker hopes for meal of oys­ters

Taranaki Daily News - - News - JOEL IN­E­SON

Peter Glas­son says he is will­ing to die out­side the of­fices of South­ern Re­sponse if that is what it takes to be heard.

The Christchurch man is among hun­dreds of home­own­ers with earth­quake-re­lated claims that are still un­re­solved with the in­surer, seven years on from the Can­ter­bury earthquakes.

Since launch­ing le­gal pro­ceed­ings against South­ern Re­sponse two years ago, Glas­son has been spied on by the agency, sign-writ­ten an anti-in­sur­ance car in protest and has count­less doc­u­ments de­tail­ing his bat­tle. Now he is starv­ing him­self.

‘‘I haven’t had break­fast and I haven’t had lunch so I’m [hav­ing headaches]. Ap­par­ently af­ter about three days this feel­ing goes away.

‘‘I’ve read a bit about it on the in­ter­net and ap­par­ently it’s not a painful way to die . . . my lawyer has said he’s go­ing to take over this busi­ness when I start de­te­ri­o­rat­ing.’’

Glas­son has not eaten since mid­night on Mon­day, but is tak­ing elec­trolyte sa­chets and mul­ti­vi­ta­mins pre­scribed by his doc­tor, along with mugs of wa­ter. His wife, Anne, has joined his hunger strike in a self-con­tained cam­per out­side South­ern Re­sponse’s premises in Show Place, Ad­ding­ton.

He wanted to camp on site, but changed his plan to re­turn home in the evenings when he found out he would not be com­ply­ing with the coun­cil’s free­dom camp­ing by­law. The ve­hi­cle could re­main for a week if he was not liv­ing in it, he said.

The Glas­sons plan to con­tinue un­til their claim is re­solved, but will be happy to start by meet­ing with South­ern Re­sponse chief ex­ec­u­tive An­thony Honey­bone. Peter Glas­son is not con­vinced a meet­ing will hap­pen.

‘‘I don’t now be­cause he’s prob­a­bly been at work since 9 o’clock. It’s mid­day so I’m prob­a­bly go­ing to be here for a while, a long time,’’ he said.

Anne Glas­son said if Honey­bone did meet with the cou­ple it ‘‘needs to be a dis­cus­sion with mean­ing that will ac­tu­ally fi­nalise this, not just plat­i­tudes’’. The cou­ple wanted res­o­lu­tion not just for them­selves, but the many oth­ers in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

Peter Glas­son said a court hear­ing to have the claim re­solved, which was ini­tially filed in May 2016, would be at least a year away. The trial was sup­posed to go ahead in Novem­ber last year.

He said South­ern Re­sponse had vis­ited his prop­erty 16 times and wanted to ar­range a 17th sim­ply as ‘‘out­ra­geous de­lay­ing tac­tics and cun­ning ma­nip­u­la­tion of the process’’.

‘‘Things like chang­ing ex­perts in or­der to get the an­swers they want and ma­nip­u­lat­ing the court process to slow things down . . . are just two of the tac­tics they are us­ing.

‘‘South­ern Re­sponse is ru­in­ing our lives [and] af­fect­ing our health but we will not let them fin­ish us off.’’

Honey­bone said the de­lay was due to both new ev­i­dence be­ing pre­sented by the Glas­sons ‘‘the day be­fore’’ the trial and a re­quire­ment to fit within a timetable set by the court.

‘‘Given the vol­ume of this new ma­te­rial, and the in­tro­duc­tion of new wit­nesses, South­ern Re­sponse needs the op­por­tu­nity to prop­erly con­sider and re­spond to this ev­i­dence.

‘‘We are cur­rently wait­ing for Mr Glas­son to al­low South­ern Re­sponse’s ex­perts ac­cess to the house to con­sider the new ev­i­dence he has pre­sented.’’

He said South­ern Re­sponse ‘‘re­mains sym­pa­thetic’’ to the Glas­sons’ sit­u­a­tion and had of­fered to meet with them once they had what they needed from the ad­di­tional prop­erty visit.

‘‘We un­der­stand how frus­trat­ing ad­di­tional vis­its must be but new ev­i­dence was in­tro­duced and we need to make sure we un­der­stand how it af­fects set­tling the claim.

‘‘We would also be open to an­other me­di­a­tion with the Glas­sons rather than wait­ing for a court date later this year.’’

If they can come to a res­o­lu­tion, the Glas­sons’ first meal will be fresh Bluff oys­ters.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Peter Glas­son stands out­side the South­ern Re­sponse of­fice yes­ter­day in Christchurch. Glas­son started his hunger strike to protest over his un­re­solved earth­quake in­sur­ance claim. His home was badly dam­aged in the 2011 Christchurch quake, but he is still fight­ing with his gov­ern­ment-owned in­surer South­ern Re­sponse to have his pol­icy hon­oured.

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