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Labour will get things moving in Canterbury

Labour will get things moving in Canterbury

A Labour government will set up a special Earthquake Court to speed up the claims process for Cantabrians still waiting for resolution after almost four years, and immediately begin working on protecting flood-risk homes.

Announcing the first tranche of the party’s Canterbury policy in Christchurch today, Labour Leader David Cunliffe said while Cantabrians had had their lives turned upside down, they were determined to move on.

“Unfortunately the slow and messy nature of the recovery has made that difficult.

“Forty months after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake there are still more than 10,000 insurance claims that have not been settled.

“An Earthquake Court – a special division of the Canterbury District Court - will deal with insurance claims of up to $1 million.

“Building on the experience of the current ‘Earthquake List’ it will streamline the process and cut through a back-log of cases clogging up the court system.

“To reduce the burden on families all costs, including lawyers’ costs and expert witness fees, will be paid for by the Crown. The Crown will recoup those costs from the insurance companies and EQC as a levy in proportion to the size of the awards granted by the Court.

“For people affected by flooding after the quakes, in government Labour will immediately start urgent work on quake-affected, flood-vulnerable homes.

“We believe the government, through EQC, must pay its share to help those families and communities who, because of the earthquakes, are now having to deal with land that has sunk and the subsequent flooding of their properties.

“We will amend the law as needed to make it clear that EQC must pay for earthquake damage in the form of land subsidence or other geological changes, and employ army engineers to help with the protection work.

“Our first priority is families. Labour will do whatever it takes to get this recovery moving - the people of Canterbury deserve nothing less,” David Cunliffe said.


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