The first of Labour’s Canterbury policy announcements was aimed at allowing people to move on with their lives. After almost four years far too many are stuck in limbo fighting EQC or insurance companies, or dealing with repeated flooding.
Labour will set up a special Earthquake Court to cut through the huge backlog of insurance cases. All costs, including lawyers’ costs and expert witnesses’ fees, will be paid for by the Crown to reduce the burden on families trying to get their claim settled. 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.
And Labour will ensure the government will pay its share to help protect homes that are suffering flooding due to the Canterbury earthquakes. If needed, we will amend the law to make it clear that EQC must pay for earthquake damage in the form of land subsidence or other geological changes, and we will make that law cover the Canterbury earthquakes.
“To have a system available where people can take on the insurance sector and address this imbalance of power in some way to the little guy’s advantage, then I say bring it on.”
The policy was bold and well thought out after extensive discussion with legal experts and those who have struggled with EQC and Insurance issues.
The legal experts and community representatives in the room who I chatted with after the announcement described it as a “game changer” both politically and to get insurance and flooding issues sorted.
Labour has more excellent Canterbury policy to come on housing, transport, urban design, heritage, CERA and more. All aimed at kickstarting a slow and messy recovery and giving people hope. The people of Canterbury will have a distinctive alternative to vote for on September 20th.