5 Apr 2018

Christchurch re-repairs cost EQC $270m in total

From Checkpoint, 5:07 pm on 5 April 2018

EQC has spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars on re-repairing Christchurch quake-damaged homes and on cash settlements for remedial work, $200m more than what it estimated the overall cost would be. 

Yesterday, Checkpoint reported the cost of EQC-managed re-repairs of quake damaged homes had risen from a predicted $60-$70-million to $160m. 

Today the commission revealed that figure actually stands at $170m, while cash settlements have reached $100m for 8000 homes. This brings the total bill to $270m.

Anthony Harper lawyer Peter Woods, whose firm has represented about 200 claimants against the EQC and insurers, said he was not surprised by the cost of re-repairs completed on quake-affected homes.

"And there is a lot more that's got to be done. I think what we're seeing is that the claims coming in for remedials now are harder, more expensive and harder for EQC to figure out. 

"The money they've spent so far has probably been spent on the easier stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if that figure doubles."

He said a lot of the missed work had been structural due to repair guidelines not factoring in "rubble foundations" - those made with a mix of concrete, boulders and other material, common practice in homes built before 1970.

Megan Woods at the habour reopening in Kaikoura. 14 November 2017.

Minister Responsible for EQC Megan Woods Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Megan Woods said she was concerned about how big the re-repair figure could get.

"The difficult part is we don't know what we don't know. We don't know how many re-repairs are yet to be identified."

She said the previous National government had been "cutting and running on Christchurch" and her government had to clean up the mess.

"At the very time this was happening, that these estimates were coming in that have proved to be wrong, the previous government was scaling down the operations of EQC in Christchurch. They were laying off staff and saying the job was nearly done."

Dr Woods said she had appointed an independent ministerial adviser and an interim chair to the EQC to ensure the re-repairs were managed correctly. 

The Disaster Relief Fund was likely to dip below $200 million by December, she said.

She was now seeking updated projections from Treasury.