3 Nov 2011

Labour defends earthquake policy

8:57 am on 3 November 2011

The Labour Party is denying its policy to help people affected by the Canterbury earthquakes is not paid for.

Labour says it would raise the cap on payouts from the Earthquake Commission if elected on 26 November.

It also wants the EQC levy to be collected with local body rates, with the amount paid to be proportional to the value of the property.

The National Party's spokesperson on Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownlee, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Thursday the policy adds further to the $14 billion to $17 billion hole in Labour's budget plans.

"How much more does this throw in, and how much can we call on the rest of New Zealand to be more generous?"

But Labour's spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove told the programme the policy could be paid through the Government's contingency fund.

"Fifteen hundred sections at $230 million - where does that money come from? It comes out of the $3.2 billion contingency fund that Mr Brownlee has out of his $5.5 billion fund."

National's spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says Mr Cosgrove has his facts wrong and Labour is being too generous with taxpayers' money.