30 Jan 2014

Huge insurance payout for schools

9:43 pm on 30 January 2014

One of the largest insurance pay outs in New Zealand's history has been made, with a $200 million insurance settlement for earthquake damage to Canterbury schools.

Damage from the 4th September 2010 earthquake (7.1 magnitude), Halswell School

Damage to Halswell School in Christchurch from the September 2010 quake. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement about the settlement between the Ministry of Education and Vero Insurance in Christchurch on Thursday.

The deal involved more than 1000 buildings at over 200 schools. Mr Brownlee said it represented the result of several major programmes and complex negotiations with insurers over three years.

The remediation of 91 schools in the outer Canterbury area was completed in late 2012, but more complex remediation of many buildings has been on hold while the ministry and Vero assessed damage and negotiated the claim.

Education Minister Hekia Parata refused to say how much the ministry originally claimed.

"Look this has been a negotiation, and that is what we've gone into and we've reached a settlement and we're very satisfied with that settlement. We see it contributing to the impetus of the work that we're doing here and that you see around us."

Ms Parata said there were still some small matters to settle with the insurer.

One of the Christchurch schools to benefit from the settlement said the new classrooms the money would help build would be a game-changer for education.

Hornby High has absorbed students from three schools that have been closed as part of the Government's 10-year billion dollar shake-up of the region's education system.

Principal Richard Edmundson said $1.4 million of the $200 million settlement had gone towards new classrooms at the school and the so-called modern learning environments would be a game changer for secondary education in New Zealand.