15 Sep 2018

EQC claimants head to High Court on Monday

10:09 pm on 15 September 2018

A couple's three-year fight for EQC compensation will come to a head in the High Court in Whanganui on Monday.

Mark and Nichola Goodier at the slip on their property in 2015.

Mark Goodier Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

A third of Mark and Nichola Goodier's section was washed away in a June 2015 flood, taking with it chunks of driveway, retaining wall and land underneath the garage.

The repair costs for the house and garage are estimated to be more than $500,000 but the couple's house insurer IAG cannot pay them out unless EQC first pays them a capped amount of $115,000.

However, Mark Goodier said EQC's position was that not all the damage to the house was caused by the flood and has only paid out $38,000 - not enough for the private insurer to get involved.

Mr Goodier said all the damage to the house was a result of the flooding and wanted EQC to pay the remaining $77,000.

He said he was confident they would win.

"You always believe the true and just outcome will happen in the end.

"We have much more proof on our side. They just have opinions whereas we have actual witnesses."

He said they had statements from witnesses who had been in the house.

"We had 31 independent witnesses that have been in the house prior to the slip and after the slip to say there was none of that damage before the slip."

A statement from EQC said while EQC was empathetic to the Goodier's situation, geotechnical engineers had assessed the property and determined the slip had not damaged the house.

"The Goodiers disagree with EQC's assessment although to date they have not arranged for their own geotechnical engineer to validate their claim for building damage."

EQC had paid out what was required, the statement said.

"EQC's residential insurance cover is set out in the Earthquake Commission Act, which includes maximum payment caps for building, land and contents claims. EQC has made a land payment to the Goodiers for the damage to their land and retaining walls, up to our cap limit. We have also made a payment for building damage," it said.

"Despite best intentions on both sides, we have not been able to reach an agreement with the Goodier family, or their litigation funder and the claim is scheduled to go before the Court on Monday 17 September."

Mr Goodier said he was "perplexed" that EQC was willing to go to court over the matter.

"It's hard to believe that EQC still want to pursue down this path. The costs in the High Court are going to be something like $250,000 for them so it's kind of strange that they're actually allowed to behave like this.

"And of course it's not their money they're spending - it's taxpayers ... they're pretty loose with other people's money."

He said the last three years had been a "massive burden".

"The house itself - that's our retirement fund - everything we had went into the house and we've really struggled.

"We've both suffered mental health-wise, we've both had help from our doctor, it's a huge toll mentally and physically.

"The people of Christchurch would understand what I'm saying, and they've had to deal with it for eight years so what it must be like for them I can't imagine."

The trial has been set down for 10 days.

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