31 Aug 2011

Govt will have to meet full cost of next disaster

8:06 am on 31 August 2011

The New Zealand Government would have to meet the full cost of another significant natural disaster, as the Earthquake Commission's disaster fund is now depleted.

The Commission has more than doubled its initial estimates of how much it will have to pay out for the Christchurch quakes, to $7 billion.

It says that will wipe out its Natural Disaster Fund, and in the event of another major disaster, the Government will have to step in.

Finance Minister Bill English is ruling out lifting income tax to raise revenue, but says the Government could consider a one-off tax, or a levy increase.

Labour says its tax policy, including tax rises for higher income earners, would raise extra money, while the Greens want a targeted, temporary disaster tax.