Govt reluctant to take on role of quake insurer

9:16 pm on 6 September 2011

Prime Minister John Key says the Government does not want to take on the role of an insurer in earthquake-hit Canterbury despite the problems some people are having arranging new insurance.

Parts of the South Island city were badly damaged in the quake on 22 February.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says the lack of insurance is holding up the rebuilding and it is time for the Government to consider intervening and being an insurer of last resort.

Mr Goff says the Government needs to look at whether it should intervene to help speed up construction.

But Mr Key says it would mean taking a risk the private sector is not prepared to take, and it could be very expensive for the Government.

He says the Government is working with insurers and is confident that comprehensive cover will be available in Christchurch in due course.

Finance Minister Bill English acknowledges some difficulties in getting insurance. He says the Government is monitoring the situation closely and is trying to encourage insurers back into the Christchurch market.