31 Jan 2016

Big year ahead for Chch rebuild

9:55 am on 31 January 2016

Insurers are on track to settle the vast majority of Canterbury earthquake claims by the end of this year, the Insurance Council says.

Christchurch construction.

Christchurch, Rebuild, Building, Workers, Migrants, Immigration Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Figures released by the council today show that nearly $16.7 billion had been paid out by December 2015.

That figure included 139,858 domestic claims, to a total of $7.8 billion - less than half the total.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton said the figure reflected a 21 percent rise in the settlement rate last year, compared to 2014.

"That's just absolutely massive in New Zealand history - as we know it's been the biggest event this country has ever known in terms of damage."

He said 5400 major repairs and rebuilds were settled last year.

There were still "a few hundred" disputed claims or people seeking advice on offers, he said.

Earthquake-damaged home in Sumner, Christchurch.

Earthquake-damaged home in Sumner, Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

2016 a pivotal year - business leader

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said this year would be a pivotal one for Christchurch, with more than half the rebuild completed.

Mr Townsend said about $100 million a week would continue to be spent on reconstruction.

Although he understood the government's end date for the rebuild was 2026, he believed that was probably overly optimistic.

Mr Townsend said people were now beginning to understand the complexities of the rebuild.

"There's still a lot to be done, there's still a lot to be spent, there's still a lot of investment to go into the housing sector, into the commercial sector and into the key projects the government is underpinning - we're going to see that play out over the next three to four years."

The fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people will be marked with a civic service in Christchurch on 22 February.

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