PM Key says no one knows how much final quake damage will cost,

PM Key says no one knows how much final quake damage will cost, as overall bill rises toward NZ$25 billion and bad news keeps coming for EQC


No one knows how much the damage caused in Christchurch will eventually cost, but the government’s balance sheet is still in a strong position to pay its part of what could be a NZ$25 billion bill, Prime Minister John Key says.

The government’s bill for the earthquake took a double hit last week, when Finance Minister Bill English on Tuesday released new estimates from the Earthquake Commission showing its costs had more than doubled to NZ$7.1 billion, wiping out the EQC’s NZ$6 billion disaster fund.

That was compounded on Friday evening when the High Court made a ruling against the EQC, meaning homeowners could receive multiple claims of NZ$100,000 in the same year – a decision that could carry a bill worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

With estimations for the overall cost of the quakes rising to around the NZ$25 billion mark from NZ$20 billion previously, Key said the government was still in a strong position. Key’s Cabinet is meeting in Christchurch today to discuss the damage, costs, and rebuilding efforts.

The EQC High Court ruling was a good news-bad news story, depending on how it was looked at, Key said on TV1′s Breakfast programme this morning.

“The bad news is it means EQC’s liability is rising, and we don’t know by exactly how much…..



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