'They're just going through the motions' - Christchurch homeowners criticise Budget's quake recovery funding

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Some Christchurch homeowners still battling with their insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission say the Government's Budget commitments for the city are a case of "too little, too late".

The Government has assigned funds to a tribunal and independent inquiry, as well to accelerate anchor projects like the stadium.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Government confirmed yesterday it's providing $300 million to accelerate the Canterbury recovery, for projects in the Residential Red Zone, and the completion of major anchor projects like the Multi Purpose Arena. It also announced a multi-million dollar special insurance tribunal to help with stalled claims and a public inquiry into EQC.

Embattled homeowner Mike Stewart said for those who are already stuck in court battles, an inquiry and a tribunal are of no use.

"I think it's a waste of taxpayer money. They'd be better to spend that money actually fixing people's houses. They'll have a result that they know. They're just going through the motions," he said.

Mr Stewart and his wife Julia McEntyre bought a home in 2013, with a full property inspection and sign off from EQC. Two years later, they discovered more than $300,000 worth of hidden damage.

Despite EQC claiming fault for the botched repairs, its maximum payment is limited at $100,000 and their insurer says it's not its responsibility either.

"I think an inquiry is just going to spend more taxpayer money to find out what we already know. EQC have already said it’s their mistake," he said.

His wife Julia said it's "too little, too late".

"I'd rather that they use that money to fix people's houses, and let people get on with their lives," Ms McEntyre said.

However, Peter Woods, lawyer with Anthony Harpers who assists organisation EQC-Fix, said an inquiry is necessary.

"I think it’s great news. EQC’s been a total mess. So we need to see why that happened and make sure it doesn't happen again. We've still got hundreds, if not thousands, of people with unresolved claims. We need to know why that's happened. And how we can stop it happening again," Mr Woods said.

A spokesman for Earthquake Commission Minister Megan Woods said he expected the inquiry would begin later this year. It would have the power to compel evidence, and hold public hearings. The terms of reference of the inquiry are to be announced shortly.

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