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Unfinished Canterbury claims used for surplus

EQC has admitted it didn’t know its full Canterbury claims liability at the same time it was reducing the Government’s ultimate liability to let Bill English scrape together a surplus, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“At the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning the Earthquake Commission acknowledged that at the end of the last financial year they had yet to finalise a policy for loss of value claims related to increased liquefaction vulnerability nor did they know the number of properties affected by increased flooding vulnerability.

“Given this uncertainty and lack of policy it defies belief that they could be confident at that time to reduce the Government's ultimate liability for claims by $455 million.

“There were still 22,000 land claims to settle at that point, with a high level of uncertainty as to the cost of the claims.

“Cantabrians will be shocked the claims liability was slashed to politically manufacture the Government’s wafer thin surplus.

“It's no wonder Bill English is furiously backing away from any pretence his government can achieve more than a one-off surplus.

“National made reaching surplus in 2014/15 its political goal, but it was nothing more than that. Bill English never had a plan to create a sustainable surplus and built his one-off on nothing more than smoke and mirrors,” Grant Robertson said.