Protesters press quake claims
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has faced a horde of protesters in Christchurch, telling them the quagmire of outstanding earthquake insurance cases is ‘‘just not good enough’’.
Ardern and Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods were met by about 100 protesters outside the Christchurch Art Gallery on Thursday.
Ardern was due to speak inside but talked to the group first.
The protesters echoed the longheld refrain of insurance critics – delay, deny, defend – and condemned recovery entities including Crown-owned claims management company Southern Response and the slow-moving High Court earthquake list.
They were eager to hear what the new Labour PM would do differently.
‘‘I know it’ll be frustrating,’’ Ardern said, ‘‘because you’ve waited seven years and you want us to move as quickly as we can.
‘‘We are working as quickly as we can.
‘‘I think New Zealanders would be astounded to know how many of you are still having to battle to get what you believe, and what most people believe when they’re insured, they’re rightly entitled to.
‘‘Seven years, I absolutely agree, is just not good enough,’’ Ardern said.
‘‘The fact that there are thousands of these cases is just not good enough.’’
Protest organiser Ali Jones, a former Christchurch city councillor, asked Ardern and Woods their advice about claims ‘‘right at that cliff edge’’.
‘‘We’re happy to look at cases,’’ Woods said.
‘‘If there’s any particularly pressing cases ... we’re happy to get people to look at those files and see what we can do.’’