No sign yet of promised tri­bunal

The Press - - News -

Un­re­solved earth­quake in­sur­ance claims in Christchurch could be han­dled by a process like that set up for a South­ern Re­sponse group, Earth­quake Com­mis­sion Min­is­ter Me­gan Woods says. On Tues­day, 24 South­ern Re­sponse claimants agreed to drop a court class ac­tion on their claims, in­clud­ing al­le­ga­tions of breach of faith and breach of con­tract. In­stead their in­di­vid­ual cases will be heard in a res­o­lu­tion ser­vice led by a re­tired High Court judge. If no agree­ment is reached, the judge will make a de­ci­sion, bind­ing on both par­ties. Woods said the South­ern Re­sponse agree­ment was an ex­am­ple of how other dif­fi­cult claims could be han­dled. ‘‘We’ve been look­ing very closely at the suc­cess of this, from what ap­peared to be some­thing of an in­tractable sit­u­a­tion. ‘‘It’s some­thing I’ve long been a fan of, and the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice (An­drew Lit­tle) has long been a fan of,’’ she said. As part of an elec­tion prom­ise pack­age for Can­ter­bury, the Labour Party dur­ing last year’s elec­tion cam­paign promised to set up a tri­bunal to hear un­set­tled claims from the Can­ter­bury earthquakes. Six months ago af­ter tak­ing of­fice, Woods said that some sort of tri­bunal might be the best way to solve un­re­solved earth­quake claims. No tri­bunal has yet been es­tab­lished.

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