Nine years on from the September earthquake, one of the most difficult issues still remaining for people in our city is the case of on-sold overcap properties.
This is where a home is damaged in the earthquakes, has an EQC claim or repair, and is then on-sold, only for it to be discovered there is still damage that was missed or not fixed properly, that pushes the home over the statutory cap on EQC payments. For years this issue has trapped some Canterbury homeowners in limbo – they can’t get private insurance to cover it as they aren’t the original owner and they can’t get further EQC payouts beyond the cap.
Recently, our government has stepped in to help people who have been trapped for far too long. We’ve put $300 million dollars on the table for ex gratia payments, above the EQC cap, to people trapped in an on-sold mess. This funding will help people be able to finally repair their homes and get on with their lives.
Claimants will have 12 months to get their homes checked and apply for funding. Homeowners will have 12 months to make a claim to EQC for defective repairs or previously undetected damage. EQC will then work with the homeowners to agree a payment amount so repairs can be made.
This will change lives for people who have been trapped for years and help people get a sense of hope back for their future.
A major priority for our Government is getting New Zealanders into warm, dry homes. As part of this, in our first budget in office we announced the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.
This provides subsidised insulation to low income homeowners to help make old homes warm, safe and dry.
A lack of insulation is a key driver of illnesses like rheumatic fever, which end up costing our health system millions and impacting the lives of people forced to live in cold, damp homes.
As a local MP, I know firsthand how hard it can be for some people to keep their homes warm on a cold Canterbury winter’s night. Through Warmer Kiwi Homes we are turning that around.
Recently, I was able to announce that we have expanded the programme to also include funding for efficient heat sources. The programme will cover two-thirds of the cost of efficient wood burners and heat pumps, up to a maximum grant of $2,500.
To be eligible for insulation and heater grants, homeowners must have a Community Services Card or live in a lower-income area.
Eligible homeowners will now not only be able to keep their homes warmer and themselves healthier, they will also be able to enjoy lower power bills through more efficient heating. It’s the kind of win-win outcomes that sit at the heart of this Government’s wellbeing approach.
By investing smartly, we can deliver big improvements in the lives of New Zealanders, save money in our health system and help Kiwis be financially better off as well.
It was a pleasure to announce in early February the transitional use of several Crown-owned properties in Sumner for a new permanent skate park and the creation of a community green space.
Sumner residents have long been calling for a permanent skate park and new greenspace and it’s great that we can now make that a reality. Up until recently, there has been a temporary skate park that was run by the local community as part of their community-led earthquake recovery.
The Crown has been working closely with local authorities, community groups and individuals to bring life and community back to the residential red zone areas by activating Transitional Land Use (TLU) projects. We’ve granted key red zone land in Sumner as part of an interim arrangement while we finalise the transfer of that from the Crown to the Council.
This will create an acoustic buffer for neighbours and create a new gathering spot in the heart of the village. It also means there are some fantastic new community facilities for Sumner. The Community Board recently approved the proposal for a new concrete skate park and Land Information New Zealand, which manages the red zone properties in the Port Hills, has been working closely with the Council’s project team to make this happen. It was exciting to see such positive responses from the local community and I’m looking forward to seeing it get up and running.