Labour launches Christchurch quake policy

Phil Goff
Phil Goff
Labour would actively "intervene'' to kickstart the Christchurch recovery, including entering the land development and insurance markets if necessary, leader Phil Goff says.

Mr Goff this morning launched his party's quake recovery policy package.

"The next Labour Government will intervene to give Cantabrians affordable choices to help rebuild their homes, businesses and lives after the devastating earthquakes'', he said at the launch in quake-stricken Kaiapoi, just north of Christchurch.

"These are extraordinary times for Canterbury and the Government must respond accordingly. Business as usual won't cut it.''

Mr Goff said the government needed to take a more active role in the rebuild.

"A year on from the first quake, Cantabrians are saying that not enough progress has been made. Canterbury needs leadership, transparency and accountability. This policy provides that.''

Labour would:

* Acquire 1500 sections and sell them at cost to Red Zone residents

* Ring-fence a maximum of $100 million from the Canterbury Earthquake Fund to ensure home improvements to houses in the Red Zone are reimbursed up to a maximum of $50,000

* Resolve the insurance standoff and, as a last resort, be prepared to intervene in the insurance market on a short-term basis to get the market functioning again

* Establish an independent insurance commissioner to protect consumers and resolve disputes

* Immediately release all geotechnical information with a plain English guide

* Take action to fill critical skilled worker shortages, firstly from within Christchurch and New Zealand, and provide training _ including converting dole payments to apprenticeship subsidies.

Mr Goff said Labour was "not prepared to sit back and leave the recovery to market forces''.

"We will act decisively. Recovery comes at a cost. Government spending is ballooning but progress has stalled. Canterbury is too important to let this happen. Our policy gives people affordable choices and ownership of their future.''

However, Labour's plan was not about "writing blank cheques''.

Our plan is realistic and necessary. We can't fix every problem but we can improve the outcomes for Cantabrians because we'll get involved and make things happen.''

- Adam Bennett, The New Zealand Herald

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