WDC's budget shaken

Insurance costs faced by the Waitaki District Council have taken a huge leap, but the rise will not affect ratepayers this financial year.

Reinsuring council properties and infrastructure was hit by the Christchurch earthquakes, with Waitaki's premiums rising 140%, from $228,033 to $561,502.

The large number of council-owned heritage buildings built before 1935 has also had an effect because of the damage to older buildings in Christchurch.

On Tuesday, the council will consider a report from strategy group manager Richard Mabon on how to fund the increases.

This year, the council budgeted $315,186 for insurance, expecting premiums to rise. It now has a shortfall of almost $250,000.

Mr Mabon is proposing that this year the shortfall be met from the council's disaster fund, but from rates in future years.

He said the Canterbury earthquakes resulted in New Zealand insurers and their global reinsurers suffering major losses, in the order of $20 billion.

That had dramatically affected the availability of insurance cover, the cost and terms.

Further work was needed to identify the Waitaki district's earthquake-proofed buildings, replacement options, working with community halls on stand-alone insurance, evaluating risks, reviewing contents coverage and ensuring no assets were omitted, Mr Mabon said.


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