Homeowner - at 3degC - is over EQC

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2014
Ken Keir
STACEY SQUIRES

FRUSTRATED: Ken Keir believes if EQC had not apportioned his earthquake damage across two quakes it would already be fixed.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Ken Keir was happy when he was paid out $113,000 by the Earthquake Commission after the February 2011 quake.

Then it asked for the money back.

He was told his damage was being apportioned over the September and February quakes and therefore it was under cap.

But, Keir said, the house was not damaged in the September quake.

He was told earlier this year if he paid the money back, his Aranui home would be fixed by winter. He paid. A few days ago he took out the thermometer in the living room. It was 3 degrees Celsius. The home is still to be fixed.

"It's just been a battle. It's wearing me down. It creeps up slowly but I've had enough. It becomes too much."

Keir has gone through four jobs as he struggles to keep focused.

If he had held on to the money his home would be fixed by now. Instead, liquefaction material remains under his floor boards, his house has sunk and dislodged double-glazed windows are useless against the cold.

Keir's sister-in-law Adrienne, who lives with him, said she was constantly sick.

"The wallpaper is peeling off the bedroom walls. I can't get any answers from anyone. It's just absolutely freezing. Nothing is happening."

EQC's Canterbury Home Repair Program (CHRP) general manager Reid Stiven said Keir was offered a cap payment prior to the introduction of apportionment. That money then needed to be split across both earthquakes as EQC deemed there had been damage in the September quake.

"This property has also undergone technical review regarding engineering solutions, and with this now complete, along with costings, repairs through the CHRP can move forward."

A 2011 High Court ruling decided that EQC cover was renewed after each earthquake event as long as the property remained insured. EQC said apportionment for each quake was necessary to determine when the damage occurred so that it could be work out what costs EQC needed to cover and what potentially rested with the private insurer.

An EQC spokesperson said a works order for Keir's home repairs was likely to be issued next week.

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