Earthquake Commission chair resigns, independent advisor sent to help settle claims

EQC chair Sir Maarten Wevers has resigned.
EQC chair Sir Maarten Wevers has resigned. Photo credit: NBR

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) board chair has resigned as the Government cracks down on resolving thousands of unsettled claims.

Sir Maarten Wevers stepped down after the Government announced an independent advisor would be sent in to help speed up the remaining claims, EQC Minister Megan Woods says.

"I've made it clear I am not satisfied with where EQC is at in respect of the Canterbury Earthquake work seven years on from the February 22 event. 

"For the around 2600 people with unresolved claims, being stuck in limbo is unacceptable. We've got to see faster progress for these people so that they can get their lives back on track."

An interim chair will be appointed next week, Ms Woods says.

"I acknowledge there are people at EQC in Christchurch and around the country who are working hard, but it's clear to me that extra assistance is required to allow EQC to respond quickly and effectively to the challenge of sorting out the remaining claims."

The independent advisor is expected to be a senior public servant, who would also work with the Ministry of Innovation Business and Employment around the wider insurance issue.

Mr Wevers acknowledged mistakes were made and he left his position with "great regret".

"Mistakes have been made, customers have not always been supported as they should have been, when they should have been, and it has taken a long time to reach the final stages of our response.

"We apologise to each and every claimant to whom we have not delivered as we should have.

"Every single claim is a concern to the board and to me personally."

He says he stepped aside so the Minister could appoint someone whom she thought would best do the job.