Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Peters: Insurance companies 'ripping off' NZers to pay for Chch

Winston Peters Photo / Glenn Taylor
Winston Peters Photo / Glenn Taylor

NZ First's annual conference opened this morning in Christchurch, a city whose quake problems have been worsened by a lack of urgency in central government's response to the disaster, Leader Winston Peters said.

Mr Peters also lashed out at the insurance industry, saying it had dragged its feet over quake payouts and was "ripping off" the rest of New Zealand to pay for them.

The conference's opening address at Addington Raceway was given not by former Racing Minister Mr Peters, but by Mayor-elect and until her election, Labour's Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel.

"There is no better measure of support for our city than holding conference here", she told the 170 party faithful.

Later, Mr Peters confirmed the decision to hold the party's conference in Christchurch was intended as a gesture of support for the quake ravaged city which had not received sufficient support from central government.

"I believe that it was a crisis that required 24/7 action.

"I do not think central government has been showing the leadership it should have shown, or has given the necessary directives to the insurance industry."

Mr Peters said the industry had decades "to get ready for rainy day and here it is and you are either not paying up or stalling payment".

Worse than that New Zealanders across the country were being tapped to meet quake related payouts through higher premiums.

"We've worn it nationally, it's a rip off."

Mr Peters told his party members Ms Dalziel was asked to speak some time before the election when it was apparent she was going to win.

"The quid pro quo of that is because we're not an ungrateful party... we made sure our people wherever they are voted for you", he told her.

Mr Peters will give his keynote address to the conference tomorrow afternoon.

- APNZ

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