Flood-destroyed home's owner sues EQC for loss

By Zaryd Wilson

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LEGAL ACTION: Mark Goodier's Shakespeare Rd home is left on the brink after last June's floods. He is taking EQC to court in a bid to be fully compensated for the loss of his home.
LEGAL ACTION: Mark Goodier's Shakespeare Rd home is left on the brink after last June's floods. He is taking EQC to court in a bid to be fully compensated for the loss of his home.

Whanganui man Mark Goodier is taking the Earthquake Commission (EQC) to court over his claim after the Whanganui flood last June.

His family home on Bastia Hill has been uninhabitable since June 20 last year. A bank slipped under the weight of rain with a part of his driveway falling away, leaving the garage perched above. A corner of his house has also dropped about 25mm. But so far EQC has only offered to pay out for what it deems the damage is worth, despite Mr Goodier not being able to live in or sell the house.

Mr Goodier is arguing the amount offered by EQC doesn't match the true value of his loss. Papers were filed at the High Court last month.

"(I'm arguing) that they haven't assessed the damage properly and that the case is in effect a total loss," he said.

Mr Goodier has been offered $113,000 from EQC for the loss of land, and damage to the house.

But, he said, the cost of repairing the retaining wall was estimated to be $240,000, more than double the value of the property.

"We can't repair without the insurance and we can't get sign-off from council without repairs," he said.

"The estimate for repair goes way past the value of the property anyway."

Mr Goodier is living in a rental paid for by insurance money but that is running out and he will soon be dipping into his own pocket while the fight drags on. "It's highly frustrating, just because it's a stupid system," he said.

"All of our life savings, everything is wrapped up in the home. They just play the long game and hope that people give up."

Mr Goodier said he was not sure how long it would be before the case got to court.

EQC general manager, customer and claims Trish Keith said it could not talk about Mr Goodier's case because it was currently in litigation.

"The Earthquake Commission understands that some customers have been prevented from using their houses following last year's flood event in Whanganui and may have expected to receive payment from EQC as a result of that."

Ms Keith said, under the Earthquake Commission Act, insurance cover was only for physical loss or damage and the Court of Appeal had in the past ruled that a s124 notice - or red sticker from council - was not a physical loss or damage to a house and therefore was not covered by the EQC Act.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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