Disgruntled owners of Christchurch homes damaged in the earthquakes are in court today seeking permission for a class action against insurer Southern Response, more than five years after the Canterbury earthquake sequence began.
More than 40 Southern Response claimants have packed into the High Court at Christchurch.
Today marks a momentous day for the group, who are fighting to have their voices heard as one through a class action to get their policies' full entitlements and damages for stress and costs.
Francis Cooke, lawyer for the group, says individuals can't afford to pay costly court fees.
Southern Response argues a group action isn't viable because there are distinct differences between individual cases.
Lesley Anderson is one of 46 claimants who has joined the group.
She attended today's hearing with her husband who is ill and uses a stroller for support.
Mrs Anderson says worrying about insurance has made matters worse.
Labour's earthquake spokeswoman, MP Megan Woods, is backing the group action.
Ms Woods, who is watching court proceedings this morning, said it's appalling how long people have had to wait.
She said Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee should be insisting that Southern Response "uses funds money to get people's homes fixed and not go to court".
She described the Government-owned insurer's argument that all the claims should be heard individually rather than as a class action as "a blatant attempt to deny these individuals access to justice".
"This is the Government saying to the people of Canterbury that you're on your own. This is not acceptable and not a way any Government should treat its people," she said.
"The fact that they are focussed on 'lawyering up' rather than fixing homes is an indictment of the minister and the mess and delay that have come to characterise the rebuild.
"Gerry Brownlee should not have let it get to this point. He should have insisted that the Government-owned insurer used the money so that people can get their homes fixed and they can get on with their lives."