For the last seven years, like many fellow Cantabrians, Megan Woods has been frustrated.

Devastated by the earthquakes. Pained by the slow rebuild. Angered by insurance and EQC wrangling which has rumbled on long beyond the aftershocks.

All that time, the Labour MP has felt powerless to help many.

But now, with Labour back in the Beehive, the Wigram MP and new Minister for Greater Regeneration Christchurch and the Earthquake Commission is in a position do things her way.


Replacing National's EQC Minister Gerry Brownlee, pursuing a key pre-election pledge is top of Woods' hit-list. She wants a Royal Commission of Inquiry into botched Earthquake Commission (EQC) repairs - which run into the thousands. It was an idea rejected in March by Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee.

A priority is drawing up its terms of reference, including whether the standard of repairs in Canterbury met legal requirements, the role of guidelines, and how to expertly scope repair jobs.

"How it is that we have got ourselves into the situation we are in Christchurch seven years on with defective repairs and still a number of unsettled claims? We need to learn the lessons," Woods says.

Woods also wants to establish an arbitration tribunal to settle outstanding private insurance and EQC claims. It would have an "inquisitorial focus" and be able to award compensation for distress caused by undue delays by insurance firms.

"It's for claims that are yet to be settled or currently in deadlock and something needs to be done to remove that roadblock so people can get on with their lives," Woods said.

Talks are ongoing with new Justice Minister Andrew Little on just how the arbitration panel will be implemented.

Labour also promised pre-election to fast-track Christchurch's rebuild with a $300 million fund for projects.

Supporting material for the policy said the fund would be spent on red-zone projects and contribute to building a new stadium.


Woods wants to delve into the finer detail of all anchor projects - especially the multi-purpose arena, Metro sports centre, Convention Centre, and East Frame development - to see what stage they are at, and whether they can be accelerated.

"I want to see if there are any roadblocks that need to be removed and how we can get some more progress around the Crown's contribution to the central city. We need to ensure we get some momentum," said Woods who has also taken the Research Science and Innovation, and Energy and Resources portfolios.

Mental health post-quake is another major issue, and Woods is working closely with Health Minister Dr David Clark to repair the strained relationship between central government and the Canterbury District Health Board.

"We need to show the people of Canterbury that there has been a change of government, and part of that change is a commitment to build enduring partnerships across that city. That starts with Christchurch City Council and it obviously needs to extend to the district health board," Woods said.

"I entered Parliament in November 2011, so for the whole time that I had been an MP this has been happening in my home city, and it has been frustrating.

"I'm hugely privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to be part of this next phase and I hope to be the last Minister of Greater Christchurch Regeneration. Hopefully by the time this term of Parliament comes to an end we'll be significantly along the pathway."