I met a woman here this week who moved up from Christchurch following the February 2011 earthquake. Not long before that quake, she and her husband bought an inner-city apartment in Christchurch. The entire building got red-stickered shortly after the earthquake and has since been demolished. While their apartment has now gone, the mortgage has not and they have to continue making payments on it. They have received nothing from their insurance company and nothing from the Earthquake Commission and have been told it will take 4-6 years before they get anything. She said many of the other occupants of that building were retirees who now have no home and no income and are in the same situation. Many will be paying a mortgage for just air.
This is something I fear about a volcanic eruption in Auckland: losing our only asset in its entirety, and losing our home, being unable to sell it and so unable to leave and live elsewhere. People may think I’m afraid of my own death but this is not true. The probability of my death is 100%. It’s a sure thing. It’s my life that I care about and the life of my children I care about even more. I want them to out-live me and I want them to have a good life.
When the next volcano appears in Auckland, if the damage to housing and infrastructure is wide-spread, who is going to pay for the rebuild and relocation of all those people? A quarter of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland. That doesn’t leave many tax-payers to pay for it. The Earthquake Commission has already proved itself incompetent and has run out of money anyway.