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Bid for costs lost

19 Jan 2017

A group of uninsured homeowners in Christchurch's red zones have lost their bid to avoid costs for a legal battle with the Government.

The "Quake Outcasts" will have to pay more than $50,000 to cover the costs of a legal challenge which aimed to get the same Crown compensation for quake-damaged properties as insured homeowners.

Following the Canterbury quakes in 2010 and 2011, residents with uninsured properties in the worst-affected areas were offered half the value of their land by the Government.

The group of around 40 "outcasts" took the Government all the way to the Supreme Court to challenge this offer. After the court found in the group's favour, the Government last year raised their offer to 100 per cent of the value, but of the land value only, not the building's value.

Some of the Quake Outcasts then unsuccessfully appealed in the Supreme Court last year to get an improved offer, similar to insured homeowners. They are appealing the court's decision.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority sought costs of $55,605 plus additional payments of around $2,400.

The Quake Outcasts' lawyers opposed costs on the grounds that the uninsured homeowners were "of modest financial means" and had suffered enough. They also argued that there was public interest in testing the emergency powers given to the minister following the quakes.

Those arguments were not accepted by Justice Gerard Nation.

"I consider that the applicants' particular circumstances do not require the Court to depart from the general principle that a party who fails with respect to a proceeding should pay costs to the party who succeeds."

- NZ Herald

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