The Earthquake Commission has botched a mailout of payments to up to 1000 people claiming insurance after the Canterbury earthquake.
Cheques and letters were meant to be sent together, but the EQC says the claimants are receiving the payment first, followed by a confirmation letter.
Its office in Brisbane, where some claims are being processed, had to be evacuated because of the flooding there, but the commission says that did not cause the mistake.
EQC chief operating officer Lance Dixon says the claims management centre was relocated to Australia, to keep it away from New Zealand at the time of the disaster.
About half of the 170,000 claims made to the commission have been assessed.