Concern for public amenities if insurance not found

6:01 am on 28 June 2011

Residents in earthquake-damaged Christchurch and Waimakariri are worried that if their local councils cannot find new insurance cover, rates will rise and vital public amenities could be lost.

The councils' policies covering above ground assets expire on Thursday.

Civic Assurance, which insures 46 of New Zealand's 78 councils, says it will not be offering any council, including Waimakariri District and Christchurch City councils, cover from Thursday.

Many companies that provide backing for insurers are now steering clear of New Zealand.

Finance Minister Bill English says if there is any further damage to essential infrastructure in Christchurch and Waimakariri, it will be repaired with the costs to be shared by ratepayers and taxpayers.

But his office has confirmed this does not include above ground assets - such as AMI Stadium, libraries and pools.

If they were to suffer any future damage - and new insurance cover had not been found - any Government help with repairs would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Kaiapoi Residents Association says any loss of local amenities would be a real blow - and with rates already set to rise, any additional costs could force people out of the area.

Waimakariri District Council chief executive Jim Palmer says to date, the quakes have cost the council about $28 million.