In the EQC on sold class action Mathias v EQC  the High Court fixed the date for people to lodge a notice with the Court opting into the class action as 5pm on 22 September 2023.  Some people lodged notices after the deadline.  EQC opposed the late notice people being part of the class.  In Mathias v EQC [2024] NZHC 533 the High Court (Lester AJ) dismissed the EQC opposition and extended the opt in date to the date that each individual notice was received by the Court.  The extension of time was done under rule 1.19  of the High Court Rules as being in the interests of justice.

There is a class action against EQC in relation to Canterbury houses badly assessed/repaired by EQC after the Canterbury Earthquakes.  There may be in excess of 70,000 eligible homeowners.  Owners have to opt in to the proceeding by 22 September 2023.  A copy of the opt in notice is here.  The website for the class action is

Homeowners with fire insurance are covered under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 for damage to house and land by a natural landslip.  For house damage EQC pays the first $172,500 under s18 of the EQC Act.  For land damage EQC pays up to specified amounts under s19 of the Act for land damage plus the indemnity value of any bridges, culverts and retaining walls.  Separate house insurance policies may provide additional cover for retaining walls and the house.  The application of the EQC Act to land damage is not straightforward.  So expert advice will help.

In Birchs Road Ltd v EQC & anor [2019] NZHC 2439 the High Court (DunninghamJ) considered  an application to transfer a court proceeding in process for 3 years with a trial date commencing 21 October 2019 where the defendants had concerns about their ability to recover costs from the homeowner if the claim was transferred to the Earthquake Tribunal.  In Fraser v EQC & anor [2019] NZHC 2768 the High Court (Lester AJ) decided that the High Court retained jurisdiction to deal with costs in respect of a proceeding transferred to the Earthquake Tribunal.  Fraser is notable for a wasted costs order against the homeowner for changing lawyers and engineers.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by Xiaoming He in relation to earthquake damage to his house at 377 Selwyn Street, Christchurch.  In He v EQC & anor [2019] NZCA 373 the Court of Appeal said that the High Court was correct to find that Mr He had not proven earthquake damage to his property.  The damage appears to have pre-dated the earthquakes and evidence from the tenant to that effect did not assist Mr He.

On 15 August 2019 the Government announced a policy that allows owners of on-sold over-cap properties in Canterbury to apply for an ex gratia Government payment to have their homes repaired.

If you’ve bought a home in Canterbury and discovered that it is damaged over the EQC cap, you may be eligible for an ex gratia payment to cover the cost of repair.

Under the policy, you will have twelve months (no later than 14 August 2020) to register your interest for the ex gratia payment. After that time, the policy will not be available.

If you qualify you may be able to receive an ex gratia payment equal to the agreed cost of repair.

Here is a link to information with an excellent Q & A section.

This decision is an excellent one for those owners.


Notwithstanding the success of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service it appears the Government is proceeding with the establishment of the Canterbury Earthquakes Tribunal.  Based on the version of the bill reported from the House on 9 May 2019 the goal is for the Tribunal to exist from 10 June 2019.  The Tribunal still cannot deal with “on solds” being houses sold after the relevant earthquake(s).  Unlike the GCCRS the decisions of the Tribunal are public.  The Tribunal still has restrictions on the ability to award costs.

In the puzzling decision of Hood v EQC & anor [2019] NZHC 349 the High Court (Dunningham J) decided that Ms Hood who had been entirely successful with her claim by moving EQC from a repair cost of $10,729 to one of $438,292.63 through Court proceedings could only recover 50% of her costs because theoretically the insurer, IAG, was also around and Ms Hood should have recovered the balance of the costs from it.  This was in circumstances where once EQC paid the cap the insurer immediately agreed to pay the rebuild cost claimed and IAG had for months said that wanted to settle out based on a rebuild.  I do not understand how a person can be entirely successful, but not recover 100% of the recoverable costs.  No rights of appeal of the judgment as it was review of a decision of Matthews AJ who also thought that 50% was appropriate.