New Zealand Treasury Estimates Earthquake Cost at NZ$4 Billion

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of the earthquake that struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch could exceed NZ$4 billion ($2.9 billion), according to revised Treasury Department estimates.

“The costs faced by the Earthquake Commission, by individuals, by businesses, by insurance companies will probably be in the order of NZ$4 billion,” Treasury Secretary John Whitehead told reporters in Wellington today, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The comment was confirmed by Chris Ritchie, senior communications adviser, at the Treasury. The estimate is twice the provisional figure cited by Prime Minister John Key.

Christchurch and surrounding districts on the nation’s South Island were hit by a magnitude 7.0 quake on Sept. 4, the worst temblor in 80 years. The Earthquake Commission, the government-owned insurance agency, may face NZ$2 billion in claims, the Herald cited Whitehead as saying.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Iain Wilson iwilson2@bloomberg.net