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EQC flood payouts flow to richer households

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New research shows more than half of flood claims to and payouts from New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission (EQC) this century have involved higher-income families.

Economic think tank Motu says locations with a median income in the top 40% are responsible for the high claims rate.

And the author of the research, Ilan Noy, says higher-income families claim more than the average New Zealand family.

Since 2000 the EQC has paid more than 25,000 claims worth more than $300 million, with a mean amount of $11,420.

The reason for the trend towards higher incomes is unclear, but it may be linked to better access to the system, more exposure to the elements because of location preferences, or greater damage to larger homes, the paper says.

Property claims to the EQC originate, on average, only 6km from the coast.

The North Island regions of Northland and the Bay of Plenty account for the highest proportion of people and properties affected by severe weather, with South Island regions most affected are Nelson and Tasman.

Five extreme weather events have accounted for about one-third of payouts since 2000.