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NZ quake tribunal reform a step nearer

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The Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Tribunal Bill has passed its first reading in the New Zealand Parliament.

Once enacted the law is expected to allow for binding resolutions to settle claims and provide independent, funded mediation services and access to alternative dispute resolution schemes.

Victims of the 2011 Christchurch quakes have been dogged by unresolved insurance claims.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods says such delays are among the key roadblocks to progress in the city.

The tribunal will be empowered to set timelines that must be followed and penalise insurers for undue delays, she says.

The bill now goes to a select committee, which usually has six months to report to Parliament. Public submissions have been invited.