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Research Results

7% say don’t compensate disaster victims who must move

25 May 23

7% say don’t compensate disaster victims who must move
When areas can no longer be lived in - who pays?

New Zealanders think insurance companies and local and central government should help compensate home owners whose homes or areas can no longer be lived in because natural disasters will occur there again.

A special Horizon Research surveys finds 64% of adults think insurance companies should compensate those who need to move.

45% think central government and 34% think local government should compensation  the insured and not insured.

7% think no special payments should be made by local or central government to compensate those who must move out. That is the equivalent of 285,000 adults among the total population aged 18+ of 3,967,760 as at June 2022.

22% are not sure and 6% suggest other solutions.

The Government is consulting with stakeholders, including local government and the insurance industry, before it decides which homes and areas can no longer be lived in because of recent disaster damage – or the likelihood these areas will continue being affected – and how property owners there should be compensated.

Thousands of property owners in the Hawkes Bay, Auckland, Northland and some other areas have recently been affected by flood and cyclone damage.

(Respondents were asked to pick all of those they thought should pay, if any).

Horizon Research conducted the survey of 1,564 respondents aged 18+ between May 12 and 17, 2023. The survey’s maximum margin of error overall is +/- 2.5%.

Support for pay-outs by intending party vote

Substantially fewer people, who currently intend voting ACT and National, want the local government to make compensation payments.

26% of ACT and 28% of National voters support this, compared with 34% of respondents.

Intending Green party voters are much more likely to support central Government making payments, 59% compared with 46% overall.

Intending voters for ACT (15%), NZ First (11%), and National and Te Pāti Māori (each 9%) say  no special payments should be made by local or central government to compensate people who must move out of their homes.

Support for pay-outs in regions most affected by recent disasters

In Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough 3% only think no compensation should be paid to those who have to move area, compared with 7% overall. In Gisborne/ Hawke’s Bay 5% say don’t pay, in Northland 7%, Auckland 6% and Bay of Plenty 11%.

In these regions, support for central government pay-outs is highest in Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough at 59% and Northland at 54%, compared with 46% overall.

Councils and central government have encountered major legal issues and costs in the past when deciding how to ask disaster-affected property owners to move and how to pay them. Most recent examples include at the Bay of Plenty seaside community of Matata, and the red zoning of thousands of properties in Christchurch because of future land liquification risks which could be caused by earthquakes. Initial offers to buy out properties in the red zone excluded those who were not insured. They were later included after court action.


The survey was conducted by Horizon in the public interest between May 12 and 17, 2023. There were 1,564 respondents nationwide aged 18+, representing the New Zealand adult population. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.5%. Margins of error are higher on smaller sub-samples. Respondents to the survey were asked which party they intended to vote for if an election were held tomorrow, providing data to analyse results by intended party vote. 


Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, e-mail; telephone 021 848 576

Julia Ord, Manager, Horizon Research, e-mail,nz, telephone 027 817 9255.