The final bill for the Christchurch earthquake may reach $4 billion, almost double initial estimates, Treasury Secretary John Whitehead said afternoon.
Dr Whitehead said Treasury was working on the assumption the Earthquake Commission was likely to pay out $2 billion in claims resulting from the earthquake but the wider bill would be far higher.
"If you take the effect on others beyond that you're probably talking about something in order of doubling that," Dr Whitehead said.
"The costs faced by the EQC, by individuals, by businesses, by insurance companies will probably be in the order of $4 billion."
That's the fiscal cost. What cannot be quantified is the personal cost. As we type this we have one ear on Parliament, and an emotional speech from Selwyn MP Amy Adams which gives an insight into the trauma which so many Canterbury families are suffering at the moment. We will post the video as soon as it is up at www.inthehouse.co.nz; it was poignant, courageous and outstanding.
The scale of this disaster grows by the moment. Let us reflect again on the miracle that no human lives were lost.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, here is Amy Adams' speech to Parliament's General Debate this afternoon: