D-day for Christchurch red-zone owners

Looking west down Hereford Street past the Manchester Street intersection, inside the CBD red zone. Photo / File
Looking west down Hereford Street past the Manchester Street intersection, inside the CBD red zone. Photo / File

Some Christchurch residents with land in the red zone are calling in the Human Rights Commission as a deadline looms for a Government buy-out offer.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has offered those with undeveloped, commercial or uninsured properties just half of the rateable value.

The affected landowners have petitioned the Government against the offer, saying they should receive the full payout. Undeveloped land cannot be insured, leaving those people with little financial recourse other than accepting the offer.

About 270 residents have until 5pm today to decide whether to accept.

Resident Jan Burney said she and other residents have called in the Human Rights Commission to look at the situation.

Chief Commissioner David Rutherford said the pressure of having to deal with numerous agencies could be breaching some residents' basic right to health.

"What we've been seeing over the weekend is situations where some people are under enormous stress because of the uncertainty of their options are," he told National Radio.

Another resident, Steven Burke, said if people believed their land was not fatally damaged they should get a geotech report and seek resource consent from the council to rebuild their homes.

"Basically, there's no reason for them to decline the consent," he said.

But Earthquake Recover Minister Gerry Brownlee said all building consents needed engineering standards.

"These areas, now that they are known to be very, very difficult areas to build on, will require that particular attention.

"And then of course you've got insurers saying 'why do we want that risk going forward'."

Labour's earthquake spokeswoman Leanne Daziel told Newstalk ZB today was going to be a tough day for many.

"They've got to make up their mind as to whether to accept an offer that is only half the value, or to wait things out and find out what happens next."

She said the process had been flawed.

"The minister has allowed this whole process to become quite divisive and judgemental.

"Honestly, the real stories will break people's hearts, but the Government just hasn't been listening."

- APNZ

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