'Quake outcasts': Govt postpones land zoning review

Red zoned houses in Burwood.
Red zoned houses in Burwood.

The Government has postponed the Christchurch Port Hills land zoning review in the wake of the High Court decision in the "Quake Outcasts'' case.

In a decision released on Monday, Justice Graham Panckhurst ruled that the Government's 50 per cent payout offer for a small group of about 40 residents calling themselves Quake Outcasts and Fowler Developments Ltd, who own vacant land and uninsured properties in red zones was "not made according to the law''.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Roger Sutton, chief executive of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) were ordered to reconsider their buy-out offers after the judicial review.

The Government has said it will appeal against the decision.

Today Mr Brownlee said while the Government had received all the geotechnical information it required in order to announce the results of the long-awaited Port Hills land zoning review and had intended to make the announcement tomorrow, the Government now felt it was unable to.

"The High Court decision raises issues which must be given proper consideration and issues which the Government intends to appeal. Until those issues are clarified by the Court of Appeal or further legal advice, it would be unfair on Port Hills homeowners to make any announcement as I would be unable to give them the certainty those announcements intend,'' Mr Brownlee said.

Progressively over 2011 and 2012 the Government announced the results of land zoning in the Port Hills. Over 19,400 properties were zoned green, while 511 properties were assessed as having an unacceptable risk associated with either cliff collapse or rock roll risk, and were therefore zoned red.

On 9 October 2012 the Government announced a review process for all Port Hills properties, and 142 property owners specifically asked for their zoning to be reviewed, as they believed the original decision should have been different.

- APNZ

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