Joe Bennett: I won't leave my quake-hit home

By Hayden Donnell

Joe Bennett has been given 20 days to get out of his home.
Photo / Supplied
Joe Bennett has been given 20 days to get out of his home. Photo / Supplied

Author Joe Bennett is vowing to face arrest and court action in his battle against a council order to evacuate his quake-hit Lyttelton home.

Christchurch City Council has ordered about 30 Port Hills home owners to abandon their properties due to fears they could be hit by falling rocks in another earthquake.

The order has angered Mr Bennett, who claims he should be able to take responsibility for his own safety.

"I've got a mother and I don't need another one. I could go up Mt Cook, climb it naked playing a banjo and wearing a blindfold and they can do nothing.

"I'm a grown up adult and no I don't have to be protected from myself. I have an excellent safety record. Fifty-four years and going strong."

Mr Bennett said he had been given 20 days to get out of his home in a "fix notice" issued by the council.

He offered to sign a document absolving the council of legal responsibility for his safety and vowed to resist any attempts to forcefully evict him.

That could include going to court or being "carried" out of his home by police, he said.

"If they choose to enforce that injunction and I say f*** off they can arrest me. I'm going to be carried out. I won't resist but they will have to pick me up and take me to the police station. It's a point of principle."

Christchurch council regulation and democracy manager Peter Mitchell told Radio New Zealand it was "very dangerous" for Mr Bennett to stay in his home.

He offered to arrange a visit from a geotechnical engineer to explain the council's eviction order.

"From the council's point of view there's a real life risk here."

The council would be happy to go to court to defend its order, Mr Mitchell said.

Bennett has written national newspaper columns and is the author of books including Hello Dubai, Where Underpants Come From and Mustn't Grumble.

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