Prime Minister John Key says it will be "bleak" for Canterbury residents who chose not to take up the Government's buy-out offer for land in the red zone.
He said the Government would not support red zone infrastructure - water, sewerage, electricity and roading.
"It will be quite a bleak environment to be living in. But in the end you can't force people to take the offer, it's voluntary."
He said 6500 people have either accepted and settled, or are about to settle. Only 213 have not.
"It's a free world, so if people don't want to take up the Government's offer we've always said it's voluntary. In the end they have to make their own rational decision."
Some Christchurch residents with land in the red zone are calling in the Human Rights Commission.
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 had until 5pm yesterday to decide whether to accept.
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 Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said all building consents needed engineering standards.
"These areas - now that they're 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 Lianne Dalziel told Newstalk ZB that yesterday would be tough 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 judgmental.
"Honestly, the real stories will break people's hearts, but the Government just hasn't been listening."