Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has slammed a newspaper report which said a decision about orange zoned land in Kaiapoi would be due next week.
Mr Brownlee says the "irresponsible" report in the Christchurch Press this morning was "pure speculation" and insensitive to people living in the area.
However the Labour Party said the story showed there was either a "controlled or uncontrolled leak" from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.
The Press this morning reported "up to one third of quake-hit Kaiapoi could be abandoned", with a final decision to be made next week.
The paper quoted "sources familiar with the plans", who said a recommendation will go to Cabinet that between 700 and 1000 of the town's orange zone homes will be reclassified as red zone.
Red zone homes are on land that is not considered stable enough to build on and these properties would be abandoned.
Mr Brownlee described the story as a "cheap shot".
"As a homeowner in an orange zone I know the deep frustration, and at times despair, the uncertainty waiting for land information brings," Mr Brownlee said.
"So I've been cautious not to put up dates and deadlines that if not met simply add to the turmoil.
"I am deeply disappointed the front page of The Press has taken a cheap shot at people's futures by publishing maps compiled seven months ago.
Mr Brownlee said the June 13 aftershocks did further damage to land and areas in Kaiapoi will need to be reassessed.
"Results will be announced once analysis of that work is completed and compiled in a manner which allows the Government to make decisions," he said.
Mr Brownlee said from tomorrow, Kaiapoi residents will receive a letter giving them a clearer expected timeframe for decisions around when their land will be reclassified as either green or red.
"I told residents of my intention to write to them this week in my previous letter to them on 29 June, and I announced that the letter would go out this week to media at last Friday's weekly briefing," he said.
"There were two Press journalists there. No surprises - they weren't listening."
However the Labour Party's Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove said the Press's story results from either a controlled or uncontrolled leak from the CERA.
"Either Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is deliberately leaking material to the newspaper, or he has no control over CERA, his own department," Mr Cosgrove said.
"Mr Brownlee apologised in June when the Government's announcements on zoning and offers to affected homeowners were leaked in detail.
"It sounded like he was protesting too much then, and today's story on Kaiapoi simply reinforces the suspicion that he wants the bad news out before he fronts," Clayton Cosgrove said.
Mr Cosgrove said Mr Brownlee should "come clean".
"If a decision is going to cabinet next week, that means Gerry Brownlee knows exactly what's going to happen already," he said.
"People deserve to know what is going to happen to them, and they deserve to know the detail of why it is going to happen."