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Friday, April 1, 2011

Access to red zone infuriates

Access to red zone infuriates

Last updated 05:00 02/04/2011
Central Christchurch business owners are asking why bankrupt David Henderson has been allowed into the red zone while they battle to get access.

Henderson, who went bankrupt last year with debts of about $140 million, has been spotted inside the cordoned red zone since the February 22 earthquake closed most of the central city.

The developer, who is no longer allowed to operate a business on his own account, was seen in the zone in the week after the quake and again on Monday about 5pm.

On both occasions he has been with colleagues, but with no Urban Search and Rescue staff or police officers. Other sightings have also been reported to The Press.

Sources said Henderson seemed to have permission to access parts of the city around the clock.

Civil Defence said business owners had different access rights but all went through the same process. Henderson had received no special access rights and was subject to the same constraints as others.

One business owner has written an open letter to Mayor Bob Parker.

"I am the owner of a business inside the red zone in central Christchurch. Like many other businesspeople, I have been denied access to rescue valuable business assets," it says. "I have seen a photo of my business and I know that I could recover business assets quickly and safely.

"In spite of numerous requests, I continue to be denied access on the grounds of safety. Therefore, I wonder how Mr Dave Henderson is allowed to enter the red zone. He and his friends seem to have free access ... by presenting a piece of paper at the cordon gate.

"I have been told that they have access to all parts of the red zone at whatever hour of day or night they choose.

"Perhaps you can enlighten me and other business owners who believe we have greater cause and entitlement to accessing our businesses?"

Henderson did not respond to questions from The Press.

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