Christchurch red zone residents given clarity
Thu, 23 Jun 2011 6:12p.m.
By Mike McRoberts and Simon Shepherd
The Government has confirmed it's going to buy 5100 of the Christchurch's worst quake-affected houses.
The aim of the plan announced by Prime Minister John Key and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is to enable people to cash up and move on.
But thousands of other quake-affected homeowners are still waiting tonight to learn their fate.
Avonside residents in the red zone are planning to say goodbye to their suburban nightmare.
"What we are doing is effectively giving them clarity straight away," says Mr Key.
Christchurch has been divided into four zones, and its the 5000 insured red zone residents that the Government is offering to buy out.
There are two options – a pay out for house and land, or the land only.
"This means insured owners in the red area have a choice to make about their future and they can start planning now," says Mr Key.
Offers will be based on 2007 rating valuations and will arrive in eight weeks.
But it's not so clear for 10,000 residents in the orange zone – it's being called the 'hold zone' as assessments continue.
"Unfortunately we are not in a position to give these residents certainty," says Mr Key.
The majority of Christchurch – some 100,000 homes – falls into the green area. It can be rebuilt and there's no money from the Government.
"People in the green area should work with their insurance companies to begin the rebuilding process," says Mr Key.
Finally there's the white zone - it's still being assessed after the June 13 aftershocks.
If every red zone homeowner takes up the buy out offer, it will cost up to $685 million – but none of that money goes to people who didn't have house insurance.
"Our information is that there are very few residential properties that do not have insurance," says Mr Brownlee, "and the reasons for them not having insurance are many and varied but we will make arrangements for them down the track."
The other question is what happens with all the land that's unusable?
"I dont see that as a wasteland, I just think they will end up, no matter how long it takes for remediation, they will be attractive areas," says Mr Key.
How much land depends on how many homeowners sell up, and red zone residents have nine months to decide whether to stay or go.