Minister promises quake relief announcement soon

6:27 am on 11 February 2011

The Government has hinted it has something planned for people forced out of earthquake-damaged homes in Canterbury who are now running out of insurance money to pay rent.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee hosted a meeting in Kaiapoi on Thursday night to discuss progress since the 7.1 quake in Canterbury on 4 September.

More than 1000 homes in the Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki area were severely damaged and repair work is yet to start.

Mr Brownlee talked about the fast-approaching end to accommodation grants for those who have had to move out of their homes.

He said the problem is one for all of Canterbury and the Government will have an announcement on the matter soon.

Mr Brownlee would not give more details but said the Government would not announce bad news.

He also gave a tentative date of May for repair work in Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki to start.

He says most of the large equipment needed will have to be sourced offshore.

Waimakariri District Council chief executive Jim Palmer says a lot of work has gone into preparing the area for construction and juggling all the work is a difficult task.

The meeting also heard concern from some residents that their rates will go up as they try to pay for earthquake-damaged homes.

District mayor David Ayers says a uniform charge of $57 will be added to rates this year and $113 for another 25 years to pay off the loan taken out for repairs.

He says the money will help meet the insurance shortfall and pay for uninsurable facilities such as parks and reserves.