Spending on empty campervan village defended

3:12 pm on 29 April 2011

A Government department is defending its decision to spend more than $1 million on campervans for displaced residents in Christchurch, even though only one person stayed in the temporary accommodation.

The Department of Building and Housing has had 350 campervans at the Canterbury A&P showgrounds since March. They have been available for people to live in since 5 April.

The department says it has no regrets about hiring so many campervans and says it had to provide emergency accommodation for those that needed it.

It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 people will be homeless or displaced as a result of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February.

So far, though, just 174 have registered as needing some form of temporary accommodation.

Department of Building and Housing chief executive Maria Robertson says kitset homes are being built next month, and it will be offering those to people now, rather than the camper vans.

She says it's anyone's guess what the demand for the new temporary homes will be, but they are being more cautious with the numbers being built, and additional supply will be brought in as people need it.

Ms Robertson says once insurance assessments have been completed, many more people may require temporary accommodation if their homes need to be destroyed, or rebuilt.