Pressure on Government to release quake land report

8:16 pm on 15 June 2011

The Government is coming under pressure to say which of Christchurch's earthquake-damaged suburbs will need to be abandoned.

The region has been hit by two major quakes: on 4 September 2010 and on 22 February this year, which killed 181 people. On Monday, there were two significant tremors which has caused more damage and one death.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister John Key said the Government has a clear picture of what areas may not be able to be rebuilt, but is not yet saying where they are.

There have been calls for the Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to release geotechnical information on which suburbs in the South Island city can be repaired and which are beyond hope.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is canvassing ideas about where to move people to, asking private property developers to submit by this week their plans for the next five years.

Mr Brownlee says in some cases it is obvious which areas will have to be abandoned, but more information needs to be gathered so the final report is robust.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says she understands that, but people are frustrated about the long wait.

Ms Turei says Mr Brownlee needs to move a lot faster, as the Government has known about the issue for a long time and families need certainty about their situation.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff is refusing to get involved, saying the party is trying to be bi-partisan about it.

However, the party's MP for Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel says the Government must trust residents with the information it has now about the future of quake-damaged land.

Ms Dalziel told Checkpoint on Wednesday all the options have to be looked at because no one wants to be presented with a fait accompli.

The MP says the Government needs to trust people with the information and engage with them. She says in all overseas examples of disaster recovery people always come up with ideas that bureaucrats do not think of.

Earlier, Ms Dalziel called on Prime Minister John Key to reveal the contents of the land report. But Mr Key says if information was released now on which land should be abandoned, it would make things much more complicated for homeowners.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the continuing aftershocks in Canterbury are causing more damage and changing legal and financial positions.

He told Nine to Noon that it is better to give people a clear picture rather than a confusing or conflicting one, and his priority is to protect the equity that people have in their properties.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says he is not happy about the Government's decision not to reveal areas that may have to be abandoned, but understands the reasoning behind it.

Mr Parker says whether to rebuild in some areas is a complex process which needs to be carried out correctly to ensure residents get their money's worth. He says he has no details of the areas concerned.