Govt offers to buy most quake-damaged properties

6:11 am on 24 June 2011

The Government has offered to buy the most damaged properties in earthquake-hit Christchurch.

The region has been crippled by two major quakes: on 4 September last year and the fatal quake on 22 February in which 181 people died and much of central Christchurch and many suburbs were badly damaged.

Prime Minister John Key on Thursday made an initial announcement about whether certain areas can be rebuilt or not.

Maps released have divided the city into four residential zones - red, orange, white and green.

The red residential zone represents the worst affected area, which cannot be rebuilt on for many years.

These properties are located in the east of Christchurch, along the Avon River, in the north-east of the city such as Brooklands, and in the beach area of Waimakariri District, such as Kairaki Beach.

Insured owners of the 5100 properties in the residential red zone can sell to the Government at the 2007 rateable value, or they can sell their land only to the Government and continue to deal with their insurance company to get their house replaced.

An offer is expected to be made within eight weeks and home owners will have nine months to decide. The future of the abandoned land is yet to be determined.

The offer to buy 5100 red zone residential properties is expected to cost the Government between $485 million and $635 million.

The money will come from the Government's Canterbury Earthquake Recovery (Cera) fund.

Other zones

The other zones are a residential orange zone comprising 10,500 properties where further assessment is needed. About 9000 homes are in the Christchurch City Council area and about 1500 in the Waimakariri District Council area.

Mr Key says the damage here ranges from moderate to severe.

Properties in the residential white zone have not been fully mapped or are not residential. It includes the Port Hills, which are yet to be mapped.

The green zone includes 100,000 properties where there is no significant land damage and repairs or rebuilding can begin.

People can go to the website www. to see which zone their property falls into.

A series of community meetings will be held over the next few days and weeks.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says new figures show about 11,000 sections are ready, or almost ready, to be built on and others are in the pipeline.

Much to be done - Sutton

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton says the authority has not yet worked out how people will be informed of their individual offers.

Mr Sutton says there is an awful lot of work still to be done.

He says individual offers still need to be evaluated and a review process worked out for people who are not happy with their valuation.