Law change needed to help at-risk homes - Nelson Mayor

8:27 am on 5 April 2024
A hillside has collapsed into the back of someone's yard. A slip of loose earth wrapped in wire is slumped over a wooden fence. There is a neighbour's house and fence in the background. Above is a blue sky.

There were more than 200 slips in Nelson following the August 2022 floods. Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

The Nelson Mayor says legislative changes are needed to speed up buyouts for at-risk properties following natural disasters.

Nelson Council has completed buyouts for ten properties in the suburb, The Brook, which were at risk of landslides from public land after severe rainfall in August 2022.

But the council was still consulting on what to do about red-stickered houses where the landslide risk came from private land.

Mayor Nick Smith told Morning Report it was a "terrible dilemma".

Residents would be better off if their house was wiped out by the storm, he said.

"In that situation both the EQC and the insurer will carry you through and compensate you for the loss of your property."

The tough situation was undamaged or minimally-damaged houses near landslides on privately-owned land, where to make the land stable would cost more than the home was worth, Smith said.

"They're not getting anything from EQC, they're not getting anything from the insurer and they're sort of in this nowhere land."

The Government and Council agreed to a 50/50 split of the $12m needed to buyout the worst affected homes.

Smith said that was a "pragmatic solution".

"This is one of those issues that post Cyclone Gabrielle, the big storm that Nelson had in 2022, we do need to sit down with government and find a more long term solution."

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