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Friday, June 24

Quake package leaves issues unresolved

The Canterbury earthquake package released by the Government today leaves a number of issues unresolved, says Green Party earthquake recovery spokesperson, Dr Kennedy Graham.

Residents have an option to receive Government payment for land and improvements, or alternatively for land alone with insurance money to cover the buildings. Either way, if they accept one of these within the mandated nine-month period, they will be required under a settlement agreement to move off the land.

"The package is good as far as it goes. The offer to residents inside the red zone is fair and reasonable," said Dr Graham.

"However, there are still important issues that the Government needs to address.

"First, if a resident declines to leave, the Government has not clarified what it will do. Will it acquire the land under the powers of compulsion it granted itself in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act. Or will it leave it to the City Council to cut basic services such as water or sewerage?

"We also need to find out how many residents in the red zone were without insurance and what their situation is. Many of these residents could be left homeless and destitute."

Dr Graham also said there is not enough information available regarding the fate of the land in the Red Zone.

"It would be a mistake for the Government to make land which is prone to lingering seismic uncertainty available for possible future residential housing.

"Once there is clarity on some of the unresolved issues, it is imperative to move on to developing a vision of a new and vibrant city," said Dr Graham.

"The Green Party's 'Vision Christchurch' public forums have shown that many residents want a future eco-city with 21st century values and technology."