The red zone offers

April 3rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says it will be “bleak” for Canterbury residents who chose not to take up the Government’s buy-out offer for land in the red zone.

He said the Government would not support red zone infrastructure – water, sewerage, electricity and roading.

“It will be quite a bleak environment to be living in. But in the end you can’t force people to take the offer, it’s voluntary.”

He said 6500 people have either accepted and settled, or are about to settle. Only 213 have not.

So that is a 97% acceptance rate.

Some residents with land in the red zone are calling in the Human Rights Commission.

I really don’t think there is a human right to require me (and other taxpayers) to purchase undeveloped or uninsured land that has been damaged in an earthquake.

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32 Responses to “The red zone offers”

  1. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    One woman last night on Saint John’s programme was living in a hovel!

    No mention of the fact that the offer of 50% of rateable value is a very generous offer from the taxpayer for land worth nothing.

    No mention either of any of the 97% who have moved on to new homes elsewhere. It’s a shame the MSM always gives us the aggrieved or loopy minority.

    But clearly many of these people are happy for the rest of us to keep on working so they can get more. And Labour supports unfair burdens being landed on wage and salary earners.

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  2. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    It is staggering that someone who had opted out of insuring their property, still believes they are somehow entitled to a taxpayer handout. In other words, despite the fact that their neighbour had paid for their own insurance and have cover under an insurance policy, the uninsured morons want payout from the taxpayer to reimburse them for their own poor decisions.

    They should get nothing. Absolutely nothing. And they need to be told as much.

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  3. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Undeveloped land cannot be insured, leaving those people with little financial recourse other than accepting the offer.

    Poor land bankers – however will they cope?

    I’ve got a HUMAN RIGHT to receive a return on my investment! :-)

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  4. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    it must kill labour they werent in power when the quake happened. they never got to levy “high earners” to pay for people like this

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  5. Reid (16,509 comments) says:

    I really don’t think there is a human right to require me (and other taxpayers) to purchase undeveloped or uninsured land that has been damaged in an earthquake.

    Possibly the 3% are there for good reasons, not venal ones. I heard a series of comments from various of them all saying their properties were redeemable to code standard. I have a feeling many of these people are hanging out for the emotional value of a home more than the physical value of a house.

    I may be wrong but that’s what I sense here.

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  6. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    I’m one of those affected. It’s a pretty open-and-shut take-it-or-leave-it, case. People are left with the responsibility of their choices.

    More on this here:
    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/gerry-the-red-zone-buy-outs/

    1. Building on the unconsolidated land gives you no guarantee if you rebuild that it won’t slump or be ruined again in aftershocks because the land has changed and is in a state of flux.

    2. You are unlikely to secure re-insurance which exposes you to incredible risk.

    3. Nature has spoken, we need to be realistic and adjust geographically in Christchurch. Holding on ‘because we’ve always been here’ is Titanic thinking.

    4. Investors cannot realistically expect the taxpayers to mitigate potential losses or unrealised profits. Business is risk. That is greedy thinking.

    5. If you stay, you will have no infrastructure around you, and probably few neighbours. Why live in a community like that? You like liquefaction?

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  7. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Nice post iMP.

    Re that last point, I think I’m probably a lot more anti-social than you though… if red zone land was going dirt cheap, then the idea of buying up a dozen or so properties, building a house on driven piles in the middle one, with or without off-grid power & sewage as needed, and planting out the rest of the surrounding area with trees would definitely appeal. Lord of your own manor just minutes from Christchurch, no fricken neighbors close enough that you can see or hear them, I could get used to that!

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  8. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    It’s appealing RRM, and I won’t say I haven’t considered that for us. But the future liquefaction issues are big, no ability to insure, and infrastructure is a big part of quality of life (rubbish collection, clean water, sewage, mail delivery, etc.).

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  9. Parlyguy (22 comments) says:

    “I really don’t think there is a human right to require me (and other taxpayers) to purchase undeveloped or uninsured land that has been damaged in an earthquake.”

    Knowing what I do about the HRC – you can almost bet your last dollar that they’ll try to find a right that has been impinged upon…

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  10. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    Imp and RRM
    Excellent

    My family went through the 1931 Napier Earthquake, where my grandfather, who was the main brick and plastering contractor on the Napier (Waiapu) Anglican Cathedral then under construction was lucky to survive (a 30 ft fall in the bell tower).

    But 17 of his employees died in that building.

    My grandfather went belly-up (and, because he held himself to be partly to blame for the deaths, later took his own life) it took the family almost 10 years to make good repairs to the family home and move forward.

    Never has a nation been so generous to the victims of an earthquake as we have with Christchurch. I do not object to what has been given or spent. But still, they emulate DEAR OLIVER ….

    Frankly, they can get stuffed!

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  11. peterwn (3,275 comments) says:

    In light of various court decisions, I do wonder whether courts are granting judicial review too readily. There are two traditional reasons for judicial review:
    1. where a local or central government decision has not been arrived through proper process (eg if ‘consultation’ is required there must be genuine consultation.
    2. where the decision is outrageously unreasonable. Lawyers call this ‘Wednesbury’ unreasonableness – a cinema chain in UK in the 1940’s tried to argue that the Council’s banning of under 14yo kids from cinemas on Sundays was ‘unreasonable’ – held it was not outrageously unreasonable. Presumably the kids were expected to be at church or sunday school.

    Seems the courts are now more willing to review instances where the matter is entirely discretionary, such as whether ex gratia payments are made for those suffering natural hazards, jailed and subsequently found not guilty etc.

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  12. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    My family went through the 1931 Napier Earthquake, where my grandfather, who was the main brick and plastering contractor on the Napier (Waiapu) Anglican Cathedral then under construction was lucky to survive (a 30 ft fall in the bell tower).

    And there was me thinking that the cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1888.

    http://www.napiercathedral.org.nz/history.php

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  13. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    So now Key is threatening people who don’t except the Government’s offer. Where does he get off?

    Talk a about a smiling assassin.

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  14. capitald (72 comments) says:

    You can’t purchase insurance on Land. You purchase insurance on the things you put on land.

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  15. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    The best advice for people in this predicament is to take the money and move on, some compensation is better than none especially when the property values are now virtually nil.
    More interestingly though is what does the government propose to do with this land once the buildings and structures have been removed? Is this land suitable for agriculture? and could an income or revenue stream be created from it?

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  16. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    These very determined souls may have made a serious mistake. I assume their mortgagees will have something to say about this though I assume those with mortgages have been spoken to already. I also assume basic services will be withdrawn from some properties. The media will give them endless coverage. There may be scope for the offer to be extended for some.

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  17. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    They’re dirty capitalist landowners though Hamnida – don’t worry about them!

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  18. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    Cha Says:
    April 3rd, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    My family went through the 1931 Napier Earthquake, where my grandfather, who was the main brick and plastering contractor on the Napier (Waiapu) Anglican Cathedral then under construction was lucky to survive (a 30 ft fall in the bell tower).

    And there was me thinking that the cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1888.”

    Cha
    If you had half a brain you would know that the new Waiapu Cathedral was under construction at the foot of Shakespeare Road, Napier in 1931.

    It was destroyed by the earthquake.

    If you want to be a smart arse, I suggest you fuck off. Not only do insult me, you insult those who died.
    Lord, it must be something to be you!
    I cannot find adequately descriptive words to describe what you are.
    Go away, you toerag germ

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  19. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Thats right hamfucker, JK is personally – like face to face – walking around the red zone with a handgun waving it in their faces.

    You should go down there and sort him out. Go on, off you trot.

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  20. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    So Flipper, you say “Never has a nation been so generous to the victims of an earthquake as we have with Christchurch. I do not object to what has been given or spent. But still, they emulate DEAR OLIVER ….

    Frankly, they can get stuffed!”

    and then “Not only do insult me, you insult those who died.”

    I would suggest that your first comment should be greeted with your second.
    Oh, and I live in Christchurch. I lost a former student, two friends and three of my colleagues lost family members. Your suggestion that we “can get stuffed!” has come to pass. We live in a city that is buggered.
    We are grateful for the help we get, and there are a small group who ask for more, but in your comments, “Not only do insult me, you insult those who died.”

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  21. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    @hamnidav2 Are you able to prove you’re not drunk right now? Admittedly your typing is relatively error free but the combination of the words you type could only come from someone seriously mentally incapacitated. Or you work for the Labour Party. Or both.

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  22. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    Obviously someone is making shit up, the Diocese of Waiapu or you?.

    On February 3rd 1931, while communion was being served, the building was totally destroyed by earthquake with the loss of one life.

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  23. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    Lloyd…
    You do not understand the resentment that some folks in the North Island (I do not include myself or any family member), on low incomes with no prospects, have over the bail-out of ChCh. They pay their insurance, their rates and other standing costs, many with great personal sacrifice and NO ASSIUSTANCE WHATSOEVER FROM THE STATE.
    What is legally due, is due. No arguments from them, or me,

    But when uninsured arseholes front up and demand, yes demand Lloyd, coverage, or when red zone idiots reject generous assistance by way of ex gratia payments, I say the rest of NZ has done enough.

    Pull your head in Lloyd. I am sorry that you suffered.
    But you chose to live there and we others have helped beyond our legal and moral obligations.

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  24. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Oh spare us. I love my old hometown and grieve for what has disappeared but the earthquake hasn’t created a superior form of being, above criticism or rational action. That was an argument used against poor Hekia – don’t rebuild our school system because we have suffered enough. Emotional blackmail of the worst kind.
    Rising crime, insurance fraud, construction fraud, whining for more, lambasting people who are trying to do their human best – we have also seen an ugly side to the aftermath.
    I despise those like Lianne Dalziel who last night was suggesting the Govt was stealing people’s land. I resent that the incredible generosity of the rest of the country is treated with such contempt. It is sad to see greed and stupidity being exploited by the media.
    I think Christchurch deserves all the help we can give but we are generally low paid citizens of a not very rich country. We can only try our best and I think there needs to be some more balance in what we hear. It’s a pity the Opposition didn’t make this a politics-free zone so everyone could have worked together.

    But I know history will be very kind to Gerry.

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  25. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    CHA
    You are so thick.

    During construction there were infrequent prayer meetings and ” mini services” in various finished and semi finished parts of the building.

    But formal Holy Communion in an unfinished, unconsecrated building, at the time of the earthquake (about 11am from memory)? No, whatever history you quote from it is wrong or misleading.

    Moreover, the old cathedral was still in use.

    What are you on Cha? And what is your point?
    I think you just have it mind to be personally insulting for reasons that only you know. That, is offensive.
    Go back from whence you came, germ.

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  26. UrbanNeocolonialist (289 comments) says:

    I think it’s pretty unjust of the govt to be expropriating property rights and not compensating to the original value. Doesn’t happen anywhere else in nz (eg house bought for motorways in Auckland got full value).

    The red zone is a stupid idea – we are just witnessing a typical post calamity over-reaction. There are a ton of higher insurance risk areas around the country – like most of wellington, houses sitting at the base of muddy hillsides throughout the country, areas at risk from fire (eg wellington again), near tsunami prone beaches, in the middle of active volcanic fields (Auckland) on flood plains etc, so let the market sort it out. If people want to build there and live there or repair existing houses then let them – as long as nobody else has to pay to cover their problems in future. They may struggle to get insurance (but then again probably not given how infrequent earthquakes actually are in chch over the long term), and you can build houses to cope with the rare occurrence of liquefaction, but given low frequency it is probably not worth it.

    If reconnecting services in the red zone is the problem then let them look after their own water and sewage – things that people have to do in rural areas anyway, or let them pay for the reconnection and any further costs in case of another major earthquake.

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  27. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    You do not understand the resentment that some folks in the North Island (I do not include myself or any family member), on low incomes with no prospects, have over the bail-out of ChCh

    Probably not unlike the dislike much of New Zealand has for Aucklands occassional demands we pay for it’s infrastructure, or Wellingtons gift of Te Papa at the nations expense.

    I think the governments offer on purchasing land is generous and while most New Zealanders probably agree that it’s a contribution to recovery they don’t mind I expect they’d often have been perfectly happy to offer less as well.

    100% of recently rated value for developed but now uncertainly valued land is a compassionate offer and anyone holding out for more is being foolish.

    That some bought the property for more than that is just bad luck. Earthquakes are like that and I think if any are demanding to be made whole by people who owe them no such duty they are being a bit precious.

    However I suspect there may be some reasonable disputes over whether certain properties ought be ‘Red Zoned’. It’s likely that a blanket classification may have been applied inappropriately on occasion and perhaps there is some room to dispute it in some places.

    A question that interests me is the position of insurers where complete replacement policies are involved. A person whose property could in theory be repaired for less than replacement cost but whose property is hampered by absence of utilities by being Red Zoned and possibly restricted by an inability of obtaining certain certificates may have cause for complaint if their circumstance is in practice one where complete replacement is required.

    However if it turns out the legal resolution is in their insurers favour then the governments offer still stands as generous – we might all agree that a government rezoning or legislating on land use could be obligated to reimburse people harmed by the decision but fewer of us would agree a government has an obligation to improve an insured position.

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  28. david (2,557 comments) says:

    UN (4:43pm)
    That is exactly what is happening. They are more than welcome to stay on their plots of substandard dirt as far as I am concerned. Just as long as they are clear about the conditions – no roads, no sewers, no power, no water.

    As someone who went through a leaky homes case against Auckland City I am extremely envious of the level of compensation that has been offered. The constant whinging about unfairness though really winds me up. Life is unfair and they should get over it or it will destroy them.

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  29. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    This issue is bringing to the surface (like liquefaction) the cradle to grave cotton-wool entitlement mentality of many NZers, which all began with Savage’s welfare state and was sugar coated by Muldoon’s universal superann. electorate bribe. Modernity is ending and we will simply be faced more-and-more with the realities of life.

    I worked out today I am getting $300 less a week now than I did in 1992 when I had no degree. Now I have three (and loan rebates off the diminished salary I do receive). Should I be compensated?

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  30. duggledog (1,559 comments) says:

    That’s right iMP I worry for the many many people that count the Government into their future immediate or distant. Only a fool would think there is going to be enough money going forward to satisfy all the accoutrements we have become accustomed to. These are the good old days right now I think. Something’s got to give

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  31. Crampton (215 comments) says:

    Guys, I agree that the government shouldn’t be bailing out who didn’t bother to get insurance. But that isn’t everything that’s going on with the Red Zone. And, I think if Labour had done what National’s doing in Christchurch, you same people would be calling for blood.

    The government has decided to red-zone properties. While it’s fine to say that the land couldn’t be built on, the government has effectively taken that choice away from landowners. It’s a very very large expropriation. Further, the government hasn’t said what they’re going to do with the land later on. It will be very very tempting for the government to remediate the land and sell it back to property developers so that they’re not sitting on a big useless landholding in Christchurch. There will be no compensation for current landowners when the government flips that property on. Same for the green belt around the east side of town. The land is fine, but the government’s saying, “Nah, you can’t have it anymore. Negotiate, but we’ll force you to sell at our valuation. And by the way, we’ve killed all the local land values by zoning, nyah nyah nyah nyah pfft.”

    Further, EQC is an utter disaster. There’s nothing left in the pot for when Wellington gets hit, and I see no evidence that anybody’s moving to fix EQC to a practicable system for the next event.

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  32. Daffyd (1 comment) says:

    I hated being re-zoned to red last August. I’m losing 30 years of creating a home I’m proud of. I’m fortunate that my financial loss isn’t too great, although the new section and house are quite a bit smaller than what we had. I wouldn’t mind being paid out at current prices though.

    There’s a lot of anger and resentment in this thread. Much of it appears to come from people with little understanding of the complexities involved, and of what it means to be caught up in a disaster.

    I have friends who have done very nicely out of the earthquakes, I have others who are being shafted by a combination of inadequate legislation, shifting interpretations of the rules, poor implementation and a fair amount of slithering away from responsibility.

    Most red zoners tried to take some uncertainty out of their lives by paying for replacement insurance. The policies say that if you lose your house because of an earthquake it will be rebuilt. This is not social welfare, it’s a contract. If my car is involved in a crash and the assessor says we can fix up the panels but the chassis is stuffed so you won’t get a warrant what do you think I should expect from my insurance company? Of course a few car crashes won’t really affect their bottom line. Losing my house is a bit more complicated. There’s a clause in my policy which says that if I lose it because of a decision “under proper authority” under the EQ act, then I get replacement. The red zone decision was made under the CERA act, the clause doesn’t apply. The EQ act is unique, and a wonderful thing, but it’s not perfect. Having EQC responsible for most of the land and the first $100,000 worth of damage leaves enough wriggle room for a saltwater crocodile.

    The real point is that people who have taken the same actions to protect their investment are getting widely different results depending on some or all of where they live, the actual damage to their land, bureaucratic decisions over the zoning of their land made on an area-wide not individual basis, the extent of the damage (often more is better), which insurance company they are with, the ability and approach of their assessor(s) and whether they have pockets deep enough for a good lawyer.

    Last point – there’s been some comment about other people around New Zealand who resent paying for Christchurch when they are themselves poor and badly served by our economy. We can’t subserve all other goals in pursuit of economic “growth” and expect a healthy society.

    Don’t blame Christchurch, it’s the economy, stupid. And anyway, it may well be your turn for the next disaster.

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