Abandoned red-zoners struggle with uncertainty

  • 14/07/2015
The council has confirmed services won't be shut off while the locals remain ratepayers (file)
The council has confirmed services won't be shut off while the locals remain ratepayers (file)

By 3 News online staff

Christchurch red-zoners are still in limbo and struggling to cope as a long-running battle between residents and the Government plays out in the country's highest courts.

Around 200 people still live in red zones across Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Brooklands, Pines Beach and Kairaki, and many still don't know if essential services like water and power will be cut off in the future, Radio New Zealand reports.

The legal battle was brought by a group known as the Quake Outcasts and has been a thorn in the Government's side, going through the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court over the past few months.

Many homeowners are affected by rules relating to their vacant or uninsured land, and were initially offered just half of the full pay-out given to most people living in the red zone.

The Government recently proposed bumping the vacant and uninsured offer up to 80 percent of 2007 rateable value but it's still in consideration, and in the meantime, residents continue to live in suburbs which have been largely abandoned.

Brooklands resident Pierre Kickhefer told Radio New Zealand the Government's low-ball offer would have left him in a financial "disaster".

"They're going to have to drag me out of here in chains."

Nearby Kaiapoi resident Brent Cairns told the broadcaster he has decided to stay permanently.

"We've been living in a fair bit of hell but we're now looking for the future," he said.

"For the red zones to be turned into something for the community, something that's going to add value to the community as opposed to a negative."

A spokesperson from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority was unable to confirm when the future of the red zone would be decided.

The council has confirmed services won't be shut off while the locals remain ratepayers.

3 News