Canterbury property owners refuse Govt offer


More than 100 property owners are refusing to accept a Government offer to buy their red-zoned land in Canterbury, even though the deadline expired an hour ago.

The Government's already spent $1.5 billion buying red zone land, and there are many reasons why some are still holding out.

Brent and Shirley Cairns are happy in the red zone.

It might be a bit lonely but they love the area. Insurance has paid out for their house, and they're expecting EQC to cover their land damage. They've even adopted a stray cat.

"We chose right from the start not to accept the government offer because we would be set to lose just way too much money and we took our democratic right and chose not to accept the offer," says Mr Cairns.

"It was a bit sad watching the neighbourhood disappear in the beginning and distressing at times watching a house go down the road on the back of a truck knowing that house could've been repaired," says Ms Cairns.

Almost 8000 properties were red-zoned in Christchurch and Waimakariri, north of the city.  More than 95 percent of owners have now accepted the Crown offer.

Leanne Curtis is part of a support group for those affected by the quakes. She says those still holding out in the red-zone are staying for a variety of reasons.

"There's those people that want to stay and made an active choice to stay, those protesting the Government process, there are vacant land owners," says Leanne Curtis from CanCern Group.

"It's been quite complex over a large amount of time. It's involved making offers to people if they want to accept them, subsequent to that it's been the demolition of buildings," says Cera head John Ombler.

Almost five and a half years since the earthquakes started, demolitions are continuing. Another 32 will be done in the flat-land red zone areas, and more than 260 in the Port Hills Red Zone.

Cera no longer manages the red zone - that's now being done by Land Information New Zealand.

No decision's been made on its future, that'll happen after the Government's called for ideas.

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