Newshub Nation: No time frame for buyout decisions on red-stickered Muriwai homes

Monday may bring hope for hundreds of flood-affected Aucklanders as 400 households will be told whether their ruined houses qualify for a Government buy-out.

But there's no such certainty for the residents of Muriwai, on the city's west coast.

About 100 homes have been red-stickered there due to landslides and the owners have been told there's no time frame for buyout decisions.

Newshub Nation's Simon Shepherd went to the ravaged beach community to hear the heartbreaking stories of residents there - and the physical scars are confronting. 

So too the memories of the night Cyclone Gabrielle hit Muriwai. 

"When the lights went out, we heard a noise like an aircraft coming over the top of the house," said resident Abe Dew. 

His wife Maria Dew said: "The noise was just like something you'd see in a film if you were in a war film and there was a plane coming over [the] top of the house, and it was about a metre above and it was about to drop a bomb on your front lawn."

That evening, two volunteer firefighters died and a close-knit community was devastated. 

About 100 homes were red stickered, including Maria and Abe's. 

Their house was unscathed but their neighbour's house and hillside had come crashing down, making theirs unlivable.

"Essentially hundreds of thousands of tonnes of soil and water and trees just wiped off the land," Abe said. 

Maria, Abe and their four children never thought they might have to leave. 

"You can't in all conscience raise a family of four kids in a place which could fall on top of them at a moment's notice," Abe said 

"And if you're terrified of the rain, you can't live on the west coast."

Cameron Dick was in his Henderson home as the Auckland anniversary floods hit. 

The white community stream broke its stop bank.

"We can sort of see that it was roughly chest height, so the water was about 1.5m high inside," he said. 

Dick's house was red stickered and stripped bare. 

He has insurance but that's no defence when the floods keep coming.

Dick said his house has been hit by flooding "four times since January or late January. So four times in four months, roughly. 

"It's pretty horrific."

But Cameron might be lucky. 

He's hoping he might be one of the fortunate 400 who qualify for a Government offer when they're announced on Monday.

"We're not expecting it to be a massive home run when we get it first if we get a buyout opportunity," Cameron said. "So it'll still be a long way to go in terms of negotiating but obviously a buyout at market value would be what we think is fair and reasonable," he said.

However, Dick predicts, "come Monday there's going to be quite a lot of happy people or a lot of unhappy people, depending on what situation we've been put into from here".

It will be a different situation for the people of Muriwai. They're also expecting a letter.

Maria said she "expects that that letter will say that we will have to wait until August, September until the geotechnical assessment has been done before the process of categorisation and consultation can begin". 

"Central Government's going to be breaking up for the election, so council can't talk to [the] Government about how to solve this problem, probably until December," said Abe.

Maria and Abe are also caught in a tricky insurance situation since their house was untouched. 

They've got no payout but it's been red stickered - so they can't live in it. 

Since the landslip was not near their house, they get no payout from the Earthquake Commission either. 

In reality, a managed retreat buyout is their only option. 

While they wait for a decision they also worry for the community. 

They have rallied, set up a trust, a website and social media to keep up the public pressure but now the affected residents are running out of money.

"We've been months without any kind of income support," Abe said. 

"People will be paying rent and mortgages and that's going to push local families, many of them, just over the edge with properties they can't sell and properties that they can't be mortgaged out of either because the banks can't get rid of them, which is horrific, horrific."

Watch the full video for more. 

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