Government mulls buying land for housing in Christchurch

Article – BusinessDesk

March 7 (BusinessDesk) – The Government is mulling whether to buy land in existing Christchurch sub-divisions to offer to people whose homes are on land no longer suitable for housing after the Feb. 22 earthquake.

Government mulls buying land for housing in Christchurch

By Pattrick Smellie

March 7 (BusinessDesk) – The Government is mulling whether to buy land in existing Christchurch sub-divisions to offer to people whose homes are on land no longer suitable for housing after the Feb. 22 earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key told a post-Cabinet press conference that the option was being considered among others as an approach to rehousing people whose homes are on ruined land, especially in the eastern suburbs.

“There will be parts of Christchurch where the option is simply to take a cheque or say ‘here is a subdivision, you can choose a site and a building plan” consistent with the homeowner’s earthquake insurance, including the Earthquake Commission’s $120,000 for home replacement and contents.

“Some parts of Christchurch just won’t be able to be built on.”

The only upside in the situation for affected homeowners would be that their rehousing should be quicker than the process envisaged after the less destructive quake on Sept. 4, which involved remediating land for rebuilding, demolition of existing structures, and reconstruction.

“Now people may just be moving to another section.”

While some 10,000 Christchurch were likely to require demolition, far fewer than that would be on sites where rebuilding was not possible, Key said.

He also announced a national day of mourning on Friday, March 18, a new provincial holiday in Canterbury, and a memorial service in Hagley Park that afternoon.

The government was also working on a new, more centralised process for the Christchurch reconstruction effort, compared with the relatively smaller task left by the Sept. 4 quake.

“There will be stronger, more direct government involvement.”

Key also told reporters that Parliament will resume deliberations on the controversial Marine and Coastal Areas Bill, replacing existing foreshore and seabed legislation, this week.

(BusinessDesk)

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