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Speaker: Sharks Dine Out on Christchurch’s Red Zoners

64 Responses

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  • David Haywood,

    Nice piece, Mike! I think you've captured the dilemma that many of us Red Zoners now find ourselves in...

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 953 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Somehow, the Australian government forced insurance companies to rebuild homes on new land after the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake but ‘little’ New Zealand is being held to ransom by Corporate America and Europe.

    Perhaps the Aussies weren't quite so desperate for big daddy's approval.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16270 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    The comparison with the Newcastle quake is interesting, as it's a similar-sized city to Christchurch. Unlike Christchurch there was one large quake, followed by a single aftershock. Perhaps the most significant difference, from an insurance point of view, is that no real requirement for earthquake resistance has since been incorporated into local building codes, and none of the damaged areas have been declared off-limits for rebuilding.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3325 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    Perhaps the Aussies weren't quite so desperate for big daddy's approval.

    The advantages of a bit more critical mass, and ongoing risk assessment based on different conditions?

    It's a horrible state of affairs Mike, and there's little comfort to be drawn from knowing that a significant number of those currently in the orange and white zones will eventually find themselves in a situation much like yours.

    Since the announcement of the "package" Brownlee has shown a maddening tendency to traipse behind events. It's insulting to people in your situation to be invited to present your ideas for a rebuilt Christchurch when your life is unravelling. There's a nasty feeling that if something doesn't happen soon CERA may prove a poisoned chalice for Roger Sutton.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3325 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    Don't worry, Labour is going to help you by exempting you from CGT for 5 years!

    Seriously though, it is an awful situation that is going to lead to windfall gains for city-margin landowners.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    How about... the government appropriates the land from property developers and exchanges like for like with Red Zoners?

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    The property developers know this and have begun to buy up land.

    Im just shaking my head in disbelief.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1155 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Our options in the Red Zone are these:

    (d) Shift away from Christchurch?

    I think I fully understand that not being an option for many, though.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Red-zoners - effectively refugees in their own country.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4058 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Who owns the Red Zone now?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to merc,

    Who owns the Red Zone now?

    "Commercial sensitivity. We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4058 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    Great piece. We are in the "orange but going to turn red" zone and will be facing this ourselves in the coming months. The rest of the country really needs to pay close attention to what's going on here.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    be tough with the insurance companies

    The problem is that philosophically Brownlee and the National party don't believe that it is appropriate to "be tough with" a big business.

    Big Businesses are the very definition of what they believe is the right way to do things. Hard nosed bargaining that screws over ordinary folk is to be admired. It is the ordinary folks own fault for not having better lawyers. It is that very shark like behaviour that they believe is of benefit to New Zealand in the long run.

    Similarly the property developers are the kind of people they believe are good for the New Zealand economy and so hindering them in any way is bad for New Zealand. Self interested go-getters are good.

    It's very hard to argue with such an irrational belief structure, However, they do admire good lawyering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to izogi,

    (d) Shift away from Christchurch?

    And go where? Somewhere cheaper? Oamaru? Invercargill?

    Great piece, Mike, I hope the govt realises this issue isn’t going to go away. I think CERA using its powers to acquire substitute land is the best idea*. Otherwise so many homeowners in the Red Zone just won’t have anywhere to go.

    *Presumably they can recoup some of this cost when currently Red Zoned land is remediated and sold, a few years down the track.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    they do admire good lawyering

    As someone observed in another thread, when the engineers have declared red zones in some of the expensive hill suburbs, then the fancy lawyers will be out in force.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    National will do what they always do, let the "free Market" sort it all out. Can't you just feel that invisible hand between your butt cheeks?.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • MikeC,

    The Red Zone needs more than National throwing money at it and leaving people to the market. Gerry's response to this article is in the mainland news. Unbelievable and you all need to read it. Basically he says 200000 mortgage is nothing for folk only like paying rent!!! He said this and My tax is paying him.
    Thanks for feedback folks. Lawyers would be out in force if these districts had more folk 'well heeled". And is it just me thinking.....The East Red Zone is Red...and will account for little this election!!!

    Avonside • Since Jul 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to MikeC,

    Do you have a site ref for that please MikeC?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • MikeC, in reply to Islander,

    Hi. Only in hard print at mo but will try get editor to email me copy and post

    Avonside • Since Jul 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to MikeC,

    Thank you!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall,

    Rent and be at the mercy of the landlord sharks

    Perhaps landlords in Christchurch are a nasty bunch but this is probably overstating it a little. Remember what got these people into trouble is having all their wealth (actually more than that with the mortgage) tied up in a single, immovable asset which despite their best efforts (insurance) was vulnerable to being badly hurt.

    Part of the solution might be higher density, cheaper to rent units/flats rather than attempting to re-house everybody on a 1/4 acre section. But I suspect that people (potential tenants and NIMBY neighbours) will reject this option.

    Should be be encouraging poor and retired people to invest all their money in over-priced housing?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    Perhaps landlords in Christchurch are a nasty bunch but this is probably overstating it a little.

    Like all generalisations it's a bit of an overstatement. I know of someone who's had to relocate recently thanks to quake damage, and their new landlady's a real angel. For people in Mike Coleman's position though, being beholden to any landlord represents the loss of the security that they've striven to achieve and insured in good faith to retain.

    Unfortunately Gerry Brownlee and Roger Sutton don't address any of Mike's concerns in today's CERA media briefing. Brownlee has mercifully dropped the residual swagger he displayed at the time of his appointment as Earthquake Recovery Minister, though lesser figures haven't been above a bit of pointscoring.

    CERA chief Roger Sutton is offering the My Housing Options Expo at the end of the month. I imagine that those who are still coming to grips with the realisation that their full home replacement policy has vanished into a convenient loophole will be a tad underwhelmed at the prospect of further discussing their situation with industry reps in an expo venue.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3325 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    It is simple. We talked about it earlier. Prevent the selling of empty sections within 50km of the Red Zone by no more than a percentage of the 2007 rateable value per year from now. Lets say 20% as a quickie guess.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Or, as someone just suggested to me in person, freeze the land values at their February 21st asking price and treat any subsequent price rises as profiteering.

    Not necessarily endorsing this idea (I haven't had time to think through the consequences) but it would appear to have some virtues.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 953 posts Report Reply

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