April 2012- CERA’s ‘Recovery’ is Anything But

Christchurch, New Zealand – Canterbury Earthquake ‘Recovery’ Authority’s ‘Recovery’ is anything but. For the thousands of home owners whose homes are condemned by CERA, their worries are just getting worse with the approaching deadline to vacate their homes.

CERA, the authoritarian government department set up ostensibly to help rebuild Christchurch is dealing with red-zoned home owners in bad faith.

The recent Legal Opinion from Lane Neave Lawyers confirms that the government’s red zone purchase offers though technically voluntary, are “in substance compulsory.”

The Legal Opinion’s author, Dr Duncan Webb, further outlined the actions that the government and councils have already taken, or will take, to ensure that staying put will be incredibly difficult for anyone who dares defy the authority. Among these actions include shutting down of essential services even though people still live there.

Owners of uninsured homes and empty sections that are red-zoned by CERA are not even being offered a buyout, but essentially have their properties condemned.

Quake Outcasts, a residents’ group formed mainly by section owners and uninsured home owners is considering legal options after months of non-response from CERA and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to discuss the issues.

In contrast to the half-baked CERA policies, flood-affected homeowners in Australia are being offered pre-flood market prices for their homes, based solely on flood-susceptibility, regardless of insurance status. Homeowners in the Brisbane City Buy-back Scheme are given independent valuation and are not being forced to leave their homes if they aren’t interested in moving.

What makes the Aussie policy makers more sensible than Kiwis? No wonder fed-up Kiwis are flocking over to Australia more than ever before. We call on the government to re-think its recovery strategy and reverse the course of the runaway train called CERA.