June 2012- Distressed Home Owners Asking for Help from the Queen

Christchurch, New Zealand – Quake Outcasts, a group of Christchurch and Canterbury residents are calling on red zone home owners to write to the Queen requesting justice and the upholding of New Zealand and international law regarding private property ownership.

“Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and the minister for earthquake recovery have proven to be unwilling or unable to respond to repeated cries for fair treatment, and owners of uninsured homes and empty sections that are red-zoned by CERA are not even being offered a buyout.”

“Essentially people’s rights to private property are being cast aside and properties are being condemned. Some of these homes and their land have only minor damage and are perfectly fine to live in. Forced removal of people from their land and homes with no or unfair compensation is contrary to the fundamental principles of our legal system and human rights” says the group.

Quake Outcasts notes in its most recent full pager community newspaper advert that owners of insured homes cannot get on with repairs or rebuilding because CERA has removed that option. By red-zoning these homes, the government devalues them and then make a take-it-or-leave-it offer. The government is using flawed criteria for red zoning, one of which is an arbitrary cost calculation formula that defies common sense, the group also asserts.

The buy out offer for select homes in the red zone is structured in a coercive and unfair manner. The group will explain to the Queen.

CER legislation has unprecedented authority exceeding many examples of Prevention of Terrorism powers in developing nations, and this government department set up to help rebuild Christchurch, is in its regard to private property proven to be dealing with red-zoned home owners in bad faith.

The Authority and the minister have stonewalled all requests for fair treatment and consultation regarding the condemnation of homes. The ‘Recovery’ is starting to sound like an empty PR slogan. For the thousands of home owners whose homes are condemned by CERA, their worries just keep getting worse with the approaching deadline to vacate their homes.

Quake Outcasts will also provide alternative policy framework recommendations, which if adopted, will steer the country on the right course of real recovery.