March 2012- Quake Policies Testaments to Govt’s Overuse of Discretionary Power

Christchurch, New Zealand – Recent quake zoning announcement made by the government continues the trail of secretive decision making. Confidence in Cera’s and the government’s policy-making is being eroded by their own actions.

In the latest round of zoning announcement, all but one property that happens to be a multi-million dollar mansion were zoned ‘red.’

The lucky green-zoned property on Bangor Street is comprised of four sections totalling over 4,000 sq. m. The section containing the mansion alone is valued at $2.6 million dollars, making the entire property value at well over $3.5 million dollars.

In early March Gerry Brownlee overruled engineers’ advice to green zone these 252 properties.

It seems Mr Brownlee was bent on a set decision in his mind and sent engineers to work on the figures until the results are to his liking.

The buyout offer for some red zone properties also seems discretionary.

In mid December, 2011 the government quietly decided it will extend the buyout offer to commercial retirement villages it zoned red. Prior to that Mr Brownlee refused to make the buyout offer to the villages citing the reason that retirement villages are not “insured residential properties.”

It was interesting to see how talks of lawsuits prompted the policy makers to do a one-eighty and changed their previously arrogant stance.

Uninsured homes and sections that are red zoned by government are not being offered a buyout. Quake Outcasts’ repeated attempts to communicate with Cera and Minister Brownlee to discuss the issue have gone unanswered.

In contrast to the arrogant policy, flood-affected homeowners across the ditch 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.