Jan 2012- Red Zone Policy Shows Fiscal Conservatism Gone Awry

Christchurch, New Zealand- While the residential buy out offer is being touted by government as generous, cabinet papers released recently suggest it is anything but.

Incredibly the buy out intentionally excluded uninsured homeowners and vacant land owners, leaving their properties condemned and equities frozen.

For those eligible, residents are required to surrender their home insurance policies to the Crown. These are valued at up to or above the ratings valuation for the home, depending on the extent of damage and policy wording.

In government’s own cabinet papers the thrift sentiment is clear- that crown expenditure is limited to the shortfall between insurance proceeds and the rateable value.

The papers also say that the offer would “protect the Crown’s interests because the Crown would be assigned unrealised insurance policies.”

The government’s attention to fiscal conservatism should be applauded; however the over-zealous red zone policies are wreaking havoc in many people’s lives.

Many would have fared far better if they were left alone and allowed to move on with repairs or rebuilds, instead of having to take on extra debt and/or downsize.

In the haste to respond to the earthquakes the government seems to have applied fiscal conservatism to the extreme, at the expense of affected residents.

Regardless of the intentions, the effects of these policies are infringing on our civil liberties of freely choosing where to live. The decision-making process also abrogated the rights of the people affected.