Homeowners fear heavy losses from quake payouts

8:58 am on 25 June 2011

Christchurch homeowners have told earthquake officials they face heavy losses under the Government's property payout scheme.

The Government has offered to pay out 5100 residents on the most severely quake-damaged land at the 2007 rating valuation.

At the first of a series of neighbourhood meetings of for homeowners in the newly announced residential red zone on Friday, many residents told officials their houses are worth more than the payout offer. They said they will have to continue seeking settlement with insurance companies.


The worst-affected are those with land that is condemned but whose houses insurance assessors have deemed repairable.

The companies won't pay for full replacement, only for repairs, forcing owners to accept the Government payout. Many said on Friday they'll lose tens of thousands of dollars.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery chief executive Roger Sutton admits there will be winners and losers and some people will be left in a financial hole.

"The insurance companies are thinking about that at the moment, and some of the questions are hard, some of them are unique but some of them are common." he says. "We need to try and make sure people have actually got support so they can actually get answers to their questions as quickly as possible. It is a hole, it is a hole."

Mr Sutton says he's dealing with common circumstances first before turning to other problems.

Representatives at meeting

He was at the first public meeting, at Linwood School North on Woodham Rd on Friday afternoon, together with representatives of insurance companies, geotechnical engineers from the firm Tonkin and Taylor, and temporary accommodation providers.

The media has been banned from recording or filming in the meetings in order that people are not deterred from asking questions about their personal circumstances.

Mr Sutton earlier told Morning Report that people would be presented with detailed information about the land in their area and what the zoning means for them.

Mr Sutton says while the priority lies with those worst hit after the first earthquake last September, there are 10,000 households in the orange and white zones which need advice, and engineers will continue to visit these properties.

Recovery authority representatives are also visiting neighbourhoods, and community hubs are being set up where people can seek help.

Further meetings will be held in other residential red zone areas over the coming days.

The are scheduled to be held at Brooklands Community Hall, St Albans Baptist Church, Linwood North School, Chisnallwood Intermediate School, Parklands Baptist Church Hall, Roy Stokes Hall in New Brighton and Kaiapoi High School. People should call 0800 77 9997 for further details.

Some land closer to water table - engineer

The engineering firm tasked with classifying quake-affected properties in Christchurch says it's confident it has got the classifications right, even though neighbours often fall into different zones.

The geotech specialist who has led the land assessment for environmental and engineering consultancy Tonkin & Taylor, Nick Rogers, says some properties have sunk closer to the water table, increasing the risk of liquefaction.

He says there are variations in the way the land has behaved both along the Avon River and at right angles to it, which can change from one property to the next.