Keep prices fair, Key to tell builders

10:01 am on 9 September 2010

Builders in Canterbury will be asked to keep prices fair and reasonable during reconstruction efforts, and not rip people off, Prime Minister John Key told Parliament on Wednesday.

Labour's deputy leader, Annette King, used the example of the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake after which, she says, prices increased dramatically.

Ms King asked Mr Key whether the Government intended taking action to ensure that building costs did not go through the roof.

Earlier, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said there were thousands of unemployed people in Christchurch who could help rebuild the city.

She said there were opportunities for Work and Income to help those unemployed people find work. That could be through an enhanced Taskforce Green programme.

State housing checks

Housing Minister Phil Heatley says Housing New Zealand has made contact with nearly all of its 6000 tenants in Canterbury.

Wednesday morning's 5.1 aftershock alone generated 880 work requests for damaged chimneys and hot water cylinders and jammed doors and windows.

Mr Heatley says 200 properties have been identified as needing high-priority repairs, and Housing New Zealand is working to locate emergency housing while the work is done.