19 May 2015

Govt 'should help' red-zoned in Franz Josef

11:18 am on 19 May 2015

The Government needs to step in and help those who were red-zoned yesterday, a business owner in Franz Joseph says.

Independent commissioners have backed the Westland District Council's plan to create a 200 metre wide earthquake safety zone through the village as it runs along the alpine fault rupture line.

It means businesses and homes in the zone can continue to operate but will not be able to expand.

Franz Joseph has a population of 441 people and supermarket owner, Mark Williams, said the move was unfair.

Mr Williams said he understood the need for action, but being red-zoned had left his business unsaleable.

"We've virtually been red-zoned, pay us to get out, and relocate somewhere else, I mean just so we can operate our businesses."

The Labour Party said people affected by the new earthquake building restrictions had every right to ask the Government for compensation.

Labour's West Coast MP, Damien O'Connor, said the local council lacked the resources to offer compensation.

"EQC may be able to assist with any costs of removal of their assets, or shifting to other places. These are things we'll have to work through with locals down there."

Mr O'Connor said businesses cannot be allowed to fall over because of the plan.

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