Quake-hit farmers still in caravans and tents

4:13 pm on 18 January 2017

Farming families left with seriously damaged homes by 14 November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake are being offered temporary housing units by the government.

The units, which are no longer needed in Christchurch, can be bought for $25,000.

Gary Melville's house was badly damaged in the Kaikoura earthquake.

A number of homes, including this house in Kaikōura, were badly damaged by the 14 November earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake the government established four temporary villages, with 124 homes, in parks in Linwood and Rawhiti in Christchurch and in neighbouring Waimakariri.

The units were built to rent out to people who had to leave their homes due to quake damage or during repairs.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith today announced 20 units from the Rawhiti village would be offered to farmers who needed alternative accommodation while their homes were repaired but for practical reasons had to stay on their land.

There were 18 farmers in the Hurunui district, five in the Kaikōura district and five in Marlborough who could potentially benefit from the package, he said.

Dr Smith said the farmers would be given the option of buying a unit for $24,510, excluding the cost of relocating it to their farm - which could range from $20,000 to $30,000.

Temporary housing units

The government will offer to sell temporary housing units to affected farmers. Photo: RNZ / Maja Burry

He added that it might not be economically viable to relocate homes through the Lewis Pass to Marlborough.

The Rural Support Trust's North Canterbury chairperson, Doug Archbold, said he hoped the package would bring some relief to the families displaced by the November earthquake.

"The overriding issue has been issues around housing, particularly with families with young children... We've even got one family, where for a time, they were actually [living] in a hay shed.

"Hopefully this offer is taken up," he said.

A handful of people were still living in primitive accommodation such as caravans and tents, he said.

Mr Archbold said it was important quake-hit farmers found suitable housing before winter.

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