2 Oct 2013

Compulsory acquisition powers invoked in Christchurch

6:50 pm on 2 October 2013

The Government has resorted to its powers of compulsory acquisition to take over land in the centre of Christchurch.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has for the first time exercised his post-earthquake powers to take over the land the Government wants for its blueprint of the future central business district.

The Crown owns 55% of the total land area it requires for the anchor projects, including a justice precinct, convention centre and sports stadium, which equates to 171 of the 345 properties.

Mr Brownlee said all purchases had been based on independent expert advice on fair values for land and built property.

However, the Government has reached the point where it needs to compulsorily acquire a small number of properties.

A proclamation has been signed for the compulsory acquisition of properties at nine addresses in the northern-most four blocks of land designated for the new East Frame. Further compulsory acquisitions are likely to follow in other anchor project areas.

Ernest Duval, spokesperson for Christchurch property owners' group City Owners Rebuild Entity, said there were discrepancies between the Government's offer and landowners' values for the land.

"There's significant variations between the Crown's offer and the valuations that they (owners) have," Mr Duval said.

"The principle problem is that the Crown is the buyer of the land. The Crown also sets the terms and conditions and the Crown sets the price."

Mr Duval said he knew of variations reaching into millions of dollars, or as much as $1200 per square metre for the same piece of land.

The Crown's valuers, Colliers and Telfer Young, were using evidence from sales they had concluded in the area, whereas property owners are using valuations based on the open market, he said.