The Government says if it offered to pay owners of uninsured or vacant land in Christchurch a full rateable value, it would set an unfair precedent.
It is appealing against a High Court ruling in August this year that an offer of 50% to 46 red zone owners was not according to law and should be set aside.
Crown lawyer David Goddard, QC, told the Court of Appeal the offer of 50% of the 2007 land value was put forward on the basis that there were no legal consequences.
He says it was more about giving red zone owners choice to sell and move on with their lives.
Mr Goddard says 100% was considered early on, but ruled out as it would be unfair to land owners who had insurance.
On Thursday, lawyers representing a group of owners calling themselves the "Quake Outcasts" will make their submission.