As of last night the most useful practical summary was in The Herald here. The piece leads with the headline that, while many now have a concrete deal in front of them, twice as many do not:
5100 lose homes, 10,500 in limbo
More than 5000 Christchurch homeowners now know their quake-hit homes will not be repaired and will be paid out, but another 10,500 have been left in limbo after the Government outlined today where rebuilding could happen.
At 3 News Duncan Garner notes:
It’s not a bad deal for Christchurch residents, but “more people haven’t been looked after today than have been looked after”. … But while those classed in the ‘red zone’ now have closure, the Government should be wary of the possible backlash from the 10,500 home owners who haven’t been granted that relief. … “Those people may not be happy at the election and try to vote National out.”
Even for those in the red zone, it is going to be up to eight weeks before the formal process gets under way. That’s going to be a long eight weeks in winter.
In other coverage, Stuff highlights an example of the kind of incongruous situation that is going to be commonplace:
Raeann McPherson lives with husband Andrew, son Tyler, 12, and daughter Brook,7, in one of 17 homes in Wattle Drive which have been labelled orange. But across the road, neighbour and friend Janet Beard is in the red zone, while the north end of the street, backing on to QEII Park, is classified green.
McPherson does not understand why she and her neighbours, just metres from the Avon River, are the only ones still in limbo. “I want answers. It’s good that they’ve made an announcement to the definite red zone but how much longer are they going to make us wait?”
I would suggest that the system that is set in place needs to be flexible around the edges of the red zone. Where it is obvious that an orange property is just as stuffed as its red neighbour, offer them the deal. The piece above carried on to note some of the big unanswered questions:
Opposition MPs have said the packaged left issues unresolved. Green MP Kennedy Graham said the Government was yet to clarify if residents would be forced to leave, or would face forced acquisition of their land under the earthquake recovery law, if they did not accept the offer after nine months.
It was also unclear how many in the red zones did not have insurance. Mr Brownlee yesterday said that was an issue that would be addressed later and the first priority was to help those who were insured and had helped themselves.
The government needs to do better on the issue of the uninsured. The cost of the buy out offer is currently estimated to be between $485 million and $635 million. Compare that with $1.6 Billion for the SCF bailout. I don’t see that an uninsured resident of Avonside is any less deserving of government help than an investor in a dodgy finance company.
Summing up, the initial response inside the red zone seems to have been generally positive. Generally, but not universally:
But some are worried the payout will not be enough. Burwood resident Clinton Pasfield said he was not sure it would be able to cover the cost of building a new home “The prices seem to be significantly more than what I expect to be able to get out of this package,” he said.
Ineke Van Ravenstein from Avondale echoed his concerns. “I don’t think we’re going to be winners but there’s nothing much we can do about it is there? “Whatever way we look at this it’s going to cost us.”
In comments on various forums about the place I see some fairly strong anti-Christchurch sentiment emerging. “Stop complaining and take the deal”. “It’s your fault you’re not insured”. That sort of thing. As always the nasty underside of New Zealand society is never very far from the surface. As if the residents of the shattered suburbs didn’t have enough to cope with already…