Government News

4 December 2013

Gerry Brownlee happy with Red Zone Judgment.

CERA press release 3 December 2013

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says he is very pleased by the Court of Appeal’s finding, released today, that the residential red zoning of the most damaged parts of greater Christchurch was lawful, and that the process was well conducted.

“We also accept the Court’s view that in relation to vacant and uninsured improved properties on the flat land in Christchurch we now need to review whether our earlier decisions were consistent with the purpose of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act – Section 3 – and in accordance with the Act – Section 10.

“We will develop a process for that review over the coming days and will then submit it to the Court, as invited in Paragraph 170 of their Honours’ judgment, before any further consideration proceeds.

“In the meantime, the lawful nature of the red zoning means we can end months of waiting for Port Hills residents.

“We expect to have zoning review decisions conveyed to Port Hills property owners and publicly available by the end of this week.

“Today’s ruling will mean uninsured properties or vacant sections in the Port Hills will be subject to the same review process we’ve committed to undertaking for uninsured or vacant flat land sections following today’s judgment, and therefore owners won’t receive offers from the Crown until that process is complete,” Mr Brownlee says.

All property owners affected by the Port Hills zoning review outcomes, including those who asked to be reviewed but do not have any change to their zoning, will be contacted by staff from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority this week.

Those outcomes will then be released to the general public and changes will be available

28 August - Government postpones Port Hills announcement

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has now received all the geotechnical information it requires in order to announce the results of the long-awaited Port Hills land-zoning review.

“I had intended to make that announcement on behalf of the Government tomorrow.  

“However, in light of the ‘Quake Outcasts’ High Court decision released on Monday 26 August,  the Government now feels that it is unable to make that announcement.

“The High Court decision raises issues which must be given proper consideration and issues which the Government intends to appeal.

“Until those issues are clarified by the Court of Appeal or further legal advice, it would be unfair on Port Hills homeowners to make any announcement as I would be unable to give them the certainty those announcements intend.

“I understand that some Port Hills homeowners have been waiting for the results of the land-zoning review since last December, and expected an announcement this month.

“This is one of the reasons we are now seeking an urgent appeal of the decision in the Court of Appeal.

“The notice of appeal will be filed as soon as possible, along with a request for an urgent determination of the appeal so these issues can be resolved as soon as possible.

“In the meantime I offer my deepest apologies to those Port Hills property owners whose lives have been put on hold for so long and whose hopes were high for final decisions on their land,” Mr Brownlee says.

Progressively over 2011 and 2012 the Government announced the results of land zoning in the Port Hills.  Over 19,400 properties were zoned green, while 511 properties were assessed as having an unacceptable risk associated with either cliff collapse or rock roll risk, and were therefore zoned red.

On 9 October 2012 the Government announced a review process for all Port Hills properties, and 142 property owners specifically asked for their zoning to be reviewed, as they believed the original decision should have been different.

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