Commissioner's plea to Brownlee

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 12:20 22/03/2013

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The Human Rights Commissioner has written to Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee asking for some red-zoners to be given more time to consider compensation offers.

Commissioner David Rutherford wrote to Brownlee requesting that owners of bare sections and commercial or uninsured land in the residential red zone be given time past the March 31 deadline to accept a Crown payout deal.

Those red-zoners have been offered only a 50 per cent rating valuation payout on their quake-damaged land, while insured red-zoners can get 100 per cent.

The offer is different because their land was not insured, but neither vacant nor commercial land can be insured in New Zealand.

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said Rutherford told the parliamentary justice and electoral select committee that he had written to Brownlee about his concerns.

"He told the committee that the Government had an opportunity to rethink due to a mistaken impression that there had been a valuation of this land," she said.

The value of red-zoned land has been a cause of dispute between landowners and the Government.

Brownlee has said red-zoned land's value is as little as 10 per cent of its pre-quake worth, and the 50 per cent RV offer was more than fair.

Red-zoners' plea goes to Parliament

A group of Christchurch red-zoners will plead their case for full land compensation at Parliament next month, despite knowing the effort is in vain.

The Pay 100% RV group has been invited to appear before Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee and must indicate if they are willing to do so by April 12.

The group will appear despite the deadline for many members to accept a Crown compensation offer passing on March 31.

Pay 100% RV includes many owners of vacant residential red-zone sections who are disputing the Government's offer of a 50 per cent RV payout while insured red-zoners can get 100 per cent.

Group spokeswoman Andrea Newman said the timing made "a mockery of the process".

"It's just something we're doing knowing full well that if it could make any difference whatsoever it's a bit too late. If anything we're just highlighting how ridiculous the process is," she said.

Their appearance comes from a petition of more than 1500 signatures tabled in Parliament last month supporting a 100 per cent RV offer.

"They knew full well when they received that petition at the end of February what the deadline was," Newman said.

"[But] you have a look at some other petitions people have put into government and they don't even hear back about them for 12 months. It was really just to make sure that we were covering all our bases."

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The committee will meet on Wednesday when Parliament is sitting. It has one meeting, on March 27, before the red-zone deadline.

- The Press

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