Outcasts' fate in Supreme Court hands

The Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Quake Outcasts after the Government ruled out making revised red zone offers before the hearing.

In August last year, the 68-strong group of vacant and uninsured land owners, and Fowler Developments Ltd, won a judicial review of the Government's offer to buy uninsured properties and empty sections at 50 per cent of their 2007 rateable value.

High Court Justice Graham Panckhurst ruled the offer was unlawful and should be revised.

The Court of Appeal backed that ruling, but overturned a finding that the red-zoning process was unlawful.

An application to the Supreme Court was filed in January and the case will be heard next month.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) chief executive Roger Sutton today confirmed no offers would be made before the two-day hearing.

The decision means vacant, uninsured and insured commercial landowners in the Port Hills will not receive an offer yet either.

Sutton said he had been ''working through the options'' since the Court of Appeal decision, but said Cera's legal position needed to be clarified.

A decision on the actions taken would be made ''as quickly as possible'' once the decision was released, he said.

''We will listen carefully to what the court tells us to do, if anything, and if we are required, we will then make a new offer.''

Sutton also confirmed those who had accepted offers at 50 per cent, including those not part of the court action, would be topped up if a higher offer was made after the decision.

Outcasts lawyer Grant Cameron said an offer ''in reasonable terms'' could have prevented the Supreme Court action.

The Press