Flood aid withheld until details supplied

GEORGINA STYLIANOU AND LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 07:44 06/06/2014
WANTING ANSWERS: Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.
Fairfax NZ
GERRY BROWNLEE: "Geologically, the explanations are not that clear, but we do want to help."

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Financial assistance will not be given to flood-hit Christchurch homeowners until the city council provides more information, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The council is asking the Government to provide temporary accommodation help to those forced out of their homes because of quake-related flooding and has put forward a range of proposals seeking immediate assistance for the worst affected.

Cr Ali Jones this week said the Government could extend the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service.

"There's not a long bow to draw between helping people as a result of earthquake damage . . . and homeowners who have been forced from their homes because of flooding," she said.

Yesterday Brownlee said the Government had committed to providing assistance but needed more information.

He said while a recent report from the council showed 56 properties were "most severely affected", the individual circumstances of those homeowners were still unknown.

"So rather than making a blanket decision which would have an effect much more widely than just Christchurch, we really need to know what the interface between the earthquake and the flooding is.

"While some people will say it's pretty obvious . . . geologically, the explanations are not that clear, but we do want to help."

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was confident the Crown would recognise the urgency of the situation.

"This is an unprecedented situation that requires an unprecedented response - as requested, the council has gone to the Crown with a number of very specific requests to unlock resources intended for the earthquake recovery to assist these residents whose lives are literally on hold while legal questions about liability are determined by the courts and insurers," she said.

She confirmed the council had become a party to the Earthquake Commission's (EQC) High Court proceedings seeking a declaratory judgment on "complex legal questions", including whether it could settle claims on the basis of long-term loss of land value.

A group of Flockton area residents and other claimants against insurance companies have also joined the proceedings.

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- The Press

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