$90m rebuild for state housing

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 18/10/2012

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The Government will build between 200 and 350 state houses in and around Christchurch to replace homes it says are badly damaged or outdated.

Ninety-five per cent of the district's 6000 Housing New Zealand properties were damaged in the earthquakes, 700 severely, and 215 are in red zones.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley said yesterday that while repairs to 212 moderately damaged houses and their infrastructure would be finished by the end of this month, some were too damaged or outdated to fix.

The rebuilding project will cost about $90 million, of which some will come from insurance proceeds. More new homes may follow.

Housing New Zealand earthquake recovery team leader Andrew Booker said the new single- and double-storey homes would go "right across Christchurch" and perhaps in the Waimakariri District. Work would start "shortly", as soon as building consents were ready, and the houses would be finished next year.

Heatley said the project would make more intensive use of space, in some cases replacing older houses sitting on quarter-acre (1012-square-metre) sections with more than one home, he said.

Houses on 76 sites would be demolished and replaced with new ones, with between one and nine homes going on each site. Final numbers and densities were still being calculated by Housing New Zealand.

Affected tenants were being notified and would be given the option of moving back into a new home on their site or shifting to another state house. Heatley said the Government wanted to improve rather than expand its total stock of 70,000 state homes nationwide.

Leftover land could be sold or earmarked for affordable housing, with some sort of mixed-ownership model.

Heatley also announced a trial repair programme for damaged state houses on technical category 3 land, which require stronger foundations because of the risk of liquefaction.

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- The Press

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