Red-zone reprieve option kept quiet

Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013

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A Government U-turn granting red-zoners the chance for more time before leaving their quake-damaged homes was to be kept under wraps, documents show.

Campbell Live last night reported the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) planned only limited publicity of a decision to allow red-zoners possible extensions to the July 31 settlement date to leave their properties.

Criteria for granting extensions would also be kept in-house, it said.

Red-zoned owners of flat land property who take up the Crown's voluntary buyout offer were initially instructed to settle and leave their homes by July 31.

Despite calls for more time, quake authorities refused to budge on the date, until Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee U-turned this week and allowed extensions to be considered on a case-by-case basis. That decision was revealed at a small public meeting on Monday and in a press release late that night.

However, documents obtained by Campbell Live show Cera did "not propose to undertake any large-scale promotion of the case-by-case extensions", and that "the agreed vulnerability criteria is for internal assessment purposes".

Only a few property owners would be granted extensions, the documents said, and only for a short time.

Brownlee, Cera chief executive Roger Sutton and head of the Christchurch Central Development Unit Warwick Isaacs were all unavailable for comment last night.

A Cera spokesman said information on how people could apply for an extension would be available on Cera's website "soon".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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