Scheme 'beyond a joke'

Grass in house no grounds for relief

Last updated 05:00 02/06/2011
Laura McConchie
DON SCOTT/The Press

BEYOND A JOKE: Liquefaction has made Laura McConchie's Bexley home uninhabitable.

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A Christchurch woman with liquefaction throughout her house says a rates relief scheme is "beyond a joke", after being initially told she was not eligible.

Laura McConchie, who owns a Seabreeze Close property in Bexley, said she had been told she did not qualify for a Christchurch City Council rates remission despite significant house damage.

Liquefaction had come up through her house on September 4, and had got worse after the February earthquake. There is now grass and fungus growing on it.

"I had to shovel all the liquefaction out of the house, then hello, February earthquake."

Council staff had told her that she did not qualify for rates relief as she did not have a demolition date for her property.

McConchie said the rates relief scheme was "beyond a joke".

"I'm living on my parents' couch. I've had three months of showering in a container ... and I've been paying full rates the whole time."

She pays nearly $2000 a year in rates.

After The Press contacted the council, McConchie was told that she would be eligible for retrospective rates relief for the February earthquake if she could prove that her home was uninhabitable.

Corporate services manager Paul Anderson said the council had extended the rates relief after the February earthquake to cover residents until the end of this month.

Rates remissions of between 30 and 40 per cent were available for residents and businesses whose properties had been demolished or made uninhabitable.

Anderson said residents who were unsure of their eligibility should contact the council's call centre to discuss their situation.

A rates remission policy for the next financial year would be considered as part of the council's annual plan process, he said.

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- The Press

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