Owners of low-cost homes 'losing out'

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 26/09/2011
Kaiapoi red zone homeowners at Sunday's meeting.
Dean Kozanic

Rev Mike Coleman addresses Kaiapoi red zone homeowners at Sunday's meeting.

The Breward family of Pines Beach
Dean Kozanic
The Breward family of Pines Beach: Taylor, left, 4, mum Zoe, Jack, 2, dad, Andrew and Molly, 5 listen to the speakers.

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Many homes in Kaiapoi have been red-zoned because their rateable value is too low, residents were told at a rally in the town yesterday.

The Rev Mike Coleman said the Government looked at a property's rateable value, then calculated how much it was going to cost to remediate the land and if the cost to fix the land was more than the property was worth, the land was zoned red.

Properties in the more expensive suburbs on the Port Hills and in Fendalton would never go red because it would cost the Government too much money, he said.

Up to 200 people attended the rally at Kaiapoi's band rotunda and most of them were living in the red zone.

Some 860 properties in Kaiapoi and a further 80 in Pines Beach were classified red last month by the Government. Residents have been given the choice of accepting one of two Government options to buy their homes, based on the 2008 Waimakariri District Council rating valuation.

Coleman accused the Government of turning its back on the people of the region and he wanted people to come together to fight the Government's decisions.

"If we don't, the Government's going to run roughshod over thousands of homes. People are going to be affected by debt for years."

Christchurch lawyer Brent Selwyn told residents they should not take any action until they had explored every avenue available to make sure they got everything entitled to them in their insurance policy.

"No-one should sign anything without the right advice," Selwyn said.

Pines Beach residents Zoe and Andrew Breward went to the rally to get some information about what was going on. They have three properties in Pines Beach which were in the red zone and they were fighting the decision on their family home.

Shirley Cairns, who has a red-zoned home in Kaiapoi's Cass St and helped organise the rally with her husband Brent Cairns, said she was concerned about the impact the red-zone decisions would have on the community. "If 900 leave our community that's a huge skills drain and a huge brain drain."

Another rally would be held at the Wairoa Reserve in Bexley on Sunday, October 9, at 2pm.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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