Red-zone residents to take court action

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Some red-zone residents say they will take court action in a last-ditch attempt to secure the right to stay in their homes.

The Brooklands and Kaiapoi red-zoners believe the Government's buyout violates their civil rights by effectively forcing them off their land.

They had hoped to get the United Nations to intervene on their behalf, but letters they have sent to the UN Human Rights Commission have gone unanswered.

Kaiapoi resident and Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan) spokesman Brent Cairns said they had now engaged a lawyer and planned to seek a judicial review through the courts.

''We're going to go down the path of taking the Government to court,'' he said.

''We're just in the process now of putting all the evidence together.''

He said the ''supposedly voluntary buyout offer'' was structured in such a way that it was, in effect, compulsory and bypassed existing laws that regulated the taking of land by a government.

The Government's threats that services would be removed or not repaired in red zones, should property owners choose to stay in their homes, meant that more than 7200 families were effectively being evicted, he said.

Pressure was coming from all quarters, including nsurance companies, for people to quit their properties, but Cairns said he and many others were not prepared to do so without a fight. 

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