Bishop wants action on quake-hit homes

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 12:37 02/08/2012
Bishop Victoria Matthews blesses the site where the temporary Christ Church Cathedral will sit on the corner of Hereford and Madras streets overlooking Latimer Square.
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
DISAPPOINTED: Bishop Victoria Matthews has called for action for quake-hit homeowners.

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Bishop Victoria Matthews has called for action for earthquake-hit homeowners, after the launch of Christchurch's central-city blueprint.

Hundreds of people protested at Monday's launch to ask for more urgency on the housing and land issues faced by more than 28,000 green-blue (technical category 3) residents.

Matthews, who attended the launch, said it was ''very disappointing'' no commitment to action was made.

''I think what should have been acknowledged is the protest was going on because there is an injustice about the people who are not getting what they deserve, which is being looked after for their homes,'' she said.

''I think it would have been a million times better if, in the midst of the launch, they also said, 'We also want to say that we promise we'll do everything possible to help the TC3, the red zone, the people whose homes are damp and cold. That will now become our No 1 priority and this is how we're going to do it'.''

Matthews said it felt as if she was ''living in a city that has two halves''.

''I wasn't very happy being with the half I was with. It begged for a promise. What were they thinking?"

She planned to work on a response from the church to recovery leaders.

''I think we now need to move to the point where there are very clear expectations and demands being made,'' she said.

''I applaud people before buildings. I've said that before about the cathedral, but what does that look like in this instance?

''I'm more than happy to speak in certain places and see where we can move this ahead. That will make me even more proud to live in Christchurch.''

Despite her launch criticisms, Matthews backed the blueprint's ideas.

The green spaces along the river were ''brilliant''.

''It is recognisable as Christchurch, yet they haven't felt the need to recreate what was. There are lots of new things in it, but it's sympathetic to the old,'' Matthews said.

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