Landowners 'deserve better buyout offer'

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 08:00 25/10/2012

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Owners of vacant land in the residential red zone deserve more government compensation, says Christchurch City councillor Aaron Keown.

He will ask councillors today to support a notice of motion calling on the council to ask Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to reconsider the buyout offer to owners of empty red-zone sections.

The owners are being offered only half the government valuation of the land.

Keown said they should be offered the full valuation.

"Of all the property decisions, this is the one that seems unfair, " he said yesterday.

There are 65 parcels of vacant land in the flat red-zoned areas of Christchurch.

They were uninsured and therefore not eligible for the Crown's original residential red-zone offer.

But Brownlee said last month that the Government had decided to give the owners the option of selling their land to the Crown at half the latest rateable value.

Keown said most of the owners were hard-working individuals and couples who had bought the land with the intention of building on it.

Through no negligence of their own, that land was no longer suitable for housing and they were in a position of negative equity.

"As a governing body for the city it is not our job ,'' he saidto tell the Government what to do, but if we see something wrong it is our job to highlight it," he said.

"That's what this notice of motion does. It says we think this is unfair, and please reconsider.

"This is not a symbolic gesture; it's a genuine plea for help for these people."

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