Canterbury’s Quake Outcasts will have a long wait for any compensation.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has confirmed he will appeal the judicial review and the judgment by High Court Justice Graham Panckhurst made in favour of 46 Outcast claimants.
In a terse response he says he does not know how much it will cost or how long it will take.
But a community leader and clergyman Mike Coleman is calling on Mr Brownlee to accept the judgment.
Mr Coleman says the decision is clear and he and his team would be extremely disappointed if Mr Brownlee attempted to put people crippled by his original decision in 2011 through another distressing court proceeding.
“The Government offer to affected people in the area of the red zone has been judged as being unfair; going against the basic human rights of those seriously affected in the Canterbury earthquakes,” he says.
“Ordinary Cantabrians, represented by the Outcasts Group, stood to lose much of their properties equity and it would be a further slap in the face should Mr Brownlee decide to appeal this decision and continue the stress and pain even longer,” he says.
Mr Coleman says Mr Brownlee could show a real sense of justice and a sincere focus on the recovery by accepting the court’s decision.
“In doing so, Mr Brownlee would enable the families, elderly and others who have been through a living hell over the last two and half years, to finally move on with their lives,” he says.
“The decision by Justice Panckhurst states clearly that the Earthquake Minister refused to use the powers of the Act that could have assisted this community, so he could make unfair offers for land. This amounted to coercion as people had no choice but to sell their properties.”
“It was clear from the beginning the Government wanted people off these areas. Even the words at the bottom of the offer stated, ‘if you do not accept this offer we can compulsorily acquire you’. The threat by the Prime Minister stating, there would be no infrastructural services available in these areas which created a fear among the community. In the end people felt they had no choice but to leave, and in the process lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the stress and extreme upset it caused,” Mr Coleman says.