Cera shows its hand – first compulsory acquisitions

Gerry Brownlee: NBR requests rejected

The first steps in the compulsory acquisition of Christchurch inner city properties has started. 

The estimated cost to New Zealand taxpayers of acquiring 761 properties has never been disclosed, but it could cost up to $1 billion.

The government’s agency, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and its Central Christchurch Development Unit, and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee have rejected Official Information Act requests from NBR NZPI for information.

They cite commercial confidentiality and that the information will become public knowledge soon anyway.

A public notice of intention was published last week, with the first 150 properties designated for compulsory acquisition.

Sixtyseven are for a “green frame” to the north of the central business district and part of the east frame.

The properties are on Oxford and Cambridge Tces, and Chester, Armagh, Gloucester and Manchester Sts.

Cera’s plan requires many of the intact buildings on these sites to be demolished to make way for green space and other projects.

Another 37 properties on Colombo, Lichfield, Tuam Sts and Struthers Lane have also been designated to make way for a new bus exchange.

Meanwhile, NBR Rich Lister Anthony Gough is the first major inner city landowner to cut a deal with Cera.

The three properties are the Craigs House and Lucks Building sites, which will form part of the new Convention Centre Precinct, and the Poplars Apartments site, which will be part of the new East Frame.

Purchase prices will be publicly available when final settlement of the transactions has been completed, Mr Brownlee says.

The Crown has agreement in principle with the owners of another 15 properties “and is at an advanced stage of negotiation on a further 50.”

“Negotiations are under way on 116 properties in total, which shows CCDU is making real progress toward achieving the vision laid out in the Blueprint Plan – a plan the public have very positively embraced,” Mr Brownlee claims in a prepared statement.

Payment for the properties was based on “negotiations”.

Cera has obtained its own valuations, which it will not share with property owners. Property owners are expected to obtain their own valuations.

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Abnegating property rights on compulsory acquisition; compulsorily buying perfectly good buildings to demolish for the grand bureaucratic plan ... goodness. Hang on. No, it's not the 1930s, Europe.

Interesting cities grow out of a free people, and the instantaneous order that grows from the creative chaos of individual property ownership.

This city of boxes, precincts and straight lines is going to be boring, and I'm not just talking architecture. And what it will symbolise will be worse.


It is way worse than that, Mark. We were told recently we could apply to the minster for an exemption to allow us to rent our empty building. The person who told us this thought that was all OK; the end justifies the means, you see. He is ex-army. He will no doubt turn up at the next dawn parade scratching his head trying to recall what it was we went to the second world war to defeat.

We are in a real mess. The town that will be built will be East Berlin.


Look at Queen St in Auckland for an example of "instantaneous order that grows from the creative chaos of individual property ownership". No thanks.


So, does nice clean lines justify the destruction of the principle of private property rights?

It's through emergencies the state makes its biggest inroads to the free society: on that basis alone, this should not be happening. But we have politicians and bureaucracies with no philosophical or historical understanding or perspective.

The Chch rebuild was never about the practical aspect of building a pretty city you can cycle around. It was always about philosophy, and the type of society we want to live in. Apparently, we've voted for the planned society. (Some of us hoped that bankrupt ethic was finally transparent from the fall of the Eastern bloc.)

Dinky little contained precincts ultimately means dinky little constrained lives.


This is the true John Key.


So Labour's 100,000 houses at $300K each isn't sustainable, but 761 properties at $1.3 million each on average is perfectly fine? And that's just the start?


Good on them. They're stepping up, taking the lead and getting on with the job! And they'll never please everyone... Especially those on the far left who will moan and criticise regardless!


What on earth does "getting on with the job" mean. What a wonderful socialist notion that is. I guess Stalin got on with the job. And Mao, Pol Pot, et al.

If the state is so good at building towns then let's scrap all private development and have the state run all our development and let's also get them to do construction while we are at it.

Those that oppose the destruction of property rights, which is exactly what has happened here, are not of the far left. They are just people who think the notion of property rights is quite basic to a free society.


Rubbish...what right-wing planet do you live on whereby the state can by compulsion seize land and property under the guise of "negotiation"?


Come on down, Canberra!


Solid work from CERA. This was all Steve Wakefield (that man is a genius).


Interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson's original quote was about life, liberty and property but it was rapidly changed from property to "happiness". Most people find that ownership of property is by definition a defence of their happiness since it is a buffer that government (usually) cannot remove from them.


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