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Red-zone quake residents may be left out in the cold

Christchurch residents who continue to live in "red-zone" areas may have to provide their own generator, water supply, sewerage facilities and roads in the future as local authorities will not be fixing services in those areas.

Some 124 property owners in earthquake damaged red-zone areas have declined a government offer to buy their properties, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton told Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee.

Continuing to provide council services to those areas would cost an estimated $5 million a year, he says.

"If services break down they won't be replaced," Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee told the committee. Whether existing services should continue to be provided was a question for local authorities, the Waimakariri District Council and Christchurch City Council, he says.

"The estimated cost for maintaining services into those homes is very, very expensive.

"I don't think there is a ratepayer in Christchurch or Waimakariri district who would be happy for their rates to be spent at the levels that would be required to maintain those places long term in order that people could avail themselves of what is a wider community utility.

"They would have to make provision for at some point providing those services in some different way."

Mr Brownlee declined to advise people on whether they should plan to provide their own generators, sewerage or pathways.

Separately, the government and Christchurch City Council will tomorrow detail how they plan to share the cost of building some infrastructure and major projects.

Mr Brownlee declined to provide further details on the arrangement ahead of the announcement.


Comments and questions

Welcome to the urban countryside. Provide your own tank/bore water, septic tank, solar power/water heating and rubbish disposal. Just like most country folk.

Or an opportunity for developers to buy up cheap and do the same.

Agreed - fantastic opportunity to go 'off grid' and show the Kiwi can-do attitude. Only problem is buffoons like Brownlee and his cadre of council pen pushers will bleat about code compliance, registering tanks and other basic self-made services all in anticipation of rating them.

Although one hopes that, just like most country folk, they're not actually being required to pay for these services. Cutting refuseniks loose is one thing. Insisting they pay for services they no longer receive is quite another.