Brownlee renames red zone as 'Rebuild Zone'

Gerry Brownlee

Sale contracts have been signed by 27 Christchurch inner city commercial property owners and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

Agreements “in principle” have been reached with 20 other property owners.

The Crown wants to 350 properties in total and negotiations are under way on 215 of them.

This was the latest state of progress unveiled today by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

He made the announcements while accompanying journalists on a Christchurch media junket to showcase progress on the earthquake-damaged city's rebuild.

CERA recently issued Notices to Take Land as part of a legal process that will give the Crown the option of compulsory acquisition.

“It has always been our intention to create a willing-buyer, willing-seller environment as we acquire land to allow the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan’s anchor projects to proceed, and so it is proving to be,” Mr Brownlee says.

He spoke about the frustration of many people and frequent questions about when the central business district would be rebuilt.

Mr Brownlee says the process is a like a "coiled spring" that is about to take off.

To recognise this, the central business district red cordon area is now to be officially known as "the Rebuild Zone" (although it was looking more like war-time Iraq when NBR visited yeterday - photos here).

Read more in NBR New Zealand Property Investor on Monday.

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5 Comments & Questions

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What about 'New Orleans' as a name rather than Rebuild Zone? The speed of progress, the lack of support for people living in deserted neighbourhoods and substandard conditions - the similarities never end!

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Chris, it was 850 properties when the designations were announced. How did it reduce to 350, as you have reported above?

It is six months since designation. If your 350 is correct, how is it they have only acquired 8%? And surely these are the easy ones.

In international disaster terms, is it acceptable to have taken two years to clean up?

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Gerry, I understand the 350 are just the first stage of the acquisition process.

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How the government handles property acquisitions in Christchurch will be closely watched by investors and businesses both here and abroad. We need a more laissez-faire approach with strong property rights protection mechanisms to attract investments. Let's hope the renaming of the red zone is accompanied by a substantive shift in mind set.

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Living in Chch, I think the govt response has been within expectations. The council and insurance company response, on the other hand, is where the dithering and stalling has occurred.

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