Supreme Court upholds 'Quake Outcasts' ' win for third time

The Quake Outcasts have won a court case against the government for the third time.

The Crown is reviewing a Supreme Court decision released this morning on a successful appeal taken by a red-zoned group called 'Quake Outcasts.'

They own vacant, commercial and uninsured sections in Christchurch.

They include individual people as well as commercial property developer Fowler Developments.

Quake Outcasts became embroiled in court action after the government offered only half the rateable value of their red-zoned land.

Earlier court hearings heard how in some cases the lack of insurance was solely because the land was bare and bare land cannot be insured.

They include people who had acquired a section to build on and were awaiting designs and consents.

In other cases property owners had failed to pay their insurance for a variety of reasons. One appellant owns several sections.

There were also arguments about how the claimants were disadvantaged by the government decision to red zone their land, as opposed to specific earthquake damage.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal have earlier ruled in favour of the 'Quake Outcasts' and pronounced the government's 50% land-only offer to be unlawful.

Today, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says Crown Law and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority will need to review today’s judgment and assess what steps are required to be taken.

The December 2013 Court of Appeal ruling directed the CERA chief executive to make new offers to the owners of vacant, commercial and uninsured land in the residential red zone with specific reference to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011.

Mr Brownlee says the chief executive was in the process of considering what those offers would be when the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has reinforced the Appeal Court’s view that the CERA chief executive must reconsider the offers and, that in doing so, a number of issues must be considered.

c.hutch@clear.net.nz

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