Hot Topic Reporting season
Hot Topic Reporting season
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Chch streets will be written off, not suburbs - Brownlee

As the number of homes to be demolished climbs to 12,000, the Earthquake Recovery Minister clarifies a ‘misconception.'

NZPA and NBR staff
Mon, 20 Jun 2011

There is a growing perception whole suburbs of Christchurch would have to be demolished, but it was more likely to be streets and houses that were written off, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee told TVNZ's Q & A.

"The problem here we've got, in essence, is you can't communicate what you don't know," Mr Brownlee said.

"And we're just desperately trying to find out more about the land situation; we know what the people situation is, it's bloody dreadful."

Mr Brownlee confirmed more houses had been written off in Monday's quakes, with the number of homes destined for demolition in the realm of 12,000.

Weary Cantabrians forced into their third major clean up after last week's large aftershocks are being urged not to give up.

Scientists have warned that Monday's 6.3 quake had increased the risk of another quake of up to 6.9 magnitude some time within the next 12 months to about 30 percent in Canterbury (which translates to a 6% risk for metropolitan Christchurch)

Having already dealt with massive clean ups following the September and February quakes, Christchurch residents appear to be questioning the point of shovelling liquefaction when more may be on its way.

However, Mr Brownlee said people should keep clearing silt.

"I think if they want to stay in those homes for however long it may be, then yes."

Mr Brownlee said throughout New Zealand, people tended to live with risk.

"If the probabilities around seismic activity are considered now, outside of the current event going on in Christchurch, there are parts of New Zealand that have greater risk," he said.

"You've got other parts of the country where they are on flood plains, you've got parts of the country where you have very, very serious liquefaction potential.

"In Christchurch, we're going to know a lot more about our risk."

Mr Brownlee said liquefaction alone was not a reason for abandoning land, and other factors had to be looked at.

"One of the clear issues will be the capacity of that land to hold housing in a safe way, and there is a balance point too between what is economic and what's not."

NZPA and NBR staff
Mon, 20 Jun 2011
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Chch streets will be written off, not suburbs - Brownlee