Red zoned houses in Burwood.
The Government has confirmed it will appeal a landmark
High Court decision which ordered it to reconsider a 50 per
cent payout offer for vacant, uninsured red-zoned Christchurch
Prime Minister John Key this morning said the Government
would take a good look at Justice Graham Panckhurst's
judgment, which was delivered yesterday following a judicial
"My understanding is that we are going to go away and have a
look a bit at whether we might appeal that decision," he told
But Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has this
morning confirmed the appeal.
The decision concerns uninsured, vacant plots of red-zoned
land. Only land with structures on it can be insured, which
excluded vacant property owners from any quake payouts.
The Government stepped in to offer quake-hit owners 50 per
cent of the value of their land - a decision a small group of
about 40 residents calling themselves 'Quake Outcasts', as
well as Fowler Developments Ltd, challenged in court.
In his judgment, Justice Panckhurst ordered Mr Brownlee and
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive
Roger Sutton to reconsider their buy-out offers.
He ruled the 50 per cent offer was "not made according to
law" and "will not enable many property owners to make a
Mr Key said the Government was being generous in paying out
50 per cent.
"The Government will have to go away, have a good look at the
judgment, make a decision about what it does next. But there
are a lot of precedent risks here and issues, because if we
pay out more than that, even paying out 50 per cent sets a
"What do we do when there's an uninsured land slip later in
the year because of a flood somewhere? Those homeowners will
say, 'But you paid out in Christchurch and you paid out more
than 50 per cent.' It's not easy for the Government."
Labour's earthquake recovery spokeswoman Ruth Dyson said
red-zone property owners had been been vindicated by the
"This is a victory for residents and for fairness," she said.
"John Key said no one would be worse off as a result of his
Government's offer, and today's verdict proves that many,
many people were."