Frustration as few initiatives seen for post-quake rebuilding

Businesses in the South hoping for clear direction from the Government in Budget 2012 on the rebuilding of Christchurch after the earthquakes would have been disappointed.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee repeated the early announcement that investment from the $5.5 billion Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Fund was on track, with thousands of people benefiting.

So far, almost $600 million had been paid out in residential red-zone property settlements before expected insurance payments.

With more settlements over the next year, the dollar figure was expected to at least double.

SBS Bank financial officer Tim Loan has been one of those anxious for some direction on the rebuilding process as the South Island economy was becoming stalled waiting for the flow-on effects to Otago and Southland businesses.

"In fairness, it's all in train from last year," he said. "Yes, the CBD is being cleared; yes, the red-zone offers are being taken up. But what about people in other zones still waiting to get action on their uninhabitable houses?

What about kicking this rebuild along?

A little bit disappointing, I would have to say." Southerners were keen to see some positive action but it was taking a long time.

In terms of the Budget support for the earthquake, there were a couple of new initiatives but they were fairly minor.

"As I read it, no new funding."

Mr Brownlee announced an additional $29.9 million in operating funding would be provided over four years for the Christchurch Central Development Unit which would manage the rebuilding of the CBD.

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson announced an extra $800,000 in new operating spending for Land Information New Zealand so the re-surveying of the Canterbury region could continue.

The survey control network gave surveyors accurate information about land topography.


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