Kaiapoi reports pure speculation: Brownlee

Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee
Reports that a third of Kaiapoi could be abandoned because of quake damage are being dismissed as "pure speculation" by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove today questioned whether the Government was leaking information about quake-zone decisions after reports that 700 to 1000 properties in the north Canterbury town's orange zone were likely to be reclassified as red next week.

"Either Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is deliberately leaking material to the newspaper, or he has no control over Cera (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority), his own department," Mr Cosgrove said.

"... today's story on Kaiapoi simply reinforces the suspicion that he wants the bad news out before he fronts."

Mr Brownlee refused to comment on whether there was any truth to the reports, including whether a recommendation on which land should be abandoned would be taken to Cabinet next week.

In a statement, the minister lashed out at the reports, saying "publishing pure speculation shows no sensitivity to the people living in the area".

"As a homeowner in an orange zone I know the deep frustration, and at times despair, the uncertainty waiting for land information brings," he said

"So I've been cautious not to put up dates and deadlines that if not met simply add to the turmoil."

Mr Brownlee said aftershocks on June 13 had caused further damage to the land, and some areas in Kaiapoi needed to be reassessed.

Kaiapoi residents would begin receiving letters from tomorrow that would give a clearer expected time frame for decisions and announcements around the reclassification of their area, he said.


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