Quake-hit residents need certainty: Goff

Cantabrians need more certainty about their futures and whether they will be able to rebuild on their quake-damaged properties, Labour leader Phil Goff says.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was last week questioned about how long residents would have to wait for answers about what land would have to be abandoned.

Mr Brownlee did not accept that people were in limbo, saying some things were "blindingly obvious" about the future occupation of some land in Christchurch.

Last Monday's aftershocks caused further damage to properties, and over the weekend Mr Brownlee told TVNZ's Q and A about 12,000 homes now faced demolition.

Liquefaction alone was not a reason for abandoning land, and other factors were still being looked at, he said.

"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."

Mr Brownlee said there was a growing perception whole suburbs would have to be demolished, but that it was more likely to be streets and houses that were written off.

"The problem here we've got, in essence, is you can't communicate what you don't know," he 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 Goff told news media today the Government's response was not good enough and Christchurch residents needed answers.

"People have been through three sets of earthquakes, three lots of liquefaction, they want to know what's going to happen in their lives and to their homes and their future," he said.

"It's a reasonable expectation on their part, they shouldn't be fobbed off by Gerry Brownlee. They deserve that information, the sooner the better."

Mr Goff said the first priority had to be giving people certainty so they could make plans.

"Let them know whether they can rebuild on their properties, if they can't then they can start making alternative arrangements. That's not too much to ask."
Mr Goff said he was not aware of a meeting at which the Government would lay out the rebuilding plans, but said he hoped one would be held this week.

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