The Human Rights Commission today welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new offer to buy properties in the Christchurch earthquake residential red zones.
“The offer of 100 percent of the 2007/08 rateable value, regardless of insurance status, is an important step in enabling people who still live on or own red zone land to consider their options,” acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says.
“It is now important that people eligible for the new offer get all the information they need to make an informed decision. This includes knowing their options should they not accept the offer.”
A report by the Commission in 2016 on the red zoning found that the reduced offers to owners of vacant sections, commercial and uninsured residential properties — and the delay in providing offers and then revising them — had added to the stress owners were facing.
“The whole situation has demonstrated that the right to property can be fragile in New Zealand, particularly in the case of natural disasters, and could be better enshrined in the Bill of Rights Act by Parliament,” Ms Tesoriero says.
“Human rights principles of dignity, non-discrimination, empowerment, participation in decision-making and access to information are relevant to everyone, everywhere, all the time, but the Christchurch experience reminds us how vital they are in civil emergencies.