Homes should never have been built

Posted 07 Oct 2011 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Land Information , Media
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About 1200 Christchurch and Kaiapoi sections badly affected by liquefaction in Canterbury's earthquakes should never have been built on, a Government report says.

Environment Minister Nick Smith today released a report by consultants Hill Young Cooper and Resource Management Group Ltd that found subdivisions, including Seabreeze Close in Bexley's Pacific Park, were consented after liquefaction risk in those areas had been clearly identified.

The report pointed to failures in the Resource Management Act (RMA).

''The RMA didn't work and needs fixing,'' Smith said.

''The concern is that reports in 1991 identified these areas as highly susceptible to liquefaction, yet consents for subdivisions were granted without any consideration of these risks.''

About a fifth of the areas badly affected by liquefaction in earthquakes in the past year were consented after that time.

The RMA still did not  require risks from natural hazards to be assessed and managed, Smith said.

''This reflects the priorities in the RMA of preserving natural character, landscape, flora and fauna, public access, cultural values and heritage over managing natural hazards,'' he said.

''The Government intends to amend the RMA to give greater weight to managing the risks of natural hazards like earthquakes.''

A technical advisory group led by barrister Alan Dormer will report to the Government on detailed proposals by March next year.

fc_shaza   #27   09:35 pm Oct 08 2011


Those who have profited out of this failure should be held to account. Find the developers, find the officials who allowed these to proceed, and hang them out to dry, repay their debt to society


Fred   #26   08:05 pm Oct 08 2011


From a past president of the South Island branch of the Property Council

“Obviously the developers couldn’t buy the local politicians and public officials off fast enough in Dallas Fort Worth to overcome the zoning impediment – but they have been trying as this article Fed Up: Texas Monthly November 2007 illustrates. It goes on pretty much everywhere of course – but only illustrates how zoning tends to assist in inflating prices and stalling supply responses.


Ryan   #25   06:14 pm Oct 08 2011


So when can we expect the property developers being forced to repay people for land that should never have been built? They knew it wasn't fully safe but blinded by greed and profit they pushed and pushed to build on the land.


A swamp by any other name   #24   06:01 pm Oct 08 2011


Fast forward 20 years, the same headline... but they'll be talking about Marshlands!


john   #23   05:38 pm Oct 08 2011


Yet again clear evidence that the monetarism of recent years does not contain any ethos or values to protect citizens. When will NZers wake to the mess already created by this blind faith in deregulation that has taken away good government locally and nationally? Monetarism is a proven failure...people in America and Europe are waking up to its consequences...will NZ suffer its toll of loss of economic and individual rights and sovereignty before it is too late? Both the major political parties in NZ seem to be still under the spell of Monetarist Dogma, yet globally the proof of its failure to work for all but the priviledged minority is stark. The mainstream media have hardly covered the Occupy Wall Street events ,though they have now been ongoing for three weeks(and are now spreading throughout the US and western world). Only when enough people have had enough of government serving corporate interests(banks/insurance companies/ property developers/financiers) to the expense of citizens will there be change. The redzoning of the worst hit citizens in CHCH is another example of government sheltering corporates from thier contractual obligations at the expense of citizens. Bexley resident and all concerned citizens can attend a rally at Waiaora reserve Bexley 2 pm Sunday 9 Oct, to voice their concern at the lack of transparency and justice in the governments reaction to the quakes.


Brooke   #22   04:44 pm Oct 08 2011


Find the report here:


Pete   #21   02:05 pm Oct 08 2011


For Sue Wells to absolve the CCC of all responsibility for this mess once again demonstrates the arrogance of Hereford Street.


Empire Rastafari   #20   02:05 pm Oct 08 2011


Cool, at least they will be able to pay everyone back when big oil starts fracking in the foothills of Canterbury. Oh i mean who would want to live in Canterbury once the National Government allows big oil to Destroy the Water table and quality due to the highly dangerous practise of Fracking. Buy your property elsewhere before its to late for you and your familys to even drink the water.At least John Keys got a sense of humour about these things.


13 months!   #19   12:47 pm Oct 08 2011


Agree with Heather #18, the refusal of CERA to release land reports is causing endless emotional and financial stress. EQC has informed me and my neighbours our Feb claims are on hold and will not be processed any further until the final zoning is made. The claims are on our homes, not the land!!!!! 13 months...and we're still waiting!


Heather   #18   11:16 am Oct 08 2011


This article says it all. Why then are huge numbers of people in the orange and white zones still waiting for land decisions. The decisions are 'no brainers' - CERA we want decisions NOW.


mac   #17   10:58 am Oct 08 2011


Now they have approved similar land subdivisions which people have been regaling about. It now appears apart from insurance companies not insuring on these lowland subdivisions the RMA will also dictate. Never thought l would support the RMA, but theres a first for everything. However in hindsight theres about 50000 houses that should never have been built where they are. Lets hope we dont repeat and we go to the safe land in the west. lm sure the powers that be are listening to GNS science and others.


J   #16   10:06 am Oct 08 2011


I was wondering why developments continued after these areas were identified as being at risk. I remember the articles in the newspaper about liquefaction and thought wow - imagine if that happened! Never believing I would ever really see it. I think questions need to be asked more deeply about why this information was ignored.This has nothing to do with duties to ensure the natural environment is also protected. This seems to be used as a smoke screen. The first question - should always be - is the land safe from natural disasters (within reason) and then if it is the natural environmental considerations are investigated.I don't recall any decision being made saying - safety could be compromised.


whakaraupo   #15   08:35 am Oct 08 2011


''This reflects the priorities in the RMA of preserving natural character, landscape, flora and fauna, public access, cultural values and heritage over managing natural hazards,''Smith argues that the RMA priorities are to PC-ironically if they had considered in any real way the priorities he mentions it could well be that there would never have been consent to build so close to the estuary. Unfortunately thre are always developers with deep pockets who can engage experts to say there will be no adverse effect, despite reports on liquifcation risks. He is using the earthquake to justify undermining important values to make it easier (again) for developers.


sme   #14   07:33 am Oct 08 2011


Swamp is always swamp - you can dress it up, but it's still a swamp.


Melly   #13   01:26 am Oct 08 2011


When they first opened Pacific Park years ago, my father said "one good earthquake and they'll all be sorry". We used to drive past it often and he would say it every single time - we used to laugh at him but we knew it was true. Sadly he passed away 3 years ago but I'm happy he never had to live through the turmoil of the quakes. I sometimes picture him wherever he is saying "told you so!". My point is, it was obvious to many people we knew and many more we didn't that the Pacific Park land should not have been built on. How the developers managed to get consent is beyond me.


slightlycynical   #12   10:09 pm Oct 07 2011


Why is it when I see a comment from a National/conservative government that always goes on about RED TAPE getting in the way of growth that says:

''The Government intends to amend the RMA to give greater weight to managing the risks of natural hazards like earthquakes.''

what i actually see is them saying we will remove:

"the priorities in the RMA of preserving natural character, landscape, flora and fauna, public access, cultural values and heritage"

and as long as there is no risk from Natural hazard then please build anywhere you want as long as we all make sone short term profit, we'll worry about the fall out once I'm gone and no longer in government.


Peter   #11   09:54 pm Oct 07 2011


None of the powers that be ever thought Christchurch would have such a huge earthquake. Needless to say, building permits were handled out willy-nilly. Such shortsightedness.


Alex   #10   09:27 pm Oct 07 2011


Another interesting point is this potentially has implications for other areas of New Zealand too especially in terms of insurance.


beano   #9   09:07 pm Oct 07 2011


So is anyone taking responsibility for these 'money making' decisions? Disgusting, low life, money making, sneaky liars!


Libby   #8   08:16 pm Oct 07 2011


It isnt only Chch that has been let down badly by the RMA. Look at the recent Turitea wind farm decision. Gigantic turbines will be built along a known earthquake fault - and it was pointed out to the Board of Inquiry by a submitter. The Board chose to ignore the facts.


The Orator   #7   07:26 pm Oct 07 2011


It bothers me that the developers could reverse the decision in court, but it bothers me more that those developers will not have to pay for the profits of their greed. Those residents living in the homes built on those dodgy sections deserve compensation from the builders/developers who fought in court to put them there, against sound advice. I would hope that in the fullness of time compensation will be made. At the very least, this requires a full, named investigation against those respponsible. I sense a story here.


Dave I   #6   07:20 pm Oct 07 2011


Queensland has the Sustainable Planning Act, which is a 2nd generation descendant of the RMA. Things like natural disasters are covered by State Planning Policies, and these set out bushfire and flooding risks and what needs to be achieved.

Perhaps NZ needs to adopt a similar system where the Government sets planning policies at a central level that councils needs to apply when looking at resource consents. When the risks are known, something should be done to mitigate them.


Tui   #5   07:10 pm Oct 07 2011


@biggles: Required reading in there. So where was the City Council and Ecan when it came to natural hazards management for Christchurch and Canterbury? Did they not read these reports; or even worse did they read them and not tell the public?   #4   07:03 pm Oct 07 2011


Ignoring the risk,as much fault of the developers and the managing bodies in charge. The most important thing now is who`s head would roll. No satisfaction from all the non stop quillberings.


Biggles   #3   05:49 pm Oct 07 2011


There are all sorts of interesting reports on the EQC website dating back many years that clearly identify bad things that could happen in Christchurch (and Kaiapoi) in the event of a significant earthquake.

See for example:


binwaitin   #2   05:37 pm Oct 07 2011


Are there other areas identified in that report that we should know about. This comes from someone who is currently orange zoned - in a subdivision, established after that date, that has suffered a lot of damage.


hmmm   #1   05:33 pm Oct 07 2011


I wonder how many red-zoned properties actually were refused building consent until the developers reversed the decision in court


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