Most of $170m Cera spend used to buy red-zone land

Posted 28 Mar 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in CERA/Govt , Employment , Media
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The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has spent more than $170 million in its first seven months, with most going on buying quake-damaged land.

Figures released to The Press under the Official Information Act show that between April and October last year, Cera spent $171.5m, with more than $127m going on buying out homeowners in the residential red zone.

It spent $30.2m on demolishing hundreds of quake-battered Christchurch buildings, although much of this money will be recovered from building owners.

Cera has paid its staff, which has grown from about 30 to more than 50 people, $2.4m over the period.

Twelve staff were paid more than $100,000 a year and two senior managers more than $300,000.

The figures do not include chief executive Roger Sutton's salary of about $500,000 a year because he is employed by the State Services Commission.

In addition to staff salaries, Cera has spent about $8m on consultants, contractors and legal advice. Another $143,000 went on airfares, and $71,000 on accommodation.

Buying the nearly 7000 red-zone properties from homeowners – most of whom are expected to accept the Government's buyout offer – will be Cera's biggest expense.

The Government has set aside $1.3 billion to buy the land and expects to shoulder a shortfall of about $600m once payments are recovered from insurers and the Earthquake Commission.

Cera has set aside $50m for commercial demolition, most of which has been completed.

Demolition of residential red-zone homes is expected to become an increasingly large cost this year, with insurers and Cera expected to spend about $150m together.

The Government has put aside a total of $5.5b to rebuild Canterbury since the February 2011 quake.

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