Residents were left out of the red-zone buyout offer because while they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, they only have a license to occupy their units and don't own the actual land
By Dave Goosselink
A group of elderly Christchurch residents say they're the forgotten red-zoners.
Forced out of their retirement units, many are calling for a Government top-up after settlements left them tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
They've moved to new accommodation, but some elderly residents are struggling to move on with their lives because of the financial hit of the quakes.
“I've got nothing left, nothing,” says former retirement village resident Elizabeth Malthus. “My family are helping me.”
“My father's seriously ill in hospital now,” says Delwyn Matheson, daughter of rest home residents. “He hasn't been able to cope with it very well. Mum has had to live in a two-bedroom house with my sister in Temuka for a whole year.”
Residents were left out of the red-zone buyout offer because while they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, they only have a license to occupy their units and don't own the actual land.
“That was probably all their life savings,” says Grey Power president Roy Reid. “It's gone. They've got no money now to go and buy another unit.”
The buyout offer was extended to four retirement village operators in January, but residents only get back a portion of the money they paid for their units.
“So now they're just back to the pension,” says Richard Ayers, son of a rest home resident. “They don't have a nest egg anymore. They've had to shell out everything they had left to shift.”
The Government insists it has taken the most effective course of action, saying "extending an offer to the owners of retirement villages and rest homes was to ensure any outstanding exit payments that had not yet been made to village residents could be both guaranteed and expedited."
But Labour MP Lianne Dalziel says the solution isn't right for everyone.
“What we've seen today is that there are winners and losers with the red-zone offer, and the people in retirement villages actually represent a big group of losers,” she says.
She'll take their concerns to Parliament, where the issue will be considered by a Select Committee.