Govt wants all Christchurch CBD land acquisition negotiations over by March 2013; Doesn't have timeframe for how long it will wait before forcibly buying land

Govt wants all Christchurch CBD land acquisition negotiations over by March 2013; Doesn't have timeframe for how long it will wait before forcibly buying land

By Alex Tarrant

The government wants to have all negotiations to buy land in central Christchurch done and dusted by the end of the first quarter next year, Prime Minister John Key says.

However, he would not give a timeframe on how long the government would wait before forcing landowners to sell land in 'the frame' around the Christchurch central business district.

The majority of the frame will be to the east of the CBD, and will be turned into green space, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced yesterday. See: Govt unveils Christchurch CBD plan; redevelopment of smaller city centre to be based around stadium, convention centre, justice precincts; Govt eyes land purchases.

That would affect developers with existing redevelopment plans like Richard Peebles, who told The Press he would be "losing" all his sites.

The government wants CBD landowners to sell land located in the frame (see the boundaries here) willingly. Prices would be negotiated with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). The Authority said it would announce by the end of next week which land it had in its sights.

Land owners who do not sell willingly can be forced by the government to sell at current market values under earthquake recovery legislation. Read a Q&A on the plan to purchase land in the frame here.

No costs yet...

Prime Minister John Key would not say how much the government expected to spend buying up land from about 800 central city landowners. The initial up front cost would be met out of the government's NZ$5.5 billion earthquake recovery fund. The government had so far spent about half of what had been set aside in the fund, Key said.

Key said he could not rule out longer-term costs rising above the NZ$5.5 billion mark.

"Some of that will be recouped as we make sales out of the frame," Key told media in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

"Without the government taking the leadership role that we are, we wouldn't be able to put together a comprehensive plan for Christchurch. So in the end it becomes a bit of a chicken and the egg situation, there are lots and lots of people with interests, and in the end, the severity of the earthquakes has required the action that we have taken," he said.

Key said it was too early to say how long the government was prepared to wait before moving to forcibly acquire land.

“We not trying to put a gun to their head. We are trying to get a good outcome for Christchurch, and we’ll certainly be working alongside them – hopefully reach a resolution with people," he said.

"But in the fullness of time we’ll act if we have to. But our preference is to do it by negotiation.”

The government wanted to be in a position to have the frame in place by the end of the first quarter in 2013, meaning “it would be good” if the negotiations with the affected landowners could be completed by then.

Buying and selling

Finance Minister Bill English said whatever the upfront costs of land acquisitions were, there were likely to be "considerable recoveries" from on-selling later on.

“That process has worked reasonably well with the redzone purchases, and also the demolitions, where the Crown has met upfront costs so that the process can get going, and then recovered significant amounts of money later on," English told media in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

The government had not looked at the issue of compensation for the properties’ original owners if the Crown were to make capital gains from on-selling properties they had bought through force.

“But I think the signal’s pretty clear. The government will do what it can to get the CBD rebuild going, and the aggregation of land parcels is a pretty important thing," English said.

The government would be "fair and even-handed" about the process.

“That’s what you would expect – we respect property rights. But the direction’s pretty clear. We want to get on with the redevelopment of the CBD and land aggregation is an important part of that," English said.

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So they want to acquire all the land in the frame??
I am completely confused, I thought it was a restriction on development only?  Does JK not know what the plan is or is this all just one muddle??
Demolishing or clearing the buildings in use in those blocks and cancelling all the proposed projects for those areas is going to send us into the dark ages.
I'm now even more negative than I was an hour ago!

Key is a despicable THIEF and DICTATOR.
He has destroyed Christchurch, crushed it's people and walks away and smiles. 
He has indebted NZ, then plans to sell it off to the highest bidder.
He is the worst kind of leader we could possibly have - one who thinks he is GOD.
God won't forgive him.  He is a monster - the worst NZ has EVER seen!

Have only just noticed.  The distinction between a thief and a politician redistributing wealth is whether it is your pocket he has his hands into.  People on the bottom rung of the financial ladder realised his nature when he lowered the top tax rate and raised GST.  I agree with you however he is a theiving slithering little creep.
Pity he did not apply the same ruthless energy to developing affordable residential land for the poor folks who are still freezing their buts off, trapped in their wrecked homes, still wondering what is going to happen to them.  An interesting set of priorities.  But perhaps you would not agree with that.

You just realised this.  if I recall correctly you stated you voted for National, I'm sure on pure self interest grounds. Possibly they listened to people like you who said no one would want to reinvest in Christchurch. Shame most of the time you had no idea except for your property investment portfolio.

Watch the last few moments of the first video linked above if you haven't already.
I joined the National Party when I was 18.  I always voted National or Act.  I thought Key would transform NZ, I am now horrified by what he is doing.
I never said people wouldn't want to reinvest in ChCh, I said that what was transpiring made it impossible for people to invest - because of insurance issues and the CERA leadership.
It is clear that stupid people come in all shapes and forms whether it be investment bankers or bureaucrats.
Whatever happened to having kind, compassionate people doing the best they can for all people?
Most of the time it seems Key is only interested in his own self image.  All very sad...

Chris, what the hell else did you expect from a parasitic currency trader? The guy was clueless and the FIRST 60mins TV interview with this clown should of set off alarm bells like it did in many of us! 
Very sad indeed that NZder's fail to get themselves truly educated OUTSIDE our socialist school system simply by question EVERYTHING a politician states and never forgetting their lying scum faces until the day they drop dead with a taxpayer funded funeral to boot!

Not trying to picking on Chris here as I do value his contributions however he has worked in the finance industry, he should know better. I have worked  with the finance industry and in particular investment bankers for 15 years and given the typical alpha driven personality attracted to this line of work  and culture fostered within these entities it is the last pool I would tap for social service and to expect the qualities he is talking about.

I was an analyst.  Careful and considered.
Investment Bankers are more like salesmen trying to close a deal and turn a profit, with the deal itself becoming more important than the thing they are selling.
NZ has been led to rack and ruin by a National Party, which is very distressing, my dad and my grandparents would turn in their graves if they knew.
Where has the fairness and equality gone?  How can a civilised society let such injustice continue right under its nose.
Auckland and Wellington businesses, residents and owners need to know that this WILL happen to their town one day too.  There should have been an outpouring of help to resolve these issues, instead anyone trying to stand up and doing anything is getting hammered.
This is not life.  This is supreme cruelty and torture.

That's a beautiful building.  Indeed I'd have thought the first thing the planners would have done was a stock take of what heritage was left and designed specifically to preserve it - feature it - anchor around it.
Just as the intention with respect to the Cathedral from the word go should have been to plan a Coventry-type design which incorporated a poignant part of the ruin that was salvageable;
Had they concentrated on this type of intervention, I would happily have seen my taxpayer dollars put toward the effort/restoration .. and what better memorial to those who were lost in the tragedy?
As it is - instead they puff out their chests about a stadium?  A convention centre?  It is beyond belief.   I feel .. really feel for Cantabrians.  As that guy in the video demonstrates -Kiwis naturally exude resilience in the face of nature/natural disaster - but when the fight is against your own elected representatives - your countrymen .. well that's absolutely defeating.

They don't care Kate.
Watch the CGI flyover they released yesterday, at 1min 6 secs in it's clear that the Art Centre is replaced by a complex of high rises.
They have no respect.  No understanding.
If this was being done to Maori, there would be hell to pay.
Is our European heritage not worthy of anything?  Are we useless obstructors not worth of a place on this earth??
This won't be stood for.  It must end.

Well, this Australian academic had it right;
"The bodies that have the powers must do everything to retain historic buildings and ... if they can't be restored immediately, to at least stabilise them and thereby leave options open for the future.
Some buildings could even be left as ruins. That's a typical way of dealing with some of the most important cultural properties in the world."
Yencken, who was the inaugural chair of the Australian Heritage Commission, said losing Christ Church Cathedral would be "absolutely terrible" for the city.
It was a significant building that could still have "tremendous tourist pull".
"It may well be that many people in Christchurch have not regularly gone to the cathedral, but in the future perhaps they would if it became a place of visitation with some sort of shrine or a place that represented what Christchurch has been through," he said.

Lest we forget, mist;
To my mind the ruins are perhaps even more historically significant than the intact building itself.
You need to stay home more.

Key said it was too early to say how long the government was prepared to wait before moving to forcibly acquire land.
<b>“We not trying to put a gun to their head."</b>
Well that's exactly what the public woks act does, If the state does'nt appreciate or value your family's sense of turangawaewae, then you are on the path to direct conflict with the state.
Welcome to the "brighter future".

They won't use the Public Works Act because they want to resell the land at some point.
If they use the CER Act, then they technically don't have to offer it back.  However the purchase would have to be for essential earthquake recovery work and given recent High Court decisions, it is probably likely that the Court won't allow such sneaky usurpation of private rights, which are protected under the Bill of Rights.
But I wouldn't put it past them trying.

If they are buying the land in the CBD frame, why don't they just move the city centre  to the west where the ground conditions aren't like 'jelly'? In the long term this could be better.

My God CHCH, As a former resident and 22 years growing up in Kaiapoi I find it appalling what you are letting this a$$hole government and local council do to a city I know/knew all too well.
THEY HAVE USED FEAR AGAINST YOU TO TAKE AWAY, DICTATE, AND RUIN ALL IN THE NAME OF 'keeping you safe'. And the rest of NZ better wake up cause CHCH will not be the last. It is but a 'test case'. 


Seems to be three types of people here:
Those consumed with their own challanges, be it insurance, health issues etc from all of this.
They have no resilience/headspace to act.
Two, people who just don't understand or simply introverts who take no interest.
The third catergory are on Government contracts or beneficiaries of the local in crowd and would not speak up as it might cost them.
Result near silence.

Perhaps the three most interesting points in the Q&A linked to in the article:

90. What are my rights if my land has been designated and it is bare land but I have incurred costs of planning a development?
Compensation is not available for costs that you have incurred in planning for a future development.

91. My land has been designated, I am in the middle of sensitive negotiations with my insurer, where does this leave me?
As insurance policies vary it is not possible to provide general advice about the effect of a designation or compulsory acquisition on an individual property.

92. I am keen to rebuild, I have plans in place, and my insurance company is reinstating my building: what am I supposed to do now?
You should discuss this with CERA. Depending on what you are proposing to build and where, it is possible that it may fit within the designation and the Requiring Authority (Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) may give you approval to proceed. It is, however, likely that the property will be acquired and you need to enter into negotiations with CERA’s agents as soon as practicable.

I advise everyone to read Alex's link.  It leaves me speechless.

Sounds entirely sensible to me. Especially this bit.
"Compensation is not available for costs that you have incurred in planning for a future development."
Guess what ChCh property owners, an earthquake hit your town and now you have some problems. Bad Luck.  Bad things happen to all sorts of investment classes.
I have shares in an Australian miner who has run into diffulculties with a foreign partner. Do I get compensation as well?
Stop your godamn whinging and whining. I'm sick of hearing about it. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Democracy, Free markets,competition, property rights,  the National Party seem to be very confused over these ideas. They have removed the democratic from the people of Christchurch/Canterbury. They have no interests in competition and free markets and property rights are simple something to be taken away with fake consoltations and negotitaions.
It is unbelievable that National have gone down this path so far.

But he's such a nice guy and he's so wealthy! Anybody who's made that much money must have the midas touch right? His experience speculating for wealthy people at no personal risk to himself is just the sort of "business" experience this country needs, no?

And while Roger Sutton is clearly a "nice guy", he has of course had no real life experience running a business in a tough commercial environment - particularly development - which is the toughest of the lot.
plenty of the public have had a wiff of developers and their antics and that is the bit you ignore when you promote the free market as the cure-all for our housing woes. Think of the woman in the cottage in Ely street who had a garage built across her window for instance; these sort of cases represent the collaterol damage where developers capture living environment for their private profit. I don't think you and the Rev Coleman are on the same side or I'm a monkey's uncle.

jh - I understand your point of view - but the size of the financial capital ventures being undertaken by the likes of Roger Sutton on his NZD 700,000.00? salary are totally indefensible on the basis of sustainability.
And yet Sutton and his bosses defend the salary because of the size of the capital undertaking he oversees.
Nobody really questions the sustainability of the citizens' ability to pay on top of all the other liabilities they are increasingly liable for. Taxpayers/ratepayers cannot escape catastrophic failure if they load themselves up with debt to build things today which they can never afford to service without new borrowing tomorrow.
Collectively they will inevitably forfeit claim to that which they now believe they own. The Government is busy putting the legislation in place to favour foreign lenders, in the event of default.
The mantra of debt for growth is no longer applicable - whole counties in Europe are rolling over after the fact.

I agree with Hugh P - pass the smelling salts!
Two points:
1. HAving worked as a senior manager in another Council for some years I have developed a healthy cycnicism about the internal processes and capabilities of these organisations. I agree 100% that the execution of this plan will produce some combination of financial and outcome disaster. It will cost more and deliver less than this proposal suggests.
2. Let's nip in the bud the emerging practice of linking the development of Christchurch City Centre with recovery of the region. Greater Christchurch has found a new equilibrium - leaves a lot to be desired but it works. Businesses have either moved, shut down or discovered they don't need bricks and mortar anymore. This proposal is a new development and should be treated as such. To justify poor quality expenditure the Jerry, Bob and Peter show will appeal to the necessity of having to "recover" the city. Bollocks - it's still poor spend.

As I said elsewhere, imagine if,  instead of faffing about on this non-urgent project, CERA had thrown all these resources (and the kitchen sink) at getting the people (our friendsmothers, fathers, children) in TC3 sorted out.
I'll take reduction in trauma over an animated fly-by any day.


Hugh, for once you are entirely right.
The blueprint has brought huge confusion and uncertainty and on top of that a total loss of trust.
NZ is now a banana republic where the state can demolish your building steal your land and lock you out of your property on a whim.
How can we proceed to invest in a place where there is such a lack of trust, a lack of fairness and a total lack of integrity from those involved.
Is it just coincidental that Richard Peebles gets the majority of his land confiscated on which he had developments ready to go, after he won a court case against Brownlee????
There is no logic in the blueprint.  It is naive and egotistical.  It will destroy the economy.  It divides the city in every sense.  It indebts our future.  It obliterates trust.  It is a gross failure.
A merit worthy idea, would have been for CERA to slurp up unwanted land so that it didn't get landbanked by people who wouldn't develop it, but tearing down potentially hundreds of buildings that are in use or fixable is shear insanity.
God help us.  (Note to Gerry - he is not GOD).

So this top down bureaucratic approach sure is a mess.
Not in Singapore where the state is the biggest landlord:
SINGAPORE — If you hate government, want it out of your hair and held at bay, Singapore should be pure hell. One government agency manages 80 percent of the housing stock — all called public housing.
they have a two tier system of ownership. What I like about it is that urbanrenewal  happens regularily as required rather than leaving urban decay and crime to do it's job.

The more I think about the 'Frame', the more misgivings I have.
Yes, very nice to have some open spaces to the immediate east and south of the inner CBD - they need it.  It will look nice.  But the land within the Frame will be crossed by numerous busy streets, so it's are not going to be a contiguous park land like Hagley Park where, for example, families with little kids can go cycling for ever.  And like Hagley Park, you wouldn't venture in at night, and even following one of the streets through mightn't feel that safe either.
I would have thought that if you reduce the commercial footprint in the central city, then you could put in plenty of residential instead. Not all of that land between Manchester and Madras is dodgy... is it?  We do have a housing availability problem, don't we?  High density mixed-use areas, with some parkland, immediately adjacent and easily accessible to the CBD, would add a lot more vitality to the central city 24 hours a day, than a stadium that is at capacity once in a blue moon - at least, that's what I've seen overseas.
Not only is the govt using taxpayers money to buy land that is destined to become parkland, but it is forever depriving the Chch city council of rate revenues from all of those inner city properties taken out of the rating base.  Oh well, it can always sell the port I suppose. 

Can I add that the frame is closer to the Cathedral than my letterbox is to my back fence (and I live on a town section).
150m is obviously too great a distance for a CBD to radiate from its centre.

I don't know much about the land within the frame - is there anything particularly unstable about it, or is it OK to re-build on if done right?
What is the govt motive - to make land scarce in the city centre and therefore prices high?

Apart from about 2 blocks near the river the rest of the frame is some of the most stable land in the CBD with gravels at relatively shallow depths.  It would be almost entirely TC2 (yellow) if it were categorised.
Most of the frame could be built on cheaply.  A large majority of the low rise non brick buildings had no damage at all.
Indeed Team Hutchison Ford, Rick Armstrong Motors, The Drawing Room, Les Mills and numerous other buildings in the zone have been up and running since as soon as the respective cordons was reduced after Feb 22.  Some of those businesses have been fully operational for over a year.
This is just insanity to toss out long established businesses on solid ground that are fully operational.
Key just doesn't understand.  He is possibly the stupidest man alive.
The motive for creating the frame is to restrict land supply and constrain development into the city.  It is planning gone mad.  We can't rebuild in the city centre because most of the area isn't clear of existing buildings which are to be demolished - this will take years to achieve at best.
So a rebuild is potentially 5 years away now, when it could have all been underway immediately in the frame area.

From my latest round of phonecalls to EQC:
A 'computer glitch' at EQC has resulted in Land Damage claims in Chch not being uploaded onto their system.... and may not be available for 'a considerable time'. And EQC are expecting to pay "less than $30,000" on the vast majority of claims... So Gerry says the Red Zone is damaged beyond repair, while EQC say it would cost a few 10's of thousands of dollars to fix your section.
Oh, the fun of trying to get information out of that organisation...
Yes, Gerry, the rebuild is being stalled by insurers. With EQC being a HUGE part of that.
I would also like to know how the Government Works Act (which the CERA act can/ will use for compulsory purchases of land) applies if the government's intention is to buy and redevelop land for resale? Particularly if, as JK indicates, this is intended to generate income to 'recoup costs' of other rebuild projects?

Hugh, I thought the blueprint would be average and inconsequential.  Instead it's destructive and obstructive.
How can we turn this around, because right now I'm thinking that it's about time to give up and move to Australia.

Chris J......Key is a despicable THIEF and DICTATOR.
Well ,well ,well another one for printing and long ago did I tell you this little man was ...smug...arrogant... is not listening.... surrounds himself with yes working to an agenda......end of story...
Hilariously though old Phill the phillistine probably looks pretty ok given the current level of opposition to the Corportisation of N.Z.....David wassshisname ..?
 Crikey even "desperate" stood up and took a swing occassionaly.
You's a given that the Nats control Act......but just what if...what if....there were no real opposition to contend with........
You'd have every reason to be smug.

You's a given that the Nats control Act......but just what if...what if....there were no real opposition to contend with........
Christov ain't that the truth, careful now, wouldn't want you to get the Alan Hubbard treatment,

There is no Labour opposition. National/Labour - two factions of the same party. Helen the activist learned to play the game and became Helen the obsequeous and got her UN job eventually. What is the difference between Bill English and David Carter or Michael Cullen? Phil Goff and Murray McCully? Same in Australia, Great Britain, Canada, US etc etc
I like George Carlin's take on it



Below rock-bottom


We may have thought in the last four years that the financial industry reached rock-bottom. But in the last couple of months we clearly heard knocking from below and it looks the financial industry will fall even further.




Andrewj - from my trading experience in the City of London the following paragraph resonates most as having huge impact on my life and tilting me towards retirement in 1998.
"Depleting reserves banking" practice, peddled by fraudsters, need an army of incompetent "professionals" to run it. Incompetent to such a degree that they did not understand that this was a crude pyramid scheme that was bound to collapse. Hence a huge bunch of history, anthropology, other social sciences and, importantly, lawyers were employed as banks executives to execute heist designed that way. Typically these people's career in banking was very often based on hang-ups. A huge majority of them were very poor in maths in school and banking environment gave them a sense of massive self-importance. They became "masters of the universe" whilst many of their friends who were so much better in science at school were left behind in pretty poorly paid and mundane engineering jobs.
Thankfully I had the BSc (Hons) before I arrived the UK , and there were others in the dealing room with Oxbridge firsts in maths -really clever sods. 

futile, or not,  at least some property and business owners are ballsy enough to go down with a single finger raised proudly in the air at Key and his government:
It seems to be beyond the comprehension of those intent on building a utopian theme park in the Chch CBD that there are people with other interests in life apart from their own