Following February’s earthquake which killed 181 people and devastated Christchurch (photo, frombbcimg.co.uk), New Zealand’s government has agreed to buy more than 5,000 homes which will have to be abandoned for several years.
The authorities said buying those homes will cost NZ$600m ($500m).
The city was divided into four colour-coded zones – red, orange, green and white – and prime minister John Key said nothing could be rebuilt in the red zone before three to five years.
“A minimum of 5,000 homeowners were in a situation where they couldn’t get a property rebuilt on their land for the entire time that their children were in high school,” he said.
He explained that the government would offer to pay them for their homes or their land, depending on their insurance situation.
Mr Key added that the government is still considering whether 10,000 homes located in the orange zone will have to be demolished.
The country’s PM answered critics about the government being too long with the compensation claims by saying that the Earthquake Commission had been set up only recently and was dealing with 350,000 separate claims.
In the meantime residents can find out which zone their homes are in on a website set up by the government.