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Uncertainty around Chch announcement

Wednesday 22nd June 2011

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When the Government finally makes public decisions around the future of thousands of Christchurch homes in the city's quake-stricken suburbs remains up in the air this morning.

Prime Minister John Key is to visit the city tomorrow but this morning said details may not be released until he returns from a trip to India for which he leaves on Sunday.

"That (timing of the trip) is not really a factor," he told TV3's Firstline programme.

"Obviously the sooner we can give people good quality information the better for all of us, as soon as we can agree the best possible outcome for them the better, but in the end it's about getting it right not my travel plans."

Owners have been pleading for weeks to be told whether they can repair or rebuild their homes, or have to abandon them because the land is unstable.

Key, who returned from Australia yesterday, and senior ministers discussed the announcement about those properties at a meeting last night. Some sort of announcement is possible tomorrow but may only be part of the information.

Labour's Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel yesterday said she believed the announcement would be made tomorrow because she had learned of planned newspaper advertisements and a mass mail out and MPs were told to expect a briefing.

Key said the Government did not want to give out information that created more concern.

"I think it's better we are actually able to go out there and be able to talk with some authority on that, otherwise we are really just sort of distressing people. I think we will be in a position soon to give them that very clear indication."

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English yesterday said the Government understood the frustration of the residents.

"The issues here are just the complexity of getting the reinsurers, who are all offshore, lined up with the insurance companies, with the community's need for certainty, and doing that in a way that's fair to the people of Christchurch," he said.

Labour's earthquake recovery spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, said people needed to be presented with a range of options: "they can't be offered something on a take it or leave it basis... Contractors have been put on hold and so has the recovery effort - no one knows why, people are champing at the bit to get going but are getting no information."



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