Friday, August 17, 2012

Gerry Brownlee & CERA Scaremongers, Port Hills Quake Zonings

Weekend Press 18-19.08.12: "Some 121 of the 163 affected properties were red zoned, taking the total number of Port Hills properties condemned by the Government to 406. Five properties were rezoned from white to green, but 37 properties remained white."

Port Hills white zoners waited for months to be red or green zoned. Some were, some weren't. There were more delays for Port Hills white zoners still awaiting tardy CERA re-zonings.

Gerry Brownlee, CERA minister went into his "degree of rigour" required routine, but we'd heard those delay excuses since riverside properties were red zoned over a year ago. CERA was deliberately scaring Port Hills home owners about rock fall, hill slide & cliff fall risks.

During nearly 2 years of quakes, some red zoned, Port Hills properties never had rock falls on them, yet Brownlee & CERA scaremongers red zoned perfectly good, Port Hills properties, then made risible, govt offers based on 2007 rateable value to land-grab perfectly good properties.

Examples: An engineer built his own rock-catcher fence to protect his 3 year old Lyttelton home, which was now red zoned. Like he was being punished by CERA scaremongers for speaking out in The Press months ago, together with neighbour, columnist Bennett, who received one tiny rock from the Port Hills over two quake years. A Sumner civil engineer / builder refused to leave his red zoned home as he'd concrete protected it against rockfall.

The Lyttelton engineer & Joe Bennett objected to their safe houses being Council red stickered, unlivable, having to be abandoned. The Lyttelton engineer said on TV One News that CERA had no transparency in its zoning decisions. The Sumner engineer said he'd have to be taken out of his home in handcuffs. (The Press 23.08.12).

CERA boss Sutton rogered Port Hills white zoners for months with his scaremongering, Milan University modelling of bouncing rocks. Funny CERA couldn't sort out its computer cock ups, regarding timeously informing Port Hills white zoners by emails that their properties were red zoned.

Why emails?

Latest CERA cock up, some Port Hills property owners only found out about their red zoning through the media. How effective were slow, geotech engineers & their so-called, ground-truthing & computer modelling?

Latest from scaremonger Sutton, on TV One News, was that CERA had inquired about rock-catcher fencing, but nowhere in the world were rock-catcher fences used for seismic rockfalls. Sutton jabbered, "We haven't found remediation which fits our criteria." Sutton didn't say what CERA criteria were.

In my Europe travels I'd driven / bussed / trained under many rock-catcher / avalanche protection, concrete structures. I'd passed many rock-catcher embankments. Not high tech, but effective. Concreting & steel reinforcing, like on road cuttings, would stop rock falls. Never mind mining, steel, roof bolt pinning of rocks. What about CERA's / Council's shipping container barriers below Clifton & Sumner cliffs? 

In 1995, one of my first labouring jobs was at a forestry nursery in Avoca Valley. Most Avoca Valley properties had zoning completion. Maybe Avoca Valley residents' recent protest on Ports Hills Rd caused CERA to speed up its zoning there?

The Press 21.08.12. CERA's efficiency was moot, as an Avoca Valley property was zoned green with a heap of fallen rocks, whereas neighbouring properties were zoned red with no fallen rocks. So much for CERA's Port Hill's, rezoning delays & transparency, regarding Sutton's vaunted computer modelling. CERA's land reports could only be obtained in October, when zoning of all properties was completed.

Sat 18.08.12. I wanted to see warm, north-facing, Horotane Valley, Heathcote Valley & Morgans Valley, so I drove to Horotane Valley & snapped quaked damaged housing & early daffodils in an early blooming, fruit orchard.

7 images, Horotane Valley:

18.08.12. Horotane Valley view of quake collapsed Castle Rock, left & The Tors

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Horotane Valley

18.08.12. Greenhouse, Horotane Valley. Quake collapsed Castle Rock back drop

18.08.12. Daffodils, Horotane Valley

18.08.12. Fruiterers store, Horotane Valley

18.08.12. Horotane Valley view of quake collapsed Castle Rock

I drove to Heathcote Valley & drove a circuit of roads, including Port Hills Rd & stopped intermittently for quake pics.

Heathcote valley was dominated by rocky bluffs on Mt Pleasant, left; Mt Cavendish & 04.09.10 quake collapsed, Castle Rock middle & Horotane Valley wall, right. Above Flinders Rd the motorway went to Lyttelton Road Tunnel. Between Port Hills Rd & Bridle Path Rd, the railway ran up Heathcote Valley floor to Lyttelton Railway Tunnel

Flinders Rd: Quake trashed, abandoned housing. Other houses OK & inhabited. Mud slides by the road cutting, after recent heavy rains. House at the top, quake trashed near the stream.

16 images, Flinders Rd:

18.08.12. Heathcote Valley, Martindales Rd view of quake damaged roof, Flinders Rd. Quake collapsed, Castle Rock backdrop

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Flinders Rd, Heathcote Valley. Mt Pleasant backdrop

18.08.12. Flinders Rd view of post quake, Maltworks silos, demolition site, Heathcote Valley

18.08.12. Flinders Rd, Heathcote Valley view of quake collapsed, Castle Rock

18.08.12. Flinders Rd, Heathcote Valley view of Mt Cavendish

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, cnr Flinders Rd / Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley

Bridle Path Rd: A quake trashed, abandoned house, at the top, near the Gondola Station.

20 images, Bridle Path Rd, Port Hills Rd:

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley

Port Hills Rd: Quake damaged housing. Other houses OK & inhabited. Soccer crowd at Heathcote Domain club field. Kids played in the domain, playing area by the Bowls Club. A man chucked a ball for his huntaway across the soccer field.

18.08.12. Port Hills Rd view of quake collapsed, Castle Rock

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Port Hills Rd, Heathcote Valley

18.08.12. Heathcote Valley, Port Hills Rd, quake damaged housing & view of quake collapsed, Castle Rock. The Tors behind

18.08.12. Heathcote Domain playground, Port Hills Rd. Lyttelton Tunnel motorway cutting above green embankment

18.08.12. Heathcote Domain, sports field & clubhouse. Mt Cavendish & Morgans Valley backdrop

At the old Maltworks, over past months, we saw demolition of concrete silos, which had survived the quakes well. A digger picked over concrete rubble, near the railway going to Lyttelton Tunnel. New Maltworks Villas would be built on the old Maltworks site.

18.08.12. Post quake, Maltworks Villas development, Maltworks silos demolition site, Port Hills Rd, Heathcote Valley. Lyttelton Tunnel railway behind demolition site

18.08.12. Post quake, Maltworks Villas development, Maltworks silos, demolition site, Port Hills Rd, Heathcote Valley. Mt Cavendish right

Due to quakes in Heathcote Valley, so close to the Port Hills Fault, which had raised the Port Hills one metre in the 22.02.11 quake, Maltworks Villas development was nuts! A domain extension was more reasonable. A board on the bare development ground & another board by the railway extolled Maltworks Villas safety:

"Soon to be established on this site will be a Lifestyle Village designed thoughtfully to enhance the quality of living for those looking for a safe environment and secure investment."

18.08.12. Post quake, Maltworks silos demolition site, Port Hills Rd, Heathcote Valley

18.08.12. Port Hills Rd view of quake collapsed, Castle Rock. The Tors behind

18 images, Martindales Rd:

18.08.12. Martindales Rd, traffic circle view of Port Hills Rd, Heathcote Valley. Mt Cavendish beyond

Martindales Rd: The dairy by the traffic circle was was gone, demolished. Several quake damaged houses. Heathcote Valley Community Library was quake trashed & fence cordoned. The library was demolished in 2013.

18.08.12. Martindales Rd view of quake damaged house, Flinders Rd, Heathcote Valley

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Martindales Rd, Heathcote Valley

Sham Recovery: 18 months post 22.02.11 quake, as there were so many quake trashed, unrepaired, or non rebuilt Heathcote Valley bldgs, it was an indictment of CERA, EQC & insurers. The latter two delayers & CERA not enabling speedy claims settlements by EQC & insurers. As CERA didn't use it's powers to sort out EQC's & insurers' delays, what was the point of CERA, as a RECOVERY agency?

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Martindales Rd. Quake collapsed, Castle Rock backdrop

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Martindales Rd. Mt Cavendish backdrop

18.08.12. Quake damaged house, Martindales Rd. Mt Pleasant behind


18.08.12. Quake trashed, fence cordoned, Heathcote Valley Community Library, Martindales Rd. The library was demolished in 2013

Cnr Martindales Rd / Bridle Path Rd: On the WW1 / WW2 black granite obelisk, someone had stuck details-of-the-dead captions next to dead soldiers' names. In the blue beyond, Mt Pleasant & Mt Cavendish loomed. Given CERA's land-grabbing & freedoms those soldiers fought for, they'd be spinning in their graves. Like other WW colonials, Kiwi soldiers fought for land rights, yet the present, so-called, National govt land-grabbed NZ citizens' land.

18.08.12. WW1 / WW2 monument, cnr Martindales Rd / Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley. Mt Pleasant left, Mt Cavendish right 

Morgans Valley: New Houses at the valley bottom looked OK. There were quake abandoned houses at the top development. Above the housing development & concrete retaining walls, a line of pine trees grew. Mt Pleasant & Mt Cavendish bluffs loomed above. A Council vetted, rock fall fence proved useless against quake, rock fall hazard.

18 images, Morgans Valley:

18.08.12. Morgans Valley view of Mt Pleasant bluffs, Port Hills

18.08.12. Morgans Valley view of Mt Cavendish, Port Hills

18.08.12. Morgans Valley skateboarders below Mt Cavendish, Port Hills

Youngsters skateboarded down steep Morgans Valley. I gave a lift to 2 skateboarder blokes to the top traffic circle. A spaniel greeted me there, another dog barked from the only inhabited house garden. The top house at the end of the road was quake damaged & abandoned.

18.08.12. Morgans Valley, quake damaged house below Mt Pleasant bluffs

18.08.12. Morgans Valley, quake neglected, letter boxes, Port Hills

18.08.12. Quake abandoned house, Morgans Valley

By the traffic circle were 2 stands of 10 letter boxes each, lot numbers up to 86 in the quake killed development. Junk mail poked out of some letter boxes. On top of letter boxes were new telephone directories in yellow plastic packets. I doubted anyone would collect the junk mail nor telephone directories.

18.08.12. Quake damaged roadside, Morgans Valley, Christchurch


18.08.12. Morgans Valley view of Heathcote Valley & Heathcote River, Christchurch

18.08.12. Morgans Valley letter boxes, concrete retaining wall & rock-catcher trees

After Council development cock ups, quakes & CERA zonings, all that the steep road up Morgans Valley was good for was skateboarding.

18.08.12. Concrete retaining wall & quake abandoned house, Morgans Valley

18.08.12. Morgans Valley view of soggy Heathcote Valley & Heathcote River, Christchurch

*Wandered Horotane Valley, Flinders Rd, Bridle Path Rd, Port Hills Rd, Martindales Rd, Morgans Valley.

Once CERA & NZ National govt had its way with red zonings, it was time to consider who owned Christchurch quake ravaged land - bits of riverside suburbs - Avonside, Dallington, Burwood, Avondale, Bexley, Southshore, Brooklands - Port Hills lands - CBD Green Frame land - commercial CBD land needed for NZ National govt's / CERA's Blueprint CBD stadium & Blueprint Convention Centre?

With its CERA 2 offers for residential red zoners, NZ National govt used home owners' insurances from tardy insurers to compensate home owners, based on 2007 rates valuations. Worse still, ratepayers had to cough up a pay out proportion for each Port Hills red zone property, as Council was responsible for rock fall, hill slide & cliff fall hazards protection.

As NZ National govt / CERA had also Blueprinted CBD Green Frame land, with cheap market value payouts, it was a National govt land grab of vast Christchurch CBD & residential areas.

Both NZ National govt & SA apartheid Nationalist govt used police state powers, with dictatorial decrees, to demolish perfectly good bldgs & separate citizens from their properties for lengthy periods, by means of no go cordons, while citizens were detained, arrested, intimidated & harassed by cops & soldiers. The excuse in Christchurch being public safety. Never mind NZDF soldiers & Ryan Security at checkpoints, cordons & suburban patrols.

Imagine your residential land or CBD commercial land red zoned & confiscated by NZ National govt without adequate reasons. That happened in Christchurch. NZ National govt's 2 offers for residential land, at 2007 RV, yes, but NZ National govt's land reports giving reasons, no.

Example of CERA boss Sutton's indifference regarding NZ National govt offers on CBD Green Frame land: "This is the offer, have a nice day." (The Press 30.08.12). Sutton just followed NZ National govt orders, lacking compassion, imagination & judgement.

As Sutton's CERA was confiscating CBD land & demolishing the red zone, NZDF cordoned, CBD, it was time Brownlee & Sutton ordered a 100 day Blueprint for Christchurch's neglected E suburbs, still wallowing in liquefactioned, red zone & green-blue zone, TC3 squalor.

Separation of CERA's Blueprint for the CBD rebuild & CERA's neglect of quake trashed, E suburbs was supreme apartheid.

CERA land reports would only be released after all Port Hills land was zoned, perhaps during October. And CERA took its time completing land zonings in the Port Hills, with odious apologies from Brownlee. That was only after 1 000s of residential red zoners had already accepted NZ National govt's offer, under duress, to accept by a NZ National govt deadline.

Apartheid Christchurch: Processed by CERA bureaucrats, NZ National govt took land from citizens by forming colour zones & forcing people to move by discriminatory decree based on earthquakes. Processed by Nat bureaucrats, SA apartheid, Nationalist govt took land from citizens by forming separate townships & homelands & forcing people to move by discriminatory decree based on skin colour.

There was apartheid planning (condoned by NZ National govt / CERA) by greedy rebuild companies, wanting to recruit overseas migrant, cheap labour, like Filipinos & Irish & stuff workers into single sex, men's hostels (aka apartheid hostels) by buying Christchurch blocks of flats for migrant workers, or making migrant workers' camps, within the 4 Avenues of the old CBD, to rebuild the post quake CBD. (Rebuild accommodation was talked about, but didn't happen, as rebuild workers just flooded Christchurch's reduced rental market, causing inflation & rental hardship for Christchurch citizens).

Continuing apartheid: There was separate development of Christchurch CBD (by CERA's CCDU) with millions of dollars pumped in Christchurch CBD. Christchurch E suburbs were neglected, with impoverished development of Christchurch E suburbs, like SA apartheid, impoverished locations / townships, Bantustans / homelands.

Apartheid SA was riddled with Development Corporations, full of affirmative action white bureaucrats, leeching the taxpayer & doing little development. Examples: Transkei Development Corporation (TDC), Ciskei Development Corporation (CDC), QwaQwa Development Corporation QDC... Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) was a similar affirmative action bureaucracy made by CERA, doing little CBD development, so far.

Christchurch's red zoning, forced removals, 2011-2012, were akin to Johannesburg, Sophiatown's forced removals of blacks to Soweto in 1955; forced removals of Durban North Indians to Chatsworth, 1960s; Cape Town, District Six force removals of Coloureds to Cape Flats, 1960s.

There was little difference between SA apartheid govt's forced removals of SA citizens & NZ govt's forced removals of Christchurch citizens from their red zoned residential & CBD commercial properties, under duress, 2 govt offers for residential properties, or deal with slack insurers, then disperse to Halswell, Rolleston, Rangiora, Kaiapoi developments, so that Councils, CERA & National govt tendercrats could benefit from insurance pay outs.

As for notorious passes SA apartheid citizens had to carry, Christchurch Civil Defence, then CERA controlled a pass system for NZDF military checkpoint, access to Christchurch red zone CBD. Not only contractors, but red zone property owners needed CERA passes to access their own properties in CERA occupied CBD.

Both SA & NZ apartheid govts decreed & processed huge structural violence & injustices, like NZ's tardy EQC & insurers. SA's apartheid ended due to internal resistance, international sanctions & business boycotts by locals. What resistance to NZ National govt's / CERA's residential red zoning & red zone, CBD Blueprint?

Why didn't NZ National govt gift its red zone residential land & red zone CBD & CBD Frame land, obtained under duress by CERA dictatorial powers, back to Christchurch citizens, in the form of a land trust, something like UK's National Trust? Perhaps a Christchurch Land Trust? Or Christchurch Heritage Land Trust? Or Avon River Park Trust? NZ National govt had already received the 18 500 signature petition for the AVON River Park, on residential red zone land.

As Christchurch citizens suffered the quakes, they deserved their land given back. Quake ravaged or not. Not doled out by successive NZ govts to govt cronies at govt profit, at the expense of taxpayers & Christchurch ratepayers.

Fri 24.08.12. To sort out CERA's zoning cock ups, Sutton announced that of the 1 300 flat land residential properties under zone review, only "three properties change from red to green zone and 101 properties will change from green to red." The rest no change. After review, CERA only rezoned 104 properties out of 1 300 flat land properties under review.

The rezonings included properties where owners hadn't even asked for a review, but their rezonings were decreed by CERA regarding infrastructure availability & isolation.

"The remaining properties that didn't change are mostly in Technical category (TC3) areas..." That still left TC3 flat land properties in a muddle dictated by CERA, 28 000 TC3 property values extinguished by CERA, as EQC dithered about drilling land, so TC3 foundations could be fixed, according to Dept of Building & Health criteria & EQC was dithering about apportionment of costs according to serial quakes, which let slack insurers off the payment hook, as they just blamed EQC for delays.

CERA's website publication of NZ National govt Cabinet minutes, 27.06.11, showed that CERA concocted red zone criteria were: uncertainty... disruption... non timeliness... non cost effectiveness... health & well being... (Pg 3-4, Cab Min (11) 24/15, 27.06.11). Those criteria could equally be applied to CERA concocted green-blue, TC3 properties. Why the discrimination?

Non cost effectiveness was funny, as properties were zoned red if they were too expensive to fix on land too expensive to remediate. Properties were zoned green if they were less expensive to fix on land not too expensive to remediate, like CERA concocted, green-blue, TC3 land. It was bullshit, as rebuild costs were based on post quakes, mythical land values. Who knew the value of Canterbury or Christchurch land after 11 000 quakes over the last 2 years?

Sat afternoon 25.08.12. Leah & I bought pies at French Bakery, Chapmans Rd & chomped them at Heathcote Domain. We watched kids gliding down the Flying Fox & a blue paraglider soaring & gyering from Mt Cavendish over Heathcote Valley. The paraglider stooped & landed safely on Heathcote Domain sports field. The kids & paraglider took risks, giving the lie to CERA's computer modelling, gobbledegook about future quake hazards in Heathcote Valley.

Thurs 13.09.12. CERA announced that 37 Port Hills properties were red zoned in Horotane Valley & Bridle Path Rd, Heathcote Valley, 443 red zone Port Hills properties so far. Lucas Ln, Hillsborough properties were still white zoned, in limbo, awaiting re-zoning.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Family struggles for answers after land zoning (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Left with a house that's unsellable (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Resident defiant despite red sticker (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Review of land zoning completed 24 August 2012 (CERA).

See Housing squeeze hits rebuild (The Press / Stuff Co). 

See Unwilling landowners to get ultimatum (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Big camps planned for rebuild workers (The Press / Stuff Co). 

See The red zone in the hills (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Mayor challenges Port Hills zoning process (The Press / Stuff Co).

1 comment:

  1. Replied to an email: A High St jeweller needed permission to use one of my Sept 4 quake pics in her soon to be published book, proceeds to go to people injured in the 22.02.11 quake.