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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Extending the Red Zone deadline past 30 April 2013

As part of the Southshore rezoning the deadline for properties to be vacated has been extended beyond the 30th of April 2013 for the first time. This date was set last year when the first Red Zone announcement was made in June, based upon the state of affairs prior to the June earthquakes.

The explanation for the extension to the 30th of June 2013 is:
"Due to the timing of the Southshore decisions, property owners in Southshore would have had less than 12 months to accept the Crown offer and settle by 30 April 2013. The extension of the final settlement date to 30 June 2013 for these property owners is to allow them up to 12 months from the date they receive the offer to accept the offer and up to 13 months to complete settlement. This is consistent with the timeframe the most recent residential red zone property owners have had."
There is no strong logic behind the two month extension to the 30th of June 2013. It is far too short a period, as other recently rezoned people are finding.

The government logic appears to be that:
  • a shortened time frame would be "unfair"
  • the April 30th deadline is not fixed, and so can be extended
  • this would be consistent (more or less) with the timing given to those zoned Red earlier this year.
Where the logic falters is in the concept that consistency of time frame (similar opportunity to make informed and considered decisions, and then act upon them):
  • can be confined to the Southshore decision alone
  • does not require the same period of time to be given to all who are zoned Red.
A very strong argument will be run that equivalent periods of time should be introduced for all who were zoned Red after the initial decisions in June last year:
  • there is no evidence that a shorter period is better than a longer one for Red Zoners to get their claims sorted, make decisions, and find somewhere else to live
  • nor is there evidence that CERA/Government have any public policy or programme critically dependent upon certain things having been finalised by the 30th of April 2013 (i.e. the date is merely an arbitrary mark on the calendar based upon assumptions that ceased to be valid 6 or more months ago) 
  • there is evidence that inefficient/uncooperative/disputative EQC and insurance company behaviour is reducing the time available to make considered decisions without being under duress (perhaps deliberately)
  • a timeline, with staggered exit dates all based upon the same period of time from the date of the CERA offer letter, would remove the arbitrariness of one date suits all, and be consistent across all Red Zone announcements
  • the concept of consistency would then have only one definition
  • failure to apply a universal definition of consistency puts the official position into the "arbitrary and capricious" class much loved by barristers.
More on lawyers and barristers in the next post.

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