Houses will be demolished

The Prime Minister said that possibly 10,000 houses will have to be demolished after the earthquake. The Head of Civil Defence thought the number was probably only 2,000. Time will tell. The important message from the Prime Minister is that the government will pay for the land if it is too badly damaged.

Most home owners have replacement insurance on their house. This means that the insurance company will give them enough money to replace the house. However, insurance companies do not pay for the land. After the Sept earthquake, the government had plans to repair the land where there was liquefaction. Now this has changed. There is so much liquefaction that the government decided it is too expensive to repair the land. It is better for people to build their houses on firm land. The land to the north and west is much firmer.

It is possible that many houses in the east will be demolished. The government will pay house owners for their land and insurance companies will pay to replace the house. House owners will be able to buy land in the north or west. The land in the east may become parks, golf courses or other areas for recreation.

Meanwhile, geo-technical experts are checking the land in the east. This could take three months. After that, we will know which areas will never be safe for re-building.

Some home owners say they want to leave their badly damaged area and never return. Others say that they have lived there for many years, the area feels like home and they don’t want to leave. They all want a choice, to stay or to go.

For more about liquefaction, listen to March 1st 2011.


The city was built more than 150 years ago. Who can we blame for building houses on soft land?

If the experts say that the land is not suitable for houses, can people stay there if they want to?

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