Earthquake hit farmers to be offered movable homes

Twenty temporary housing units at the Rawhiti Domain used to support families through the Christchurch earthquakes are to be offered to farmers with significantly damaged homes from the Kaikōura earthquake, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“We have farmers in the Hurunui, Kaikōura and Marlborough districts with badly damaged homes who need alternative accommodation while their homes are repaired but who practically need to stay on the land. This option of relocating the temporary housing now surplus from the Christchurch earthquake recovery is an additional option that will provide a workable solution for some,” Dr Smith says.

The Government established the temporary accommodation villages on council reserves at Kaiapoi and Linwood in 2011 and Rawhiti in 2012, to provide local housing options for families while their homes were repaired. The Kaiapoi village was decommissioned in August 2016 with the 20 units sold by public tender to commercial and social housing purchasers. The Government was in negotiations to sell the remainder of the houses at Rawhiti and Linwood to the Christchurch City Council when the Kaikōura earthquake struck on November 14.

“We have been closely monitoring the housing needs of families affected by the Kaikōura earthquake through the Temporary Accommodation Service the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment established in November. Most needs are being met through vacant visitor accommodation but there is a particular problem for some farms with badly damaged housing who need on-site accommodation for their families or their farm workers.

“These movable homes will provide a more secure option than caravans or motorhomes for some of these farms. The number of farmers who could potentially benefit who have registered with the Temporary Accommodation Service is 18 in the Hurunui district, 5 in Kaikōura district and 5 in Marlborough although the economic viability of relocation the homes to Marlborough through the Lewis Pass may not be viable.”

The movable homes will be made available to qualifying farms at their residual book value of $24,510, a significant discount on their market value. The farmers will be responsible for the cost of relocation and connection of services and will also be responsible for obtaining consents from their local council, although Government is talking with these councils to make this process as smooth as possible. Insurers have been consulted and are open to their support for interim accommodation being used to help fund the costs. Right now, 13 of the 20 Rawhiti units are available. A further seven will become available as the current tenants’ home repairs are completed.

“The circumstances and costs of relocating and connecting services and accessibility will vary for each individual farmer, so it is difficult to predict how many will take up this option. Our concern is for winter when temporary accommodation options like caravans and campervans are not sustainable.  We are providing these movable homes to give farmers an additional choice in how to resolve their own particular situation.”

Affected farmers interested in a unit should register at www.temporaryaccommodation.mbie.govt.nz or by calling 0800 673 227.

Press release as per the Beehive Website. Image By Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust - http://www.flickr.com/photos/siftnz/4097276386/, CC BY 2.0, Link

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