New Zealand

Good progress with post quake state house repairs

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Housing Minister Phil Heatley says Housing New Zealand staff and contractors have inspected all state homes damaged as a result of the earthquakes in Canterbury and a repair programme is well underway.

Between 22 February and 18 April 2011 contractors carried out more than 3,920 of the most urgent of the 5621 health and safety repairs to 2,352 state homes. Common repairs include those to roofs, chimneys, hot water cylinders, work to windows and doors and clearing drains.

“This has been a great effort on the part of Housing New Zealand to ensure that in less than two months the majority of tenant’s homes are safe and weather tight before winter sets in,” says Mr Heatley.

There are 155 homes where the main heating source for their home, either a log burner or heat pump, has been damaged by the quakes. Housing New Zealand is working to fix those it can before winter.

“Where this is not possible because of the extent of damage, the Corporation will be supplying tenants with convection or radiant heaters to heat their homes, along with tips on ways to keep warm and healthy this winter. Housing Managers are out in their local community visiting tenants and checking on their heating requirements, says Mr Heatley.

Of the total HNZ stock in Christchurch 660 homes appear to be structurally damaged and engineers are completing full assessments of the work that needs to be done. Of these properties, 160 are uninhabitable and 26 beyond repair.

“Housing New Zealand is working with tenants whose homes require more extensive repair, to find alternative housing. As some of this work will take considerable time to complete, Housing New Zealand will look to get families settled in other homes to prevent further disruption to their lives,” Mr Heatley said.

More than a third of state homes - 2136 - have no damage.