The multi-million dollar job of maintaining the red zone

MISSION: The Government spent $3.4 million maintaining the residential red zone in the last year, but it does have help from Bryan Fairbairn who mows 9ha of land next to New Brighton Rd. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

The Government has spent $3.4 million on maintenance, security and rates for red zoned land in the last year.

Figures released to The Star show in the 2016/17 financial year, Land Information New Zealand had spent $1.1 million on maintenance, such as mowing, weeding, pest removal, arborists and removing rubbish in the residential red zone.

It spent a further $300,000 on maintenance of red zoned land on the Port Hills.

The red zones need to be mowed monthly.

LINZ also needs to do “treatment” to make sure the land is in a park-like state and easy to mow and maintain, which includes clearing vegetation and any remaining fences, laying topsoil and sowing grass. It cost $400,000 to do that in the more than 600ha residential red zone last year and $800,000 for the land on the Port Hills.

Rates for both areas cost $600,000 in the last year, and community security was $300,000.

LINZ took on the role of managing the red zone areas after the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority was disestablished last year.

Up until November 2015, it cost $38.8 million for all maintenance, land treatment, security and rates, and $4.1 million from December 2015 to June 2016.

However, the Government does get a bit of help.

Bryan Fairbairn has been mowing 9ha of land along New Brighton Rd for more than three years, most of which he pays for himself. LINZ Crown property deputy chief executive Jerome Sheppard said its day-to-day management work included mowing, weeding and tree removal, as well as working closely with security contractors who patrolled the areas.

It also helped support the remaining residents still living in the area, he said.

“We also keep in contact with the residents of neighbouring green zone properties and address any questions they have about the adjacent residential red zone land.”

Mr Sheppard said LINZ organised rubbish removal and took care of traffic management with the city council, allowing contractor access or putting in road blocks.

“While most properties on the flat lands red zone have been cleared, we are still working to supervise the demolition of remaining properties.”

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