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New wave of compulsory acquisitions by CERA

Christchurch's historic Odeon Theatre is destined for the wrecker’s ball – at the behest of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

The site is destined for new offices for Environment Canterbury.

The property is owned by a company associated with bankrupt Dave Henderson, who wants to return it to its former glory.

“I’m astounded at this extraordinary destruction of private property rights that’s going on without any debate,” he told NBR ONLINE.

He vowed to fight the move.

The property is one of the latest tranche of central city privately owned properties to be seized by CERA.

The government-appointed ministry today issued notices of intent for dozens of inner city properties.

Some of the properties are vacant. Others have functioning businesses on them, including car sales yards. Some are reserves.

The compulsorily-acquired land will be used for a Metro Sports centre along Antigua St fronting on Moorhouse Ave to the south of the city centre; the “southern frame” for various projects; and a block in Madras/Gloucester Sts that will be a residential precinct.

More by Chris Hutching

Comments and questions

The average kiwi doesn't know and wouldn't care. There is no such thing in this "free" nation of private property rights. The socialists dress it all up civilised like and litter the landscape with platitudes such as fairness and common good and, worse, lie with terms in legislation over willing seller and buyer. But in the end it's just the state stealing other people's land and property. Revolutions have started over less.

Sad but true.

@Anonymous, I wouldn't think there are many socialists taking part in this particular land grab.

I agree that it's an outrage if any land in Christchurch is nationalised for any reason other than being a hazard to occupants. Haven't they all been through enough?

Well, Foster, if the people doing this aren't socialists then they are Fascists. Who else has such little regard for the ideas of private property? If I were in Christchurch I would be leaving.

I think you're closer to the mark there.

You're all nuts! You all do not live in Christchurch. Dave Henderson should not be allowed to comment on anything, given the capital destruction he caused Christchurch investors prior to the quake. Millions.

Obviously, none of you have any idea of the world-class plans for the Christchurch CBD presented by the CCDU ( This is the chance Christchurch has at being a up-to-date 21st century city.
Anyone in business can see the benefits to the greater Christchurch good in this plan. Some property owners do not like the acquisition but they will be getting a fair deal, in my estimate, given we have just experienced four major earthquakes.

Please educate yourselves or stay out of the comment.

I am sure it is all promoted in the Cera offices and other bastions of moral regard as neccessary in the name of a good cause.

Just like a 1000-year Reich was also a good cause.

It is outrageous.

Much sympathy for the land owners affected, but frankly without this sort of action the Christchurch rebuild would take literally ages longer than what it will anyway The last thing Chch needs is years and years of debate, negotiations, and back biting, it just can't be allowed to happen - - tough but got to be done in my book.

I completely agree. It would be so typical of NZ to end up with terrible and haphazard development of the "new" Christchurch with no cornerstone developments or planning because every man and his dog blocked developments and withheld consents, etc.

This "land grab" is the most pro-growth, pro-development, "just bloody get on with it" action taken in NZ for years - the type most of us hope and wish here on NBR daily!

I see, so the end can justify the means sometimes?

Has to!

"It's not theft, Your Honour! They wouldn't sell, so I took it."

Dave Henderson - you don't get a say, mate, you're bankrupt.

You can't really call it theft when CERA is paying for the land. It's compulsory. But the landlords aren't exactly losing. They will be able to use the money to set up in a purpose-built city. Sounds to me like everyone is better off.

The key question is if CERA paying current market values or some historic or a mumbo-jumbo value? Reports suggest it's the latter and a refusal to reveal the details which suggests the basis is either flawed or controversial. If this proves correct then CERA, the government and Colliers, who I believe are doing the valuation for CERA, will suffer damage to their reputations.

If it is so precious why hadn't Mr Henderson restored it rather than leaving it lying idle, unused and rotting for all those years?
Ignore him. He doesn't own it and could never afford to fix it - even when he wasn't bankrupt.

If we don't like someone it's OK to take their property? I suspect See has a senior role in Cera. Failing that, See has a great future there. Property is property and all the rights around it should be protected, regardless of whom owns it.

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