In 2010 and early 2011 two major earthquakes hit the greater Christchurch area causing widespread damage. The first earthquake was magnitude 7.1 and struck at a depth of 10km near Darfield on 4 September 2010. The second was magnitude 6.3 and struck at a depth of 5km, 10km south-east of the Christchurch CBD, on 22 February 2011. One of the Government’s responses was to set up a temporary accommodation service. To support this, the Government also developed some temporary accommodation villages for displaced residents, located in the worst-affected areas.
In late 2012 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) undertook an evaluation of the temporary village initiative. The focus of the evaluation was on the relevance and effectiveness of the villages from the perspective of tenants and key stakeholders (staff from MBIE, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Inland Revenue (IRD), and the property management company Darroch). Administrative data held by the Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Services (CETAS) was also reviewed and analysed.
To date, the temporary villages have provided a relevant and effective service to displaced Canterbury residents with property damage resulting from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Village residents interviewed have appreciated the villages for what they are: temporary accommodation while their homes are being repaired or rebuilt. Almost all tenants regard the accommodation as ‘more than adequate’, and the rent as ‘fair’. Property management issues are quickly and efficiently dealt with; there is flexibility around end dates that gives tenants peace of mind if their repairs are delayed. The non-property management services have been useful for tenants and providers alike.
Key stakeholders report that repair work coming up is increasingly larger repairs that will take longer to complete. There is a shortage of private sector rental accommodation and providers report that as these repairs get underway from 2013 there will continue to be demand for temporary accommodation for longer periods of time.
This report presents key learnings about the development and operation of the temporary village initiative established in response to the Christchurch earthquakes.