Housing in Post-Quake Canterbury: Human Rights Fault Lines

The 2010–2011 Canterbury earthquakes and their aftermath have been described by the Human Rights Commission as one of New Zealand's greatest contemporary human rights challenges. This article documents the shortcomings in the realisation of the right to housing in post-quake Canterbury for homeowners, tenants and the homeless. The article then considers what these shortcomings tell us about New Zealand's overall human rights framework, suggesting that the ongoing and seemingly intractable nature of these issues and the apparent inability to resolve them indicate an underlying fragility implicit in New Zealand's framework for dealing with the consequences of a large-scale natural disaster. The article concludes that there is a need for a comprehensive human rights-based approach to disaster preparedness, response and recovery in New Zealand.

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