Expensive earthquake recovery machinery is being set alight by arsonists which is causing delays to the rebuild.
A $120,00 digger was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning in an empty section opposite the old Bower Tavern, on the corner of New Brighton Rd and Bower Ave, North New Brighton.
Earlier this month a $750,000 drilling rig operating in the central city red-zone was targeted by arsonists, the cab of the machine was burnt out.
This follows a pattern of arsons in abandoned eastern suburbs red-zoned properties over the past several months.
For the owners of the machinery this has hampered their work in the city's rebuild, causing projects to be delayed by more than four weeks.
Paul Flanaghan of Paul Flanaghan Contracting was frustrated by the damage to his digger.
"We are flat out at the moment - we don't need this. I had a crew down doing no work while we tried to find a replacement. We have had to hire a digger at $300 a day - and now I have just been told there is nothing around second-hand wise that we can buy to replace it," he said.
Managing director of Smith Cranes and Construction, Tim Smith said the drilling rig had been bought in from the United States specifically to help with the rebuild. It was damaged two days before it's first job at the Harcourts building on the corner of Madras St and Gloucester St.
Causing more than $50,000 worth of damage, Mr Smith said it could have been completely destroyed if an off-duty fireman hadn't spotted the fire on his way to work.
Mr Smith said major projects in central city red-zone were delayed because the machinery was difficult to replace.
"There are very few of these machines around and we have only just managed to replace it, putting our project behind by more than four weeks," he said.
Meanwhile, six cars have also been targeted by arsonists over the past fortnight. Fire investigators are unsure if they are linked but are keeping a watch on the situation.