Emergency legislation for earthquake response

  • Gerry Brownlee
Leader of the House Civil Defence

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently.

Leader of the House and Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says new legislation recognises the extraordinary situation faced by earthquake-affected communities, particularly in the Kaikoura and Hurunui districts.

“The Bills have been developed by officials who have drawn on the experience of the Canterbury earthquakes,” Mr Brownlee says.

“A cross-party group of all Parliamentary representation has further worked on the Bills to strike a balance between accelerating works and respectful process.

“This is about Parliament ensuring the law is adaptable and best able to respond to this significant natural disaster.

“Today we will introduce the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill (CDEMAA Amendment Bill) and the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016.

“It is our intention that the first Bill will pass under urgency and will bring forward the commencement date of most provisions of the recently enacted CDEMAA.

“The CDEMAA Amendment Bill also provides that a Civil Defence controller or a Recovery Manager may require a building owner to undertake earthquake assessments of their properties.

“The second Bill – the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016 – will do three things.

“It will temporarily increase the timeframes in which someone can give notice or apply for retrospective consent in regard to emergency works under the Resource Management Act.

“It also proposes that emergency works to farm properties become permitted activities until March 30 2017.

“Since the earthquake, some farmers have had to dig bores and repair facilities on their land, which in some cases may have breached the normal requirements.

“Farmers will have to notify authorities of their activities within 40 working days.

“The Bill also proposes a number of legislative changes to allow for the restoration of Kaikoura harbours.

“It’s essential that access from the sea is restored so dredging, and other necessary work, will become controlled activities under the Regional Coastal Plan.

“The third Bill proposed – the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill 2016 – will establish a process that enables plans and bylaws to be amended by Order in Council.

“This Bill will be introduced to the House on Thursday before a short select committee stage.

“It was important to ensure cross-party talks so people affected by the earthquakes can be assured of support across all parties.

“Extraordinary circumstances require innovation and flexibility in order to promote economic recovery and empower local authorities and affected communities to turn their minds to rebuilding,” Mr Brownlee says.

Anyone requiring information and support should call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997.