PM's Presser: Earthquake Commission
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At his post-cabinet press conference, PM John Key announced a royal commission of inquiry into building collapses in the Canterbury earthquake. This is in addition to investigations being undertaken by the Department of Building and Housing into the Canterbury Television, PGC, Forsyth Barr and Hotel Grand Chancellor building collapses. The commission is expected to make an interim report on issues relating to new construction in six months, and a full report in 12. Delays are possible if criminal proceedings arise from the Building and Housing investigations.
He also announced that the Canterbury earthquake memorial will be attended by the Australian Prime Minister, opposition leader, and Governor General, and announced the categories for grants that would be given from the earthquake fund. The focus of the fund has been narrowed as international donations are likely to give priority to the situation in Japan.
Tomorrow there will be a notice of motion in parliament on the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. New Zealand has sent USAR teams to aid in the aftermath and Key said "all necessary precautions" against radiation had been taken and he was assured the teams were ready after their work in Christchurch and would not detract from local work.
The Government intends to progress the Marine and Coastal Area Bill this week.
Also discussed were Christchurch's hosting of Rugby World Cup games (the Government hope to make a recommendation this week), extending assistance packages for Cantabrians, compensation of overseas citizens killed, the "moot" possibility of National negotiating with a party led by Hone Harawira, and New Zealand current low state of earthquake cover.