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Govt gets on with rebuilding Christchurch

Govt gets on with rebuilding Christchurch

The Government will introduce legislation to Parliament tomorrow to enact the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said today.

"It is our intention to pass the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill under urgency this week. This is to enable the people of greater Christchurch to get on with rebuilding their city as quickly as possible," Mr Brownlee said.

"Subject to the leave of the House it is intended that following its first reading the bill will go through a truncated select committee process from 6pm on Tuesday and return to the House for its second and third readings on Thursday."

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will lead and coordinate the ongoing recovery effort in Canterbury. It will enable an effective, timely and coordinated rebuilding and recovery effort by working closely with local councils and engaging with local communities.

Mr Brownlee said the purpose of the bill is to provide CERA with the necessary powers to relax, suspend or extend laws and regulations for clearly defined purposes related to earthquake recovery.

"The bill has undergone extensive consultation with government department legal experts and has been provided to the opposition parties for their review."

A CERA newsletter will also be delivered to all greater Christchurch households from tomorrow to give an update on earthquake recovery efforts.

"There was a lot of criticism following the first earthquake about lack of communication so CERA has undertaken to send this newsletter out as its first official communication to keep residents informed about what is happening," Mr Brownlee said.

The newsletter includes an update on land damage and states the government hopes to be able to give an initial indication about the state of the land and identify options for the worst affected suburbs by late May 2011.

The Government is working to build a comprehensive picture of the damage to both residential and commercial land and to identify the key issues for rebuilding.

"We hope to be able to give a general overview of the damage that has occurred to land across Canterbury and how it has moved due to the earthquakes - upward, downward and horizontally," Mr Brownlee said.

"We are also aiming to give an initial indication of new hazard issues for areas that have experienced the greatest land damage, and to give an indication of the areas of relatively undamaged land where it's okay to start repairing and rebuilding.

"There are terabytes of data to collect, collate and analyse so an accurate picture can be formed about the damage to land in Canterbury and options for the future.

"Currently, only about 30 per cent of the technical information needed is available and has been collated. We are working as fast as we can but due to the scale of this disaster it will take time," Mr Brownlee said.

"There's still a long way to go to do all the work to obtain this technical information. We need to take this time because it's important we base our decisions on the best scientific and engineering advice available.

"However, we realise we need to get information out to residents in the worst affected suburbs to keep them informed about what has happened to the land and the process from here, which is why we have said we'll have an update for them by late May.

"By the end of May we hope to be able to give some timelines for when more detailed information will be completed and available, and decisions and announcements made."

To view a copy of the CERA newsletter from Tuesday 12 April visit: www.ceragovt.nz

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill will be available from tomorrow at www.legislation.govt.nz after the bill has been tabled.

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