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Greens support power for Christchurch not Brownlee

12 April 2011

Greens support power for Christchurch not Brownlee

The people of Christchurch deserve a bill that gives them the power to rebuild Christchurch, not one that gives all the power to Gerry Brownlee, said the Green Party today.

“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery bill effectively gives unbridled power to the Beehive for five years and sidelines councils and local communities. The international evidence shows that community-led recovery efforts work best and we will be seeking amendments to achieve this,” said Dr Kennedy Graham, Green Party Earthquake Recovery spokesperson.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament today and will be progressed under urgency this week.

“The Green Party supports taking all necessary steps to look after the people of Christchurch and ensure that their city can be rebuilt. But vesting unaccountable and virtually unlimited powers in one man is not the best way to do this.

“We do support giving oversight to a single entity over the rebuild but it needs to be accountable to the people of Christchurch.

“Under this bill the Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee will be able to exercise emergency powers and change any law in the country for the next five years. This is more than is needed for the rebuild and is not consistent with a democratic locally-led recovery effort.

“We shall be putting up amendments to the bill in the committee stages. If these are taken up we shall review whether we can support this bill.”

The Green Party will be putting amendments to the bill that include:

• Requiring community consultation on all the recovery plans, and any changes to the overarching strategy.
• Making the membership of the community forum independent from the Minister.
• Limiting the Minister’s and Chief Executive’s emergency powers to a 9 month period after which they will need to be consistent with the Recovery Strategy.
• Ensuring there is an independent body to review proposals to waive or suspend legislation. The current proposal is for a review panel appointed by the Minister that will have ability only to make recommendations which can be ignored.

“The Green Party has been working hard to promote a sustainable rebuild of Christchurch that provides for the residents affected to have their say. We hope that the Government will take a cross-party approach and provide for a more genuine engagement with the people of Christchurch in their bill,” said Dr Graham.


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