Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Government focuses on long term quake recovery

Government focuses on long term quake recovery

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has today announced a programme of change to how the government delivers its support for recovery in Christchurch and the surrounding area.

“Greater Christchurch’s recovery from the earthquakes remains a top priority for the Government,” Mr Brownlee says.

“But as the recovery evolves, so too will the role of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), and we need to plan for transition and longer term governance.

“A programme of review and adjustment with four elements to support the long term recovery will soon get underway.”

These are:

• CERA will move to become a Departmental Agency within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (similar to the move recently made by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management), to maintain momentum in the rebuild and place natural disaster recovery work at the core of central government planning;

• A transition plan will be put in place to hand over responsibility and powers from CERA to local government, other government agencies or other delivery vehicles;

• A stocktake of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 (CER Act) will result in the removal or scaling back of some of the legislation’s no-longer required powers, and an extension of any likely to be required for longer;

• An advisory group of local government and other stakeholders will be appointed to help guide the development of the transition plan and review of CER Act powers, and give Christchurch a strong voice in this work.

Mr Brownlee says the Government has confidence in Canterbury and its institutions, and will work with partner agencies and local government to ensure there are effective arrangements in place for earthquake recovery as long as support is needed.

“This is most certainly not a winding down of the Government’s commitment to the recovery.

“It’s recognition that with large parts of the recovery programme well underway, and with some, such as the EQC-managed repair programme almost complete, we need to ensure we’re focusing our efforts appropriately, and working on how and when some governance arrangements will transition to longer term oversight.”

Both CERA and the CER Act were established in 2011 with a limited lifespan. The CER Act expires in April 2016 and CERA was always intended to be an agency that wound down as its tasks were completed.

“Major pieces of work, such as the central city’s anchor projects and city-wide horizontal infrastructure repairs, will still be underway in 2016,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This is important work, which central government has invested heavily in, that will be maintained and effectively overseen by CERA.”

The CER Act sets out a range of powers that were considered necessary in the early stages of the earthquake response. Some of these powers didn’t end up being used and others may no longer be necessary. However, some powers will be needed beyond 2016 to ensure long term recovery work is effective and maintains momentum, while other powers may need to be transferred to more permanent agencies.

“This transfer will be made in a sensible and phased way so that capacity and capability is in place to ensure the recovery’s momentum is maintained,” Mr Brownlee says.

From February next year CERA will become New Zealand’s first Departmental Agency under the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This is the first formal step in CERA’s transition. The advisory group, which will help guide the CER Act transition, will also be established early next year.

This new phase for CERA takes effect from 1 February 2015. There will be no immediate changes for staff.

Questions and Answers

Will CERA still have its own chief executive?

Yes. The CERA chief executive will remain in place and continue to be employed by the State Services Commissioner, as per the current arrangement.

What will change for people who engage with CERA in greater Christchurch?

This change is being made to position CERA for the eventual transfer of responsibility for the recovery to more permanent agencies.

There will be no immediate change in CERA’s day-to-day role and people will continue to interact with the same staff in the same way as before.

Does the new administration arrangement through DPMC mean central government is winding down its contribution to the recovery?

No. Greater Christchurch’s recovery remains a top priority and long-term focus for the Government.

We have confidence in Canterbury and its institutions and will work with partner agencies and local government to ensure there are effective arrangements in place as long as support is needed.

Does this mean the Prime Minister is in charge of CERA now?

No. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is a Public Service Department with its own chief executive. CERA will continue to have its own chief executive as well.

The Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Responsibility will retain his current role and responsibilities.

Will CERA’s budget be reduced?

There are no changes to CERA’s budget as a result of today’s announcement.
As has been well signalled, over time CERA will wind down and its remaining responsibilities will transfer to other agencies. As this happens its budget will reflect that change.

What will the advisory group do?

The group will review draft plans and proposals, and give input and advice directly into the transition process.

What examples can you provide of CER Act powers that haven’t been used, and those which might need to be extended?

Section 28, which provided the chief executive with the power to approve local authority contracts, has not been used, and sections 35 to 37 which related to the chief executive directing new cadastral surveys have also not been used.

Others sections, such as sections 33 and 34 authorising powers of enter premises and taking samples, and sections 89 and 90 dealing with matters under the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010 may no longer be necessary.

Many provisions of the CER Act are still used on a regular basis and are required to ensure recovery work is effective.

For example, the law currently underpins Recovery Plans, workers’ indemnities, and compensation for land acquisitions, all of which will be required for some time.

The whole Act will be reviewed and amended where necessary, to reflect the changing nature of earthquake recovery in Canterbury.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news