Gerry Brownlee has just released a statement on the legistlation that the government will pass to help with the recovery and rebuild.

Urgent legislation to help Canterbury recovery

The government will introduce legislation tomorrow to facilitate recovery work in Canterbury, says Gerry Brownlee, the Minister responsible for coordinating the Government’s recovery response to the Canterbury earthquake.

“Canterbury has been under a state of emergency for nine days following the earthquake. When the state of emergency is lifted, normal legislative requirements come back into force,” Mr Brownlee said.

“The building, local government and resource management acts are not designed for the special circumstances Canterbury faces. We don’t want recovery work being slowed or stopped by filling out paper work. That is why the government is introducing the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill, to allow a seamless transition from the state of emergency.

“This temporary legislation will exempt or relax legislation as it applies to the emergency and recovery response. For example, sewage pipes that are cracked may be able to be diverted to ensure water supply remains safe and local councils aren’t liable for prosecution. If a heritage building needs strengthening urgently rather than waiting for resource consents and approvals the work could start immediately and consents would be granted retrospectively.”

The legislation will expire no later than 1 April 2012 and enables the government to use orders in council to ensure recovery operations can occur efficiently and without delay. It also creates a commission that includes the mayors of the three worst-hit districts – Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission will link decision makers on the ground in Canterbury directly with government Ministers.

“The state of emergency has allowed authorities in Canterbury to make decisions and act quickly in response to the calamity they faced.

“They have done well and the emergency state is passing. Special legislation is needed to ensure recovery work continues at pace,” Mr Brownlee said.