Three new Bills are expected to be put forward by the New Zealand Government to hasten recovery in the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on November 14.
The three pieces of legislation are expected to go before the Parliament this week and be passed into law faster than usual.
Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee says new legislation, developed by officials who have drawn on the experience of the Canterbury earthquakes, recognises the extraordinary situation faced by earthquake-affected communities, particularly in the Kaikoura and Hurunui districts. The proposed
“A cross-party group of all Parliamentary representation has further worked on the Bills to strike a balance between accelerating works and respectful process. This is about Parliament ensuring the law is adaptable and best able to respond to this significant natural disaster,” Brownlee says.
According to the Acting Civil Defence Minister, they introduced the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill (CDEMAA Amendment Bill) and the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016 on Tuesday.
“It is our intention that the first Bill will pass under urgency and will bring forward the commencement date of most provisions of the recently enacted CDEMAA. The CDEMAA Amendment Bill also provides that a Civil Defence controller or a Recovery Manager may require a building owner to undertake earthquake assessments of their properties,” says Brownlee.
“The second Bill – the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016 – will do three things. It will temporarily increase the timeframes in which someone can give notice or apply for retrospective consent in regard to emergency works under the Resource Management Act. It also proposes that emergency works to farm properties become permitted activities until 30 March 2017,” he adds.
Brownlee notes that for example, some farmers have had to dig bores and repair facilities on their land, which in some cases may have breached the normal requirements. Farmers are required to notify authorities of their activities within 40 working days.
The Minister also says that the bill also proposes a number of legislative changes to allow for the restoration of Kaikoura harbours.
“It’s essential that access from the sea is restored so dredging, and other necessary work, will become controlled activities under the Regional Coastal Plan,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill 2016, which the Government intends to introduce to the House on Thursday before a short select committee stage, is meant to establish a process that enables plans and bylaws to be amended by Order in Council.
“It was important to ensure cross-party talks so people affected by the earthquakes can be assured of support across all parties. Extraordinary circumstances require innovation and flexibility in order to promote economic recovery and empower local authorities and affected communities to turn their minds to rebuilding,” Brownlee says.
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