Yesterday, the Government announced three new bills in response to the Kaikoura earthquakes on 14 November 2016. The proposed legislation recognises the extraordinary circumstances arising from the earthquakes. Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has said that the bills are the subject of cross-party input and draw on the experience of the Canterbury earthquakes. They are the:

  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill (CDEMAA Amendment Bill)
  • Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016
  • Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill 2016.

The recently enacted Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 allows for a transition period in which Recovery Managers may order the conservation of fuel supplies, the shoring up of damaged structures, and prohibit entry into dangerous areas. The CDEMAA Amendment Bill will accelerate the commencement of those provisions so that they can be used in response to the Kaikoura earthquakes. It will also enable Civil Defence Controllers and Recovery Managers to order building owners to carry out earthquake assessments. The Bill is being passed under urgency.

The Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016 will create exceptions to the Resource Management Act 1991 and amendments to the existing planning framework including:

  • Temporarily increasing the timeframe for giving notice or applying for retrospective consents for the completion of emergency works
  • Making emergency works to farm properties permitted activities until 30 March 2017
  • Making dredging and other work on Kaikoura harbours controlled activities under the Regional Coastal Plan to enable restoration of Kaikoura harbours.

Similar to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill 2016 will create a process under which local plans and bylaws can be amended by Order in Council. This Bill is to be introduced to the House on Thursday following a short select committee process.