Extaordinary Powers to Expedite Recovery

Part 2:  The Recovery Strategy 

July 2011


The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 (the Act) vests extraordinary powers in the Minister for Earthquake Recovery, the Hon. Gerry Brownlee, to circumvent or fast-track usual RMA processes to expedite the recovery of Christchurch.  This is the second of a three-part series of articles examining the application and implications of these powers.  In our first article we considered the Central City Recovery Plan (the Central City Plan).  In this article we address the Long-Term Recovery Strategy for Greater Christchurch (the Recovery Strategy).  Our final article will address the Minister's powers to fast-track specific RMA proposals by Order in Council.

How does the Recovery Strategy affect you?

The purpose of the Recovery Strategy

The Recovery Strategy is an overarching long-term strategy for the reconstruction, rebuilding and recovery of Greater Christchurch.  The Recovery Strategy, once operative, will take precedence over RMA planning documents.

Key areas of the Recovery Strategy

The Minister has advised that the Recovery Strategy will set directions and priorities for recovery across five key areas:

  • Community wellbeing: housing, employment, education and health;

  • Culture and heritage: arts, sport, recreation, heritage values and taonga;

  • Built environment: all features of the environment made by people;

  • Economy: investment, business and labour market; and

  • Natural environment: air, land, water, coasts and biodiversity.

Content of the Recovery Strategy

At this stage, the format and content of the Recovery Strategy remains uncertain as the draft strategy document has not yet been prepared. CERA is currently seeking public feedback about what the Recovery Strategy should cover, which it will use as the basis to develop the document itself. 

Based on the five key areas listed above, possible issues that could be covered in the Recovery Strategy are as follows. New or different matters may be included as a result of public consultation and further work by CERA.  

  • Confirmation of areas where rebuilding or other redevelopment may or may not occur, and the possible sequencing of any such development.

  • Future use of  land in the residential red zone purchased as part of the Government assistance package; 

  • Support for arts, sports and recreation, including reconstruction/replacement of damaged facilities and infrastructure;

  • Protection of heritage buildings, particularly how heritage values can be maintained;  

  • Locations of existing and future infrastructure and the possible sequencing of repairs and reconstruction;

  • Maintenance of water quality given the damaged sewage system;

  • Creation of a temporary CBD and/or the strengthening of existing key activity centres within Christchurch; and

  • The nature and process for any addition Recovery Plans that need to be developed (similar to the Central City Recovery Plan).

How can you be involved?

CERA is responsible for the preparation of the Recovery Strategy. The process involves an initial round of consultation, which is high level in nature dealing with matters such as vision and priorities.  

This initial consultation is currently underway, with submissions closing at 5 pm on Friday, 22 July 2011. If you would like the above matters or any other issues to be addressed in the Recovery Strategy, then you should lodge a submission. Your submissions should reflect the high level nature of the initial consultation and should identify the issues you consider should be addressed as a priority.

After this consultation is complete, a Draft Recovery Strategy will be prepared.  This is likely to be notified in September 2011, at which point you will have the opportunity to make further submissions and participate in public hearings.  These submissions will be considered by CERA and a Draft Recovery Strategy presented to the Minister for consideration and approval in December 2011.

Key message

The Recovery Strategy is an overarching document which will provide guidance to central and local government, businesses and the public on the earthquake recovery. However the detail of the Recovery Strategy and how it will operate are yet to be decided.

There are two rounds of public consultation on the Recovery Strategy. The first is currently underway and this is your opportunity to comment on the key issues that the Recovery Strategy should address. There will also be a further round of public submissions later this year. However that process is likely to focus on the detail of the Recovery Strategy and it may be more challenging to introduce any new issues not included in the Recovery Strategy at that time.  

If you have an interest in the Recovery Strategy and want to influence its final form and content, you should participate in both rounds of public consultation. This includes the consultation on higher level issues currently underway and the more detailed consultation to follow when the Draft Recovery Strategy is notified later this year.  

Disclaimer:  This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.


Posted on Wednesday 27th July, 2011 at 04:34 pm