The Green Party will today support the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Bill through Parliament, after the legislation was significantly improved during the Select Committee process, following pressure from the Green Party and others.
“We’d caution the Government to use the extraordinary powers in this Bill carefully and in partnership with communities to get quake- affected regions up and running again,” said Green Party civil defence spokesperson Jan Logie.
“We hope the many new checks and balances in this Bill create a better framework to support a responsible use of power and good decision-making that these communities deserve.
“We had concerns about the number of Acts that could be overridden by the Government without parliamentary agreement under orders in council, but we’re pleased that there is now a smaller and more defined list of Acts in this Bill than we saw in the Canterbury earthquake legislation.
“We’re also pleased to see that this legislation can’t be extended beyond the currently affected areas, and that the Minister will also be required to report to Parliament every six months with a list and description of the orders in council.
“At Select Committee, the Green Party successfully pushed for the Minister to make draft orders in council available to the public and to allow comment within a three-day timeframe.
“This should mean that residents of quake-affected towns will be able to feed in to any Government plans for their communities.
“The Green Party also successfully advocated for changes which require the Minister to consider whether any controls in proposed orders affecting the Resource Management Act avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effects. This should help ensure that environmental effects are considered.
“We’re hopeful that this will help to protect the beautiful natural environment in Kaikoura and its surrounding areas from further damage as the recovery proceeds.
“The Green Party would like to acknowledge Minister Brownlee for his willingness to consider improvements and changes to the Bill, and the contributions of local councils and Ngai Tahu – both of whom are working to get their communities back on their feet,” said Ms Logie.