The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commission chairman, Murray Sherwin, says the commission will stand back until the response phase is over.
Mr Sherwin says the focus right now should be on pulling people out of buildings and getting essential services up and running again.
Eventually, he says, the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act will need to be amended in the light of the latest earthquake, because its current mandate is limited.
Mr Sherwin says the commission will need different powers, different forms of engagement and more resourcing.
He also says the commission's original expiry date of next year will need to be extended.