Councillors unhappy over consultation on authority

7:59 pm on 13 April 2011

Local councillors are outraged they were forbidden from seeing legislation to set up the government authority that will oversee the rebuilding of Christchurch despite council staff having a copy.

The bill to establish the Canterbury Earthquake Recover Authority is being fast-tracked through Parliament this week.

A select committee in Christchurch heard from a group of invited submitters on Wednesday.

Christchurch City Councillor Yani Johanson says on two occasions in the past week council staff have been given a copy of the draft legislation but told not to give it to elected members.

Mr Johanson says he was not able to see the legislation until it went up on Parliament's website on Tuesday, despite the council being asked to comment on the bill.

He says it is an outrageous situation for democracy in Christchurch.

A legal adviser for the city council the select committee on Wednesday that the chief executive was given a copy of the draft legislation a week ago but was told it could not be shown to councillors.

On Wednesday, the committee also heard from Selwyn District Council and Canterbury Regional Council. Both organisations said they generally support the bill, with some minor alterations.

They also called for the new government authority to considered the regions' existing urban development strategy as a guide to its planning.

A Law Society representative told the committee that legislation is unclear on intended compensation in the case of land acquisition and may give rise to unrealistic expectations.