Brownlee rejects 'wartime powers' claim

5:30 am on 14 April 2011

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is disputing the claim he will get wartime powers from legislation setting up the authority that will oversee the rebuilding of Christchurch.

The proposed Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill, which will give the Government sweeping powers, is being debated under urgency in Parliament.

The Labour Party has said having the bill is like handing the Minister and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority the sort of powers that might be expected in times of war.

But Mr Brownlee maintains that is not the case, saying he wouldn't want to fight a war with what he says are limited powers.

He says if actions taken as a result of the bill and the authority are wide of the mark they will be open to challenge.

Mr Brownlee appeared before a select committee hearing on the legislation at Parliament on Wednesday evening, where he was pressed by opposition parties about what they said was a rushed time frame for submissions to be heard.

He said the legislation was not signed off by the Cabinet until Monday.

Mr Brownlee said that in the end the Government has to make some decisions, and the people of Christchurch expect that.