12 Jun 2013

Govt steps in over building consents

10:40 pm on 12 June 2013

The Earthquake Recovery Minister says the time has come for the Government to take urgent action in light of the Christchurch City Council's inability to process building consents.

Gerry Brownlee says the council has 16 days from Wednesday to improve consenting processes or lose accreditation as a Building Consent Authority.

Gerry Brownlee.

Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ

At the end of May this year, the council received a letter from International Accreditation New Zealand warning it that it was failing to meet statutory requirements.

The letter was to give the council notice that the organisation intended to revoke its accreditation.

Mr Brownlee says this is alarming to say the least and, given the massive task of rebuilding Christchurch, a crisis.

He says the Government has provided considerable assistance and support since February 2010 and he has been assured the situation had been improving.

Mr Brownlee says the Government is now preparing a contingency plan ahead of the possible removal of the council's accreditation.

Councillor Glenn Livingstone is on the planning committee and says there are delays across the board and too few staff to deal with consents being sought.

"Well, the staff's view is the sheer quantum. They've resorted to taking on students to try and address it."

Mr Livingstone told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Wednesday has had concerns about the culture within the council which may be contributing to the problem.