9 Oct 2011

Consent changes needed over other hazards - minster

2:48 pm on 9 October 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith says changes to the Resource Management Act will be needed to prevent homes being built in areas prone to a wide range of hazards - not just liquefaction.

Dr Smith released a report on Friday which showed 20% of the homes badly damaged in the earthquake on 22 February had been built on land known to be susceptible to liquefaction.

He says the current Resource Management Act does not require authorities to assess whether or not the land is safe to build on.

Dr Smith says it is alarming that since 1991, hundreds of homes were built in the area and given resource consent despite the report.

He says there are other concerns. "I think it's more likely that without these legislative changes there are other risks such as flood, volcanic (eruption), tsunami that may be overlooked."

Dr Smith says proposed changes to the act would require natural hazards to be taken into account when granting consents. If re-elected, the National-led Government would look to make the changes next year.