29 Nov 2016

Govt drafts bills for quake-hit regions

1:46 pm on 29 November 2016

The government has drafted three new bills to get earthquake-affected communities back up and running.

The emergency legislation allows works to be carried out without the need for a resource consent, including dredging Kaikōura harbour.

Walkabout town for Checkpoint

Kaikōura after the 7.8 quake on 14 November. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Leader of the house Gerry Brownlee said the legislation recognised the extraordinary situation faced by earthquake-affected communities, particularly in the Kaikōura and Hurunui districts.

Two of the three bills will be introduced under urgency today.

The Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill brings forward the start date of recently passed civil defence legislation that can require building owners to undertake earthquake assessments of their properties.

The Hurunui / Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Emergency Relief) Bill 2016 will temporarily increase the timeframes in which someone can give notice or apply for retrospective consent in regard to emergency works under the Resource Management Act.

It proposes that emergency works to farm properties become permitted activities until the end of March 2017.

"Since the earthquake, some farmers have had to dig bores and repair facilities on their land, which in some cases may have breached the normal requirements," Mr Brownlee said.

"Farmers will have to notify authorities of their activities within 40 working days."

The bill also proposes legislative changes to allow for the restoration of Kaikōura harbours.

The third bill, the Hurunui / Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Bill 2016, establishes a process that enables plans and bylaws to be amended by Order in Council.

That legislation is expect to be introduced to the House on Thursday before a short select committee stage.