12 Dec 2015

Minister should not have power of veto, MPs told

6:04 pm on 12 December 2015

Government MPs have been told the Minister for Earthquake Recovery should not have power of veto in the bill replacing the Earthquake Recovery Act.

Gerry Brownlee

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The comments were made today at the select committee considering the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill.

The bill sets up a new board, including city council appointees, but the government would retain control over large central city projects, with final veto powers for the minister.

Today former Christchurch mayor Gary Moore said final decisions on what happened in the city should not be made in Wellington.

"To me the offensive piece is the power of veto, local government and central government and the local community should be seen as equals and I don't think that's written into this bill."

He said the city council would eventually pick up the bill for the lions share of the rebuild costs and it was only fair it had the final say on how that money was spent.

A resident of one of the Christchurch suburbs hardest hit by the earthquakes has told MPs the slow pace of the rebuild was having a huge impact on the elderly.

John Patterson was speaking at today's hearing on the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill.

Mr Patterson, who lives in Parklands, said the elderly had been sentenced to home detention because they were not able to use the still broken footpaths in their community.

He said the government was unaccountable and power should be handed back to the city council.

"And hopefully they can tell us how long it'll be before we can get our lives back again, because we're wondering how many more of us will die before that happens."

Mr Patterson said it was wrong that almost five years on from the quakes his community was still waiting to be rebuilt.