7 Aug 2015

Quake forum wants more info sharing

11:06 pm on 7 August 2015

A Community Forum that advises the Government about Canterbury's earthquake recovery says it needs to be able to share more information with the public.

Rescuers stand at the smoking ruins of the CTV building.

Rescuers stand at the smoking ruins of the CTV building. Photo: Marty Melville / AFP

The forum was established in 2011 to advise Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee on quake-related issues, including recovery policies and anchor projects.

It is made up of volunteers nominated by community groups in Canterbury and represents widespread interests, from performing arts and environmental groups to Maori and Pasifika and disability advocates.

It has released its first report, outlining its work and some of the challenges it had faced.

It said the forum had struggled to balance confidentiality with the ability to engage with residents.

The report said not being able to share a large amount of its work had frustrated some forum members.

Some of the forum's work was confidential because it received information and provided advice based on plans that had not yet been approved by Mr Brownlee.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ

The report said this made it difficult for members, who wanted to reassure the community that their best interests were being advocated for.

"The Community Forum believes more information could be shared with the community without jeopardising its confidences," it said.

The report suggested a monthly newsletter that included recovery facts and non-confidential information about the forum's work.

Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner said the forum had played an important role in the recovery and had held more than 70 meetings so far.

"The forum provides active community input into decision-making at the highest level while moving the recovery forward," Ms Wagner said.

In the report the forum recommended that, if earthquake recovery powers were transferred to a different agency, that new agency considered an ongoing relationship with the forum or an equivalent community body.

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