CERA

March 29th, 2011 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

Meanwhile as Phil Goff strengthens his leadership some more, announced:

Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the establishment of the Canterbury Recovery Authority (CERA) will provide leadership and coordination of the recovery effort following the February 22 . …

Mr Brownlee said CERA would have wide powers to relax, suspend or extend laws and regulations which would be used responsibly and for clearly defined purposes related to earthquake recovery.

“These are essentially reserve powers and there will be checks and balances on the use of these powers so the public can have confidence they are being used wisely and with restraint.”

He said the public could take confidence from a number of key elements of CERA’s structure:

  • a four person independent review panel to be chaired by a retired High Court judge to assess all legislative and regulatory changes CERA seeks to make;
  • a cross-party forum of local Members of Parliament to provide advice;
  • a forum of Canterbury community leaders to ensure CERA reflects issues important to local people;
  • a number of appeal rights, with appeals to be heard swiftly by the High Court; and
  • CERA will be subject to the Official Information Act.

Mr Brownlee said many of powers in the proposed CERA legislation, which will be introduced to Parliament in the coming weeks, were based on those put in place when establishing the Queensland Reconstruction Authority following the state’s devastating floods in January.

I like the idea of a review panel headed by a retired judge to vet law changes. Also the two forums for community leaders and MPs from all parties is a good idea. While there will be politics at play, I believe all parties want the same outcome – Christchurch rebuilt to better than before.

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57 Responses to “CERA”

  1. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    I like the idea of a review panel headed by a retired judge to vet law changes.

    I like the idea of a parliament, elected by and answerable to, the nation, to vet law changes. I’m sort of stuck on the ideal of elected, not apopointed, representatives.

    Also the two forums for community leaders and MPs from all parties is a good idea.

    And what’s wrong with the existing forums, e.g, the local councils? Again, elected by, and accountable to, the people.

    We don’t need another beuacracy, we need the existing ones to be allowed to perform their functions.

    Waimakariri Council has already announced its rebuild plans for Kaiapoi, all that was needed was a council to do its job. Thank Christchurch Gerry “The Fat Controller” Brownlee has been holed up with Sideshow Bob and not interfered with the Waimak council’s decision making.

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  2. V (660 comments) says:

    This country is drowning in bureaucrats. How long will it be till we hear the reason for the reconstruction holdup is caused by this new layer?

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  3. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    Now let’s hear why Cosgrove doesn’t like this after his monologue this morning on National radio uninterrupted by Simple Simon Mercep.

    I thought the Waimak plans were for the earthquake last year. Not exactly quick. And a smaller constituency and buildings stock. Christchurch will be far more complex, fraught with difficulties and harangued by every interest group under the sun.

    I think Brownlee has taken good advice and come up with an excellent structure. Elected reps look well catered for.

    And let’s not waste time arguing over the structure. For gods sake let them get on with the urgent tasks that need to be done.

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  4. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    Sorry whats the theory here? That New Zealand doesn’t already have enough collectivisation of decisionmaking, and that perhaps Canterbury’s problems can be solved by even more of it? If we only put the right people in charge things will be ok? Please. Socialism didn’t work pre-disaster and it most certainly won’t post-.

    And, yes, there is an alternative to planning a recovery. It is to not plan a recovery. Just as there is nobody in charge of bread distribution or petrol distribution or anything distribution, there is no need for a central planner to decide the recovery. People left to pursue their own goals will achieve that just fine. The role of government is to uphold the rule of law, and provide basic infrastructure. When government decides instead to dictate how high the buildings can go to, and what they should be made of, and when they can be built, and decide who can do it, then people will simply choose to leave and Christchurch will not recover. This is what has happened in New Orleans. Planning is not the answer.

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  5. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    Labour in shambles, and National ratchets up the dictatorial powers a notch.

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  6. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    How could building owners ever hope to rebuild without a 5 year plan and a whole lot of committees?

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  7. Nick R (443 comments) says:

    Hooray! A solution to which there was no known problem.

    Heaven forbid we should allow elected local Government or Parliament govern the country. Quite improper. Must find jobs for the boys.

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  8. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    V: in answer to your question: if you count my previous post, about 1 minute. About 9 if you count davidp’s instead. It is obvious.

    Beab: which structure and which reps is the wrong question. How about no structure and no reps, and government limits itself to fixing roads, pipes, and wires.

    I’d like to see a vote taken, to be voted on by all inner city businesses and residents, on the proposition that government allows them in immediately, there will be no public support for any business or any resident, and that all resource consent requirements be waived for two years without limit, subject only to building codes. I’ll bet good money the vote would pass, and that Christchurch would immediately begin recovery, unemployment would fall to about zero, and few traces of a disaster would be visible in 24 months.

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  9. Mike Readman (353 comments) says:

    I’m disgusted! It’s taken National OVER TWO YEARS to create a new govt deparment. Isn’t it in their founding principles to create as many as possible?

    Also, only 50 staff? I think that’s another stuff up. Surely they’ll need a lot more, what about all the paperwork? And if there isn’t enough for them to do, more staff should be hired to create some more. It’s what this country was founded on and it’s served us pretty well so far.

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  10. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    Nick R>A solution to which there was no known problem.

    It is possible that the problem is that we have too many regulations, processes, and bureaucrats to allow rapid development and recovery and the new agency’s job will be to cut through the red tape. That’s sort of the theory behind ministers of the Rugby World Cup and other special events… that regulations make it impossible to plan an event in a finite amount of time, therefore we need a minister to ignore regulations.

    An alternative and better approach would be to scrap regulations, processes, and bureaucrats who stand in the way of growth. They serve no use anywhere in the economy at any time.

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  11. david (2,482 comments) says:

    I hate to rain on your parade guys but the Council was not elected to redesign Christchurch. There appears to be a lot of calls for change and if it is going to be delivered the existing representative framework is not sufficient nor is it designed or ever intended to offer up the sort of results that are beinbg suggested. Just changing the roading layout alone becomes a complex task involving the services mentioned but also the assumption or exchange of property titles, resurveys, etc and on a city-wide scale not just change to some manky little back alley previously occupied by rats, hookers and homeless.

    If anything good can come from this devestation, it will need thinking of a higher level than Christchurch has traditionally elected for itself. Remember cities rarely get designed from scratch and if they are it is because one individual had a concept, not endless partisan, ward-representing, sectional interest, petty politicking debates over detail.

    If you can’t accept that then start hammering back in the survey pegs and get the same streets laid out the same way and just put up some new buildings where the old ones once stood – you can’t have it both ways.

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  12. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    @Mike Readman, and the department will have only “wide powers to relax, suspend or extend laws and regulations”

    How responsible from National.

    And can you inform us how many departments National has shutdown so far? How much less tax we pay? How many more jobs there are?

    Or getting afraid of dictator Brownlee?

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  13. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    This just sounds like death by committee. People are getting majorly upset with the time it is taking to get moving, the inconsistency of assessments, rip-off’s by contractors etc.

    Some people from September still haven’t had the go-ahead on repair/rebuild.

    Yet in Japan they can do this. Something is seriously wrong with the management of the Christchurch disaster.

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  14. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    david>Remember cities rarely get designed from scratch and if they are it is because one individual had a concept, not endless partisan, ward-representing, sectional interest, petty politicking debates over detail.

    So you think Christchurch should be redesigned as a Canberra, a Brasilia, or a Naypyidaw rather than just allowing building owners to rebuild on their land? Subject to a few simple rules designed to stop them doing anything that has consequences for other building owners, of course. There are established methods for exchanging property titles that I suspect most readers here have used at some stage in their life, and I can’t imagine it would be hard to employ a surveyor if I needed one.

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  15. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    ben
    Your vision has a lot of appeal. Hands off. Let the markets really rule. I like it more the more I think about it.
    The problem is Kiwis go nuts without rules and plans and orders from above.

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  16. david (2,482 comments) says:

    davidp – Not necessarily, I spent the first 40 years of my life in ChCh and was quite comfortable with its layout. What I was reflecting on is the two extreme positions I have been exposed to.

    On the one hand we have the altruists (right word?) who dream of a better life in a better city- more energy efficient, traffic friendly, public transport friendly (probably with some of this infrastructure designed into the rebuild), vibrant and exciting etc etc etc

    On the other hand the laissez-faire approach says no real change needs to be imposed, let the developers and capitalist property owners build whatever suits their whim and their purse with the minimum of control and we will live with what that group decides.

    The two approaches are mutually exclusive IMHO.

    If you want an opinion, the second doesn’t appeal simply because if they could, the property owners generally would put up cardboard boxes if they could get away with it and so some level of coercion will be required to get aesthetically pleasing buildings and streets. By the same token I also shudder at the thought of too much bureaucracy and grey men with grey ideas controlling the process.

    So I am probably where a vast majority of the population are – caught in the middle

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  17. Lindsay Addie (1,105 comments) says:

    The Govt seems to heading in broadly the right direction but I don’t want the permanent CEO (when appointed) to be someone from the bureaucracy.

    I don’t agree with all this market rules stuff, it’s never going to work. There are serious geotechnical issues to deal with for starters. Almost every single building in the CBD has damage of some kind so these issues need to be dealt with correctly.

    The east side of the city needs a co-ordinated plan to sort out the huge problems and if this area isn’t inhabitable in the long term that will mean more serious issues.

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  18. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    A review committee headed by a retired Judge.a number of appeal rights, with appeals to be heard swiftly by the High Court;

    Since when has anything been heard swiftly by the High Court. A review by a Retired Judge (how old they don’t retire until at least 70) There will be backlogs, adjournments, considered rulings on the meaning of words, commas,phrases….Will swiftly be defined if so who by, Government or Judiciary. I agree bureaucratic and judicial paralyses by analyses will frustrate any progress.

    Then agreement has to be reached with Maori (how much koha} environmentalists, and opposing politicians determined to frustrate any progress.

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  19. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    Oh no. Here’s the current tsar: “A massive recovery operation in Christchurch is aimed at making it the most “earthquake-safe” city in the world, its Mayor Bob Parker says.”

    Dear lord. These are very discouraging comments. Billions of dollars of other people’s money are going to be spent closing the door after the horse has bolted.

    Actually, Bob, there’s a market for risk and free people can choose to spend more or less of their own money to protect themselves to a greater or lesser extent, according to their tastes. Spending a tonne of money gold plating everything with only weak regard for variation in the willingness of people to buy security not sensible.

    It would be nice if people could be free to protect themselves in other ways, such as moving out of earthquake areas. For those who are risk averse (and there’s nothing wrong with that), it is way cheaper to move than to bring every building they wish to frequent up to gold standard earthquake resistance. But of course under central planning you pay regardless of where you are, and it sounds like the Mayor is going to keep ht CBD closed for a long time if he intends to make everything super duper safe.

    This relentless collectivism is why New Zealand is so poor.

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  20. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    The problem is Kiwis go nuts without rules and plans and orders from above.

    Why do you post here? All you post is nonsense.

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  21. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    if they could, the property owners generally would put up cardboard boxes if they could get away with it and so some level of coercion will be required to get aesthetically pleasing buildings and streets

    Nonsense. I suspect many and perhaps most of the precious heritage buildings that came down in Christchurch were once designed and built by the profit hungry capitalists you deride. They are no more hungry now than they ever were, yet they managed to produce those beautiful buildings.

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  22. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    I don’t agree with all this market rules stuff, it’s never going to work. There are serious geotechnical issues to deal with for starters. Almost every single building in the CBD has damage of some kind so these issues need to be dealt with correctly.

    Rather than call it “the market”, call it what it is: just let people get on with demolishing, fixing or rebuilding. Let people work out for themselves whether their bit of land is worth rebuilding in view of the new territory and circumstances. No planner can replace tens of thousands of people each working out what is worth doing and what isn’t, according to dozens of factors each of them specific to their part of Christchurch, and their circumstances.

    And let’s call planning for what it is: a requirement that every step of the rebuild process will require the permission of officials who have no idea about your circumstances but have been given a set of absurdly and necessarily simplistic rules to apply to everyone. Jobs that would otherwise take weeks will take months, forests will be levelled for all the paper it produces, and all that compliance will buy nothing more than delay and frustration. People will leave rather than put up with all the coming nonsense, and because of the planners Christchurch will be a shadow of its former self.

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  23. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    david>On the one hand we have the altruists (right word?) who dream of a better life in a better city- more energy efficient, traffic friendly, public transport friendly (probably with some of this infrastructure designed into the rebuild), vibrant and exciting etc etc etc

    I hope this doesn’t come to pass. What you’re talking about will increase the length of time required to rebuild and increase the cost of housing and commercial space. By the time you finish half the population of Christchurch will have moved away so you’ll essentially be building an eco-friendly Hamilton where Christchurch used to be. CBD real estate will be so expensive that no one will be able to afford to locate themselves there… and Christchurch CBD has been second best to suburban malls for a long time already.

    In my experience, the capitalists that you don’t like were responsible for some of the greatest most vibrant cities on earth. London, for example. Or Venice or Melbourne or New York or Amsterdam or Rome. Once the planners get involved you end up with things like the dreary 1960s council-owned tower blocks on the edge of London’s core. Or you end up with Canberra which is a planner’s dream, but a dreary no where place.

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  24. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    I wonder how many of those like Berend who are slating the government for today’s announcement come from Christchurch, or have actually been down there since Feb 22nd. Having been down there last week, I can only say that you have to see the devastation with your own eyes to appreciate the scale of this crisis. The Christchurch CBD is an absolute mess. It’s going to require a huge effort to rebuild it,. That doesn’t even take into account the task facing Christchurch in repairing the suburbs east of the CBD as Lindsay Addie notes.

    These are exceptional times, and an exceptional response is called for.

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  25. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    Ben>every step of the rebuild process will require the permission of officials who have no idea about your circumstances but have been given a set of absurdly and necessarily simplistic rules to apply to everyone

    I read an article about an architect in the UK who was trying to build a home office extension for himself. It was a brilliant design that was sympathetic to its surroundings but also showcased his skills. The council planners wanted to critique his design all the way through the process, so that one man’s coherent vision was being changed by (say) a 21 year old just out of university who didn’t like the windows.

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  26. davidp (3,325 comments) says:

    Inventory2>These are exceptional times, and an exceptional response is called for.

    So is an exceptional response best executed by thousands of people, or centrally controlled by a government agency?

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  27. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    @ David – there surely needs to be a strong degree of co-ordination to ensure that resources aren’t being duplicated, given that those resources are not limitless.

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  28. Pongo (356 comments) says:

    The council couldnt run things in normal times so a new authority I hate to say will have to do, oversight by some geriatric judge is just as ridiculous as having it run by a blasted beauracrat. Surely there is someone like Chris Liddell or Lloyd Morrison who could run us.
    5 weeks later we still have major roads shut for who knows what reason, nobody bothered calling the army in to empty the CBD buildings for businesses far easier to have people fill out masses of paperwork, hire trailers, engineers etc and get unfit overwhieght office staff to laboriously empty offices a couple of soldiers could do in a tenth of the time (they dont do a lot else) with far more efficiency.
    Bring someone in from the private sector who has experience in getting things done rather than a safe pair of hands.

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  29. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    I thought Phil Goff was on his way out?

    Or is “strengthening his leadership some more” some sort of Tory code?

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  30. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    @ David – there surely needs to be a strong degree of co-ordination to ensure that resources aren’t being duplicated, given that those resources are not limitless.

    Inventory – yes co-ordination is essential, that is true at all times, outside disaster as well. At all times wants exceed the availability of scarce resources, and so there is always a co-ordination problem. Markets mediate those competing demands so effortlessly you apparently didn’t notice.

    In disaster, government can help by enforcing the rule of law so that people can negotiate with one another to achieve a rebuild.

    Governments do not help by forcibly suppressing those negotiations and installing its planners in their place. That is precisely what is happening in Christchurch now. People will respond by simply leaving (presuming the planners are kind enough to allow them to).

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  31. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    Ben>every step of the rebuild process will require the permission of officials who have no idea about your circumstances but have been given a set of absurdly and necessarily simplistic rules to apply to everyone

    I read an article about an architect in the UK who was trying to build a home office extension for himself. It was a brilliant design that was sympathetic to its surroundings but also showcased his skills. The council planners wanted to critique his design all the way through the process, so that one man’s coherent vision was being changed by (say) a 21 year old just out of university who didn’t like the windows.

    davidp, interesting story. I have a similar experience in my job. The regulator I deal with is not populated by bad people, but each of them faces bad incentives. In short, they are rarely if ever punished for saying no, but can be punished for saying yes to the many requests I send to them. The result is that they will do everything they possibly can to delay making a decision. Decisions in apparently simply matters can take a year. They have a tendency to become gridlocked when there is uncertainty, because they may be sacked for a bad decision even if, ex ante, there is no way they could know what was right. Delay is usually cheaper for them than making a decision at least until the delay becomes embarrassing (>1 year), in which case they then start to fear media exposure or questions from the Minister. Then, finally, a decision is made.

    In short, bureaucrats, no doubt good people most of them, face strong incentives to go with the status quo. They are not thanked for initiative and common sense, and can face a large downside if uncertainty resolves itself against them. This incentive structure is quite incompatible with disaster recovery.

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  32. nasska (9,542 comments) says:

    Although there’s no doubt that the people writing the cheques should make the decisions about how & what replacement buildings are constructed there seems to be enough infrastructure to rebuild to keep the army of paper shufflers engaged.

    Because the infrastructure has to match the requirements of the new CBD I would have felt that an outsider could be the best person to stand back & take a overview. Those businesses still operating after the destruction have obviously relocated. Do they want to come back to the CBD? Some will have been destroyed….were they sufficiently viable that they will be replaced?

    Whale brought up an additional consideration a few weeks back. Given that much business is web based & can be carried out virtually anywhere with adequate broadband facilities do they have to have offices in a central locality. Christchurch may not need to be rebuilt the way it was.

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  33. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    Maggie @ 06 55, FFS stop your thread jacking most of Farrer’s guests have grasped the fact you are terminally thick, we need no further evidence from you.
    What the hell has Goff’s clusterfuck got to do with the Christchurch rebuild.

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  34. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Who knows how this is going to work. The details given so far have been so vague that the announcement today was virtually useless. No budget, no defined role, no details of what type of staff. Does the NZ public service have the skills and qualifications to deal with the technical and legal issues tehy will be faced with. My guess is that a lot of external advice will be needed. Advisory commitees (elected local board and council members?)but no formal way of defining whether their advice will need to be considered.

    What will be its guiding principles? What legal or policy tenets or common law need to be considered by the review panel. I’m guessing the High Court will need to consider NZ law- that presumably includes all CCC and WDC’s current policies and district plans.

    I guess we will need to see how this all evolves- will be an interesting five years.

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  35. polemic (316 comments) says:

    Inventory2 –
    Your quote is very appropo “These are exceptional times, and an exceptional response is called for.”

    The Govt has to take up this massive responsibility . It is far bigger than Christchurch can do itself and obviously Bob Parker has the “politcal smarts” to acknowledge that and all power to him.

    Imagine what sort of bureaucratic mess we would get into if we did not have some one with the grunt that Gerry Brownlee has. – Leadership requires courage and tenacity, let them get on with it Christchurch is bleeding and the sooner the dressings are applied to the wounds the better. It will need many operations not just a “band-aid” over the scratch.

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  36. AG (1,727 comments) says:

    Interesting how the opponents of “planning” for Christchurch point to Canberra or Brasilia as the archetype to be avoided. Why not, say:
    Paris – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haussmann's_renovation_of_Paris
    New York – http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/home.html
    Amsterdam – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam#Cityscape_and_architecture

    Indeed, city planning is as old as cities themselves – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_planning. Probably because without it you don’t get the glorious wonder of individual creativity let loose … you get people dying early from preventable disease – http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/victorian_britain/social_conditions/victorian_urban_planning_01.shtml

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  37. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Yes Maggie, irony is some sort of code. Don’t attempt to understand it, you will fail.

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  38. pinkofreezone (10 comments) says:

    Pathetic, our “Conservative” government thinks another layer of government is going to help..?

    Try channelling Douglas, Richardson, Reagan and Thatcher… Or go back to Parnell and Dipton – muppets…

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  39. Richard Hurst (713 comments) says:

    “..Christchurch rebuilt to better than before.”

    Well it’ll be a smaller city than before anyway. The mass unemployment breaking out across the city realistically means people are going to have to move to find work. There just aren’t jobs here to hold them. Our HR person at work is running out of space to store the physical job applications we’ve had. Thank god most are submitted online these days. Too many applying for too few jobs.

    Perhaps rebuilt isn’t the right word either. Maybe the word ‘built’ better than before is what we’re talking about. We can’t and shouldn’t try to rebuild the way the city was. That old city is gone, a new one must take its place.

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  40. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    Put It Away – lad, put it away, you don’t know where it’s been.

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  41. Joseph Carpenter (210 comments) says:

    An auspicious start, from todays Christchurch Press:
    “LATEST: Christchurch mayor Bob Parker hopes to have a formal recovery plan for the CBD ready in NINE MONTHS.

    Parker today welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new single authority, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), to lead the earthquake recovery effort in the region.”

    Thats right folks it will be at least 10 months after the earthquake before they complete the initial paperwork and allow the property owners do any work or actually undertake any major reconstruction work themselves. Just as well for the citizens of Christchurch the Council, the Government and CERA understand the urgency of the situation and that “These are exceptional times, and an exceptional response is called for.” With a superhuman effort by at least 50 new bureaucrats @ $100K each working solely on this and suspending the laws everyone else has to work under they might just be able to actually finish “THE PLAN” and then start on the paperwork for design, tendering, getting consents, awarding contracts, etc in 2011. With any luck a few projects may actually be able to start digging the foundations in 2012 (assuming they stick to their own timeline and of course officaldom is famous for never having delays).

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  42. Pete George (21,826 comments) says:

    Joseph, what sort of timeframe do you think it could be done in? And how?

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  43. Joseph Carpenter (210 comments) says:

    Also good to see the Christchurch Local Authority striking a proposed 8.2% rates increase for 2011 and generously not imposing a 10% penalty on people missing their March rates payment because the rating office was closed down, but hey it’s back open for business now. They have also decided on a special rates remission of up to 40% for residential and 30% for commercial & rural for three months if the property is demolished, dangerous/uninhabitable or the ground is unstable and has to remediated, that will help a lot. If you merely don’t have water supply, wastewater drainage, stormwater drainage, road access, solid waste collection, or other rate paid service etc you could receive up to a 20% pro rata discount on your rates if a public servant decides your worthy, but better apply right now because apparently the target decision time is at least 60 working days (3 months) because they’re fast-tracking it to help rate payers.

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  44. polemic (316 comments) says:

    Hopefully the new CERA will incorporate a few critical overide powers such as :
    – Overiding the crushing restraint around the airport land that the Airport controls,
    - Getting new subdivisions fastracked such as the one proposed in Marshlands.
    – Bypassing the consent nightmare that developers have to climd thru at ECAN
    Speeding up the decisions on damaged land that will not be remediated and paying out the homeowners so they can but elseware ,……
    Just to name a few !!

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  45. Joseph Carpenter (210 comments) says:

    Mr George I think the Insurance assessors could make decisions on total replacement cover for demolished or collapsed buildings within 3 working days (certainly AMI and State are because they don’t have to wait for EQC on commercial) with payment release within two months, in the meantime the owner can use their own finances or get a bridging loan on payment surety and immediately start commissioning architects, engineers, builders, etc. So if the CBD cordon was lifted today design work could start by April 6th, actual demo & initial site prep work by May 2nd. Assuming a typical commercial lowrise, 2000sqm/$5million, retail ground floor and offices above, resource consent not required for existing use rights, TLA grants building consent with the 40 days as required by the Building Act 2004 and not their normal illegal 100 days+ and you don’t have to get permission from CERA until after “THE PLAN” is finalised to spend your own money on your own property and business to replace it: You could be opening for business by 21 November 2011.

    Why how do think it should be done? How does waiting for approval from CERA add any value? How does not trading, not having cash flow, running out of business continuity insurance cover (which is only for a year max), not knowing whether you will even be allowed to rebuild, knowing the CBD activity will definitely be killed for at least two years by CERA help with reconstruction? How did Christchurch ever manage to get built in the first place without the wisdom of CERA and THE PLAN? it must have been a one off miracle.

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  46. Lindsay Addie (1,105 comments) says:

    They cannot start just start rebuilding on a short time frame because a scientific Geotechnical study must be done of what is under Christchurch. It has been established there is a fault line directly under the CBD which the geologists say caused the big Boxing Day aftershock. Part of this study also has to gain a good understanding the effects of liquefaction both under the CBD and on the East side of the CIty. As yet there probably is no way of knowing what type of foundations new builidings wiill have to have in order to survive another big quake.

    Also bear in mind that many buildings that are still standing are going to require a lot of TLC to get them functional again such as the Chch Town Hall and the Convention Centre which are both currently red stickered. If there is another decent quake many of these buildings are potentially not safe.

    It’s a total fantasy to think that the CBD will be fully operational anytime soon.

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  47. nasska (9,542 comments) says:

    JC @ 7.19am

    With luck & good management what you describe could happen. Trouble is that the result would be a stand alone building without water & sewerage connections, probably isolated without serviceable roads or footpaths in the middle of a construction zone. The owner would be better off with a few bob in the bank than an untenantable unserviced building.

    If the whole reconstruction is not coordinated the result will be worthless however many billions of dollars are spent. The other certainty is that if bureaucrats & local body officials are in charge the project wont be completed this side of 2050.

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  48. david (2,482 comments) says:

    @ben and @davidp you seem to forget that the great and exciting cities featuring great and exciting buildings were largely created during times where art received patronage of the wealthy and city-states hung their wealth and glory out to dry in the public gaze. I don’t see it happening in ChCh on the tab of the insurance companies and I also don’t see a queue of wealthy investors lining up to showcase their wealth in public by sponsoring innovative and creative architecture.

    btw I’m as capitalist as the next man but believe that the ChCh situation has the potential to create a slum where no-one in their right mind would want to live in which case you would definitely get what Oswald Bastable refers to as “the city of the damned”

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  49. chrisw76 (82 comments) says:

    @ Joseph: I work for a company that has commercial cover for a building outside of the cordon in Christchurch and we have been chasing our insurers to get an accessor sent out since about the beginning of March. We have had an engineering report done and there is critical work that needs to happen, but without the sign off from the accessor, we might not be covered, so we have to wait. If you think government is the only one that will slow down the process, then you will be surprised as the months go by.

    In what fantasy world do some people live in where it is suggested that businesses will go to a bank to get a bridging loan to rebuild, when there is no certainty of an insurance payout? There is no way in hell a business will take that risk. It is far cheaper to wait. In some areas, if there is geotechnical questions, a bank is going to be pretty reluctant to lend the money.

    Now that is even before I mention that in our renewal which kicks in on March 31, the cost of earthquake cover has more than tripled and the excess level quadrupled.

    When combined with the destruction in the central city and the reluctance of insurers (no new cover being issued right now) and banks, do you really think that the CBD can be fixed if only the government got out of the way?

    Cheers, Chris W.

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  50. kiwi in america (2,336 comments) says:

    ChrisW is spot on. This is a multi headed monster and one that cannot be solved overnight or without some big picture oversight. There are sooo many unanswered questions such as: What ground is safe to build on in the CBD or a better question is how deep do we need to make the piles? That cannot be answered without a detailed geomap. How many owners of CBD commercial premises will be able to rebuild? How many will WANT to rebuild? How many former CBD tenants will want to move back to the CBD? How many workers and customers will want to go into a building higher than 2 or 3 stories? What building materials are safest? What is to be done with the land owned by those who have insufficient insurance to rebuild (as is the case with many of the older buildings that were condemned after 4 Sep and were vacant)? How many red stickered buildings can (or should) be fixed? What design restrictions will be appropriate in the new CBD? How many owners of businesses will still be operating when the time comes to rebuild? Will new insurance even be offered and if not will the government be forced into becoming a commercial insurer of last resort? How long before assessors can sign off on the big commercial building claims? Without adequate insurance cover what size of construction loans will banks/lenders make? How many retailers are going to either want or be able to profitably operate in what will undoubtedly be a slimmed down CBD? What public transport infrastructure changes will need to be made? Which heritage buildings will be rebuilt/repaired and who pays? What roading infrastructure changes will need to be made? How will parking needs be adequately met? The list is endless and I’m sure other posters can suggest dozens more.

    There is no one body currently constituted that can answer all these questions. Yes the CCC is the closest but this is so huge and complex that a standalone agency does make sense. The secret will be in who runs it, what powers it has, how these are excercised and to what extent does it consult widely enough so that sufficient key affected players feel listened to.

    There will be arguments, controversy (just look at all the wrangling over previous big projects in Chch) but a viable and vibrant new city can and will emerge. It will be painful, costly and time consuming and will not be without some big hard decisions that will not please everyone.

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  51. somewhatthoughtful (437 comments) says:

    Brownlee is a complete and utter muppet and should not be responsible for anything. O’sullivan taking him to task this morning was great and correct. He’s a useless egotist who rather be seen to be in charge than actually be in charge.

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  52. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    O’Sullivan sums it up nicely http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10715777.

    Why is it called an authority when clearly it is not? And why no independent board? In an election year everyone of Brownlee decisions will be seen with a political slant. What a great free-kick to Labour.

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  53. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    gravedodger, I was simply responding to Farrar’s introduction to this thread. Are you accusing HIM of thread jacking?

    And can’t you disagree without name-calling and obscenities?

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  54. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    somewhatthoughful But what do you really think?

    Typical Kiwis – arguing about the structure of the authority rather than the job at hand. CERA will evolve and change as the tasks change, as they will.

    Just get on with making sure people have warm accommodation before winter, helping employers get back into business and identifying areas where no rebuilding will take place.

    Then ChCh can entertain itself for years with endless arguments about what should be rebuilt and where and how and by whom. I am bored already.

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  55. pq (728 comments) says:

    I live in the North east of the four Avenues,
    and i can say unequivocally the response has been dramatic;
    different contractors are assigned to areas,
    and it is working, the roads get better by the day,
    Christchurch is still a horrid place to live so I am going away ,
    my daughter has left already,
    meet thailand Girl, be happy, live in the sun

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  56. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    david @ 8:51 – no capitalist defers to planners when the going gets tough. And since when is rebuild defined by the number of artworks and public monuments built?

    Kiwi in America – the list of questions you raise, each of them overwhelming in their complexity, is precisely why planners need to stop planning and let property owners respond in their own way, according to their own needs and information and conditions. Planners could literally take years to come to reasonable answers to those questions. Tens of thousands of property owners, each working to answer them with help where they decide is necessary from insurance companies, contractors, and yes officials where necessary, will get there much sooner and with better results.

    The main effect of allowing planners to take over is that Christchurch will de-populate and will never recover.

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  57. iMP (2,154 comments) says:

    The great threat for CERA is that it becomes paralyzed by consultation. In 1940 then Lord of the Admiralty, Winny Churchill, wrote to the then British PM and outlined concerns he had about the entangled talk fest that was the then Military Coordination Committee of the Chiefs of Staff.

    Britain’s management of the War to that stage had been handicapped by too many bosses, fragmented authorities and too much consultation. In essence, the Cabinet created a principal authority, who had the power to push decisions ahead WITHIN a shorted framework of the MCC. This is effectively what CERA is, and Gerry is Winston, acting as a departmental chief under authority from the PM (and Cabinet).

    What concerns within 24 hours, is the whingeing from the Lab Chch Mps who have already pulled the knives out at Gerry. What their complaint s seems to be is that while consulting, the Govt. doesn’t enact their opinions. This is assumed govt by stealth. They expect – due to an earthquake – to somehow be granted Executive power on the back of the current Govt’s good will and generous offer to consult.

    BUT NATIONAL WON THE ELECTION. Labour did not. The electorate ran from them like a naked man in the night. So while consultation is needed, in the end the current elected Govt is responsible to ultimately make decisions to get our city back on its feet. Unfortunately, I expect to hear the shrill yaps of Dalziel, Burns and Cosgrove belying their grief at losing Executive authority at the hands of the people of NZ, on the pretext that a Govt. involving them in a wider consultation somehow entitles them to be earthquake tsars. National is not bound to enact ANYTHING they advise. And unlike Labour Inc in Local Body 9in chch called “20/20″) , they can’t have another wag of the tail, despite losing an election (badly).

    If CERa + Gerry do not push past Dalziel and Cosgrove et al, Chch will suffer its own Dunkirk or Dardanelles.

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