The High Court has ruled Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee ‘‘stepped outside the legal limits’’ of his earthquake powers in rearranging Canterbury housing boundaries.
In the first legal challenge to Brownlee’s special powers his Canterbury land zoning decisions have been set aside by the High Court.
In a decision released today, Justice Chisholm ordered a judicial review of the process Brownlee took. He also set aside the land zoning changes Brownlee made.
At a High Court hearing in Christchurch early this month Independent Fisheries, several Canterbury property developers and supermarket giant Progressive sought to overturn Brownlee’s post-quake redrawing of housing boundaries.
He stopped short of giving Brownlee directions for reviewing the development potential of appellants’ land saying the court’s jurisdiction was on the scope of Brownlee’s powers, not the outcome.
To me this indicates that while the Government was given wide powers to speed up the reconstruction of Christchurch, the powers are not as vast as people said they were. The fact the High Court was able to over-turn them is proof of that.
But meanwhile the Greens use this to claim:
Sage said the Green Party had called for the extensive ministerial powers contained in the Act to expire after nine months, once the emergency period was over.
One can debate the extent of the powers, but for the Greens to claim there is no need for any special powers at all is sheer madness. They would have Christchurch CBD sitting empty for two decades, no doubt. It must frustrate Labour that the Greens get away with saying such daft stuff, and no one holds them to account for it.