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

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

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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