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Cera criticism misses the point: Minister

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/02/2017

Gerry Brownlee © Wong Maye-E/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Gerry Brownlee The Auditor-General's report into the effectiveness of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is unbalanced and misses the point, Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The report says Cera got off to a good start, but lost its way, and makes suggestions about how to do things better in the future.

But Mr Brownlee, the Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, says the report had to be viewed "in the context of New Zealand's most significant natural disaster".

"I believe the report as a whole is unbalanced at times and doesn't compare Cera with other recovery agencies or post-disaster experiences worldwide," he said.

"Cera was in an evolving post-disaster situation - that included thousands of aftershocks. People were very stressed for a great number of reasons and the report skims over the enormity of this impact on every facet of the community's recovery."

Mr Brownlee said Cera was subject to annual audits, including quality assurance reports, as well as a robust select committee process, and was assisted in financial management by Treasury.

He said he remained proud of the work Cera staff accomplished alongside other local and central government agencies, and staff should be as well.

Cera was set up to lead and co-ordinate the recovery from the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and was disestablished last year, with its roles transferring to others.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost said Cera did well early on.

It was effective in managing the demolition of condemned buildings and in leading a coordinated government response to the earthquakes.

But it found it challenging to maintain momentum.

Its role became less clear as it took on more responsibility for delivering more projects and programmes.

The report is the last in a series by the Auditor-General on the Canterbury recovery.

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