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Govt announces emergency quake bills

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6 days ago Sean Martin
Gerry Brownlee © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Gerry Brownlee

The government has unveiled three urgent bills to speed up the recovery effort following the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.

Acting Minister of Civil Defence Gerry Brownlee says the government will on Tuesday introduce a bill amending the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act and a separate Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill.

The first bill is expected to be passed in parliament under urgency and brings forward the commencement date of recently enacted Civil Defence laws.

The second - aimed specifically speeding up the quake recovery - will temporarily increase the timeframes for applying for retrospective consent for emergency post-earthquake work.

It will also give farmers the ability to ask for permission for emergency work until March next year.

"Since the earthquake, some farmers have had to dig bores and repair facilities on their land, which in some cases may have breached the normal requirements," Mr Brownlee said.

The law would also make changes to rules around the restoration of the Kaikoura harbour.

A landslide triggered by the November 14 earthquake covers State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura. © Marty Melville / AFP A landslide triggered by the November 14 earthquake covers State Highway 1 south of Kaikoura.

"It's essential that access from the sea is restored so dredging, and other necessary work, will become controlled activities under the Regional Coastal Plan," he said.

A third bill is set to be introduced on Thursday and aims to speed up the way in which affected councils can change bylaws.

Mr Brownlee said the bills had been developed by officials who had experience with the Christchurch quakes.

"A cross-party group of all parliamentary representation has further worked on the bills to strike a balance between accelerating works and respectful process," he said.

The government on Monday announced it was also extending its earthquake support to Wellington businesses.

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