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Ministers to get extraordinary powers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/12/2016

Parliament has passed the first reading of a bill that gives ministers extraordinary powers to deal with the impact of the Kaikoura earthquake.

They include being able to change laws through Orders in Council - orders made by the cabinet and signed by the governor-general.

Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee brought the bill to parliament on Thursday, saying it was impossible to immediately know what might be needed to recover from an earthquake such as the one that struck Kaikoura.

"With such widespread destruction, it could be a considerable time before all the damage is fully understood," he said.

"This is a flexible mechanism so we can react quickly to a range of issues."

The Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Bill contains limits and controls on what can be done, and any orders made under it will expire in mid-2018.

Mr Brownlee told parliament the bill didn't represent a central government takeover, and ministers would work with councils.

All parties in parliament supported the bill, which is similar to legislation passed after the Christchurch earthquakes.

It has been sent to a select committee for scrutiny and will be reported back on Tuesday.

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