Quake recovery law 'misguided'

8:01 pm on 28 September 2010

A group of legal academics is calling on the Government to rethink its earthquake recovery law, saying it lacks constitutional safeguards and sets a dangerous precedent.

The legislation, passed unanimously by Parliament, allows government ministers to make exemptions to, or suspend, almost every law on the statute books to help speed up the rebuilding process.

Thought is now being given to having a permanent law for any natural disaster on a similar scale.

The group of 27 New Zealand and international academics with expertise in constitutional law and politics released an open letter to Parliament on Tuesday.

They say abandoning established constitutional values and principles to remove any inconvenient legal roadblock is a dangerous and misguided move.

Justification not needed - Brownlee

The Minister of Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownlee, says that the Government doesn't need to justify the law, and that any suggestion it will be misused is not worth responding to.

Mr Brownlee says he knows the dislocation the people of Canterbury have suffered and says they expect the Government to do whatever it can to put their lives back together.